Fixture: (32) Barbora Strycova vs (Q) Varvara Lepchenko
Date: 27th September 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: First Round (Round of 128)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000
Match Timing: Approx. 4 pm CEST, 7.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Barbora Strycova vs Varvara Lepchenko preview
In a battle of veterans, 32nd seed Barbora Strycova will meet American qualifier Varvara Lepchenko on Sunday for a place in the second round of the 2020 French Open.
World No. 37 Barbora Strycova managed to get the last women's singles seeding for Roland Garros this year, but it has been the doubles where she has shone of late. In doubles matches, the 34-year-old Czech is currently placed at No. 2 in the world rankings and has tasted glory in as many as four 2020 tournaments - Brisbane, Dubai, Doha and Rome.
In contrast, Strycova has a shabby 4-7 win-loss record for the year in singles. However, it is interesting to note that three out of her four wins this season have come over players ranked above her - Johanna Konta, Petra Martic and Amanda Anisimova.
Strycova is a highly experienced campaigner, to say the least. She might not be as consistent now as she was when she reached a career-high No. 16 in 2017, but with her court sense and variety she can easily outsmart the big hitters.
She faces familiar foe and fellow 34-year-old Varvara Lepchenko, who is currently languishing at the 183rd position in singles. The southpaw was ranked as high as No. 19 in 2012, which was the same year she reached the fourth round of the French Open.
Lepchenko gave a fine exhibition of her ball-striking and fighting spirit that year, particularly in the nail-biting three-set win over 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone. The American has shown flashes of that brilliance again in the 2020 tournament, beating Xiaodi You, Anhelina Kalinina and Dalma Galfi to come through the qualifiers without dropping a set.
Barbora Strycova vs Varvara Lepchenko head-to-head
Barbora Strycova and Varvara Lepchenko have faced off against each other thrice before, with Strycova holding a 2-1 edge in the head-to-head rivalry.
The first meeting, which took place on the claycourts of Madrid in 2015, went in favor of the Czech. Strycova won that match 6-4, 6-2 in commanding fashion.
A change of surface couldn't bring any change in fortunes for Lepchenko, as their next showdown on the hardcourts of Toronto that same year unfolded in similar fashion. Strycova once again put up an impressive display for a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
However, Lepchenko did finally get the better of Barbora Strycova in their last meeting, which was at Cincinnati 2015. Lepchenko had to dig deep to see off the Czech in a gritty 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(6) win.
Barbora Strycova vs Varvara Lepchenko prediction
Having registered three solid wins in qualifying, Varvara Lepchenko has already got a measure of the unusual conditions and new balls at Roland Garros. The American will likely be ready for the challenge in this first-round showdown.
However, Lepchenko has failed to string together more than one main draw win on the WTA Tour all year, which could come back to haunt her even if she makes a bright start. And Strycova, a serve-and-volley exponent, will look to use her finesse and fine footwork to take advantage of any drop in Lepchenko's level.
Prediction: Barbora Strycova to win in three sets.Published 26 Sep 2020, 21:27 IST