Fixture: Magda Linette vs Leylah Fernandez
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. 7 pm CEST, 10.30 pm IST
Live Telecast: USA - NBC / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Magda Linette vs Leylah Fernandez preview
Magda Linette will be looking at the 2020 French Open as her last shot at course correction this year. She has struggled for any sort of form throughout the year after coming off a career-best season.
The Polish No. 1, however, has shown signs of revival in the claycourt events she has played leading up to the final Slam. She put up good fights against such in-form opponents as Elise Mertens and Elina Svitolina in her last couple of tournaments.
Linette will now have her work cut out against a tough first-round opponent in the form of Canada's rising star Leylah Fernandez.
Fernandez made her senior debut at the start of the year and racked up a few big results almost immediately. Her first WTA final came on the hardcourts of Acapulco, while she also scored back-to-back wins over Sloane Stephens in early 2020.
The 18-year-old did lose her only match on clay leading up to the tournament, but that match didn't do justice to her abilities as a claycourt player. Fernandez won the junior crown at the French Open just last year, and has a game well-suited to the surface.
The Canadian is a great mover across the court and does well against heavy topspin. The latter skill will especially come in handy against the Linette forehand and kick serve, and it will be interesting to see if the Pole tries to change things up in this match.
Magda Linette vs Leylah Fernandez head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between the two women, so their current head-to-head stands at 0-0. However, Linette definitely has much more experience of playing on the big stage.
Magda Linette vs Leylah Fernandez prediction
Magda Linette is the clear favorite given her level of experience. The Pole enjoys playing in Paris too, and this will be her sixth straight appearance here.
Linette made it to the third round in 2017 and gave Simona Halep a big scare at last year's tournament as well.
Leylah Fernandez, on the other hand, is playing in just her third main draw at a Major. The Canadian teenager has had good results heading into the tournament, but she will need to find an extra gear against Linette.
Casual watchers often erroneously put Linette in the counterpuncher category, but the Polish No. 1 has made huge adjustments to her game over the years and now plays very aggressively. She no longer prefers to chase all the time; instead, she makes good use of her flat backhand and net approaches to win quick points.
Linette has been slow to start off in her last few matches, but if she can find a way to assert herself early in the match, she could well be on her way to the second round.
Prediction: Magda Linette to win in three sets.Published 27 Sep 2020, 16:09 IST