Fixture: Aryna Sabalenka vs Ons Jabeur
Date: 3 October 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: Third round (Round of 32)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000
Match timing: Approx. 1 pm CEST, 4.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports Select / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Aryna Sabalenka vs Ons Jabeur preview
Eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka looks to strengthen her bid to go deep into Roland Garros this year as she faces Ons Jabeur in the third round of the tournament on Saturday.
Despite an underwhelming American hardcourt season, Sabalenka came into the tournament in relatively good form. She had made a strong start to her clay season with a semifinal finish in Strasbourg.
The Belarusian has displayed fluctuating form over the past few years, but she won the title in Doha just before the lockdown. And despite being handed a relatively complicated draw in Paris, she has won both her matches so far in straight sets - against Daria Kasatkina and Jessica Pegula.
The 22-year-old next faces off against Tunisia's Ons Jabeur who, despite having had a decent start to the season, has registered some wildly unpredictable results since the resumption of the tour.
A relatively good American hardcourt season was followed by an unlikely first-round defeat at the hands of Coco Gauff in Rome. But Jabeur has bounced back from her poor start on the red dirt, first overturning a one-set deficit against Zarina Diyas and then convincingly blowing past Nao Hibino 7-6 6-4 in the second round.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Ons Jabeur head-to-head
The meeting in Paris is the first between Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur, so the head-to-head between the pair stands at 0-0. Both players are in the top 50 of the world rankings, but Sabalenka at No. 12 is higher than Jabeur who is ranked 35th.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Ons Jabeur prediction
Their similar playing styles and current form makes this matchup an interesting and unpredictable one. But Aryna Sabalenka should be considered the slight favorite given her results in Strasbourg a week ago.
The Belarusian plays a big all-out-attack game, full of massive flat groundstrokes and winners off both wings, but she is also extremely error-prone. Ons Jabeur will look to take advantage of that by putting Sabalenka under pressure in the long rallies.
That is not to say that Jabeur, who has a similar big-hitting style of play, does not have the tendency to make errors herself. In their second round matches alone, Sabalenka and Jabeur made a combined 64 unforced errors; that makes this a matchup of not just similar strengths, but similar weaknesses as well.
Despite having a threatening first serve, both players are not that consistent with their delivery. And Sabalenka being the superior returner, may have the advantage going into this encounter.
Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka to win in three sets.Published 02 Oct 2020, 17:28 IST