WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up French Open tips for a fourth-round clash between 11th seed Jessica Pegula and Irina-Camelia Begu.
22:00 (AEST), Mon 30th May @ Stade de Roland Garros, Paris
History: Played 2: Begu 2 V Pegula 0
Last meeting: Grampians Trophy, 2022 (R32): Begu d Pegula 7-6 6-3
Final Thoughts: The winner of this Round of 16 clash is on a French Open quarter-final collision course with top seed Iga Swiatek.
But it will nevertheless be a watershed achievement for both players. Eleventh seed Jessica Pegula had not been past the French Open third round previously and is aiming to match her best slam performances: quarter-final runs at the 2021-22 Australian Open.
World No.63 Irina-Camelia Begu made her grand slam debut back in 2011, but the 31-year-old is in the fourth round of a major for the first time in six years and is hunting a maiden quarter-final berth.
Pegula, who made the Madrid Open final earlier this month, opened her Roland Garros campaign with a 6-2 6-4 win over Wang Qiang. The 28-year-old American needed three sets to get past Anhelina Kalinina but overwhelmed 24th seed and 2021 French Open semi-final bolter Tamara Zidansek 6-1 7-6.
Begu came from a set down to defeat Jasmine Paolini and 30th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova. Overcoming the controversy (and big fine) over accidentally hitting a kid in the face with her racquet in the latter win, the Romanian then powered past Leolia Jeanjean 6-1 6-4 in the third round.
Begu boasts a 2-0 head-to-head lead over Pegula, winning a Challenger Series match in 2020 and an upset at the Grampians Trophy, an Australian Open lead-up event, earlier this year.
Pegula is the $1.44 favourite with a much stronger grand slam record and a top-10 ranking in her sights. But Begu is a solid all-round player in fine form – this should be close.