In a few weeks time Iga Swiatek will return to Paris to defend her Roland Garros. Last year however we didn’t see the 2019 defending champion Ash Barty in Paris to defend her title due to travel restrictions.
Madrid and in just over a weeks time, Rome is a good dress rehearsal for Roland Garros and for the first time in their careers we will see a meeting between Ash Barty and Iga Swiatek on the surface where both won their biggest career titles to date.
In 2019, Ash Barty was the eighth seed in Paris, Ash hadn’t long returned to top level singles tennis but her variety was a match made in heaven on the Parisian clay. Barty who recently defended her Miami title defeated five American’s on her road to Roland Garros success when she defeated Marketa Vondrousova with ease in the finale.
Someone else who managed to win with ease was Iga Swiatek, unseeded and ranked at 54 in the world the Polish teenager stunned the tennis world with her fearless and ruthless displays without dropping a set on her way to her first career title which happened to be a Grand Slam. It was stunning throughout, Iga dropped just 28 games of tennis in 7 matches.
It is going to be a fascinating round three match in Madrid between two major winners and both are in very good form.
Ash Barty is on a 13 match win streak on red clay having won in Stuttgart recently, not to forget the Aussie also won the doubles too. Ash did have a slip up the week before in Charleston but that was on the green clay…
Iga Świątek has nów extended her run to nine matches on clay without dropping a set or losing a match, so far in Madrid she has looked soo good. Performances against experienced players in Alison Riske (dropping just two games) and former Stuttgart champion Laura Siegemund has seen the 19 year old begin her tournament in a near perfect manner.
Ash Barty in my opinion lacked a bit of bite in her game against Tamara Zidansk, throughout the match I felt the intensity was there and it was flat. During the second set we did see the forehand drift away and the backhand slice looked a little bit tired.
I didn’t have any doubts Ash wouldn’t come through the match but will she get passed this latest hurdle? Was her double success in Stuttgart a factor in this?
My instinct is taking me to a win for Swiatek, we did see how the change of pace Halep gave her in Melbourne caused her problems but I just have this feeling she will find a way against Barty. On the other hand we haven’t seen the Pole under pressure yet on clay so this could be an undoing for her depending on how Ash plays, I don’t think she will get away with a lack of intensity she showed on Saturday morning.
Iga did need 13 match points in her match against Siegemund to get over the line but still maintained control in her 6-3 6-3 win.