Fixture: Elina Svitolina vs Varvara Gracheva
Date: 28 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. 1 pm CEST, 4.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP / Europe - Eurosport
Elina Svitolina vs Varvara Gracheva preview
Fresh off a title win at Strasbourg, Elina Svitolina comes into the 2020 French Open as arguably one of the contenders for the trophy. She will begin her quest against Russia’s Varvara Gracheva in the first round on Monday.
Svitolina has long been a formidable player on the tour, but she has time and again failed to carry her good form into the Slams. With a couple of big names missing in action this time around, the Ukrainian would fancy her chances of making the opportunity count.
Svitolina has solely focused on clay since the resumption of tennis, and has lost just a single match so far. She has always thrived on slower surfaces, but the unusual playing conditions at Roland Garros will put that to the test.
Paris seems to be especially cold and damp at this time of the year, which could cause a problem or two for a counter-puncher like Svitolina.
Varvara Gracheva, meanwhile, has had an inconsistent ride since the tour resumed. The Russian did not fare well on clay at Palermo and Prague, but surprised everyone with her run at the US Open - where she knocked out Kristina Mladenovic in the second round.
Gracheva has a pretty impressive claycourt record on the Futures circuit, but has failed to live up to those expectations so far on the WTA tour. That said, she is all of 20 years of age, and going by her recent performances she has a bright future ahead of her.
Elina Svitolina vs Varvara Gracheva head-to-head
The head-to-head between Elina Svitolina and Varvara Gracheva stands at 0-0, as this is their first meeting on tour.
Elina Svitolina vs Varvara Gracheva prediction
This is as tough as it can get at Roland Garros for the young Varvara Gracheva. Elina Svitolina is nothing less than an expert on this surface, and comes into this year's French Open in sublime form.
The Ukrainian is renowned on tour for her mental prowess and has largely justified those claims throughout her career so far.
For Gracheva, the key would be to follow her instincts and play her natural game. Her big-hitting abilities, especially on the forehand wing, could pose a few uncomfortable questions to Svitolina.
However, anything other than a win for Svitolina at this stage seems very unlikely given her superior pedigree and vast experience on clay.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to win in straight sets.Published 27 Sep 2020, 19:18 IST