WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up French Open tips for a quarter-final between top seed Iga Swiatek and 11th seed dark horse Jessica Pegula.
20:00 (AEST), Wed 1st Jun @ Stade de Roland Garros, Paris
History: Played 2: Swiatek 1 V Pegula 1
Last meeting: Miami Open, 2022 (SF): Swiatek d Pegula 6-2 7-5
Final Thoughts: Iga Swiatek remains on track for a second French Open title as a short-priced favourite – but the world No.1 needs to lift on her recent performances to overcome Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals.
Swiatek is on a 32-match winning streak cruised through the early rounds, routing Lesia Tsurenko (6-2 6-0) and Alison Riske (6-0 6-2). But Danka Kovinic broke her three times in a 6-3 7-5 result, while Qinwen Zheng snatched a first-set tiebreak in the fourth round before Swiatek rallied to a 6-7 6-0 6-2 win with Zheng stricken by stomach cramps.
World No.11 Pegula reached the 2021-22 Australian Open quarter-finals but is chasing a maiden grand slam semi-final berth.
The 28-year-old found clay form with a run to the Madrid Open final a few weeks ago and has looked solid at Roland Garros so far. Pegula beat Wang Qiang and 24th seed Tamara Zidansek – a surprise semi-finalist here last year – either side of a three-set win over Anhelina Kalinina in the second round.
The American came from a set down to beat in-form Irina-Camelia Begu 4-6 6-2 6-3 in the Round of 16, with her service game coming to the fore.
The players have split their two previous meetings. Pegula notched a three-set win at the 2019 Washington Open, while Swiatek carved out a 6-2 7-5 victory in the Miami Open semis earlier this year.
A $6.40 underdog, Pegula is rated a genuine chance of an upset. Swiatek has been down on her indestructible best – but that should ensure there’s no complacency on show. The Polish wunderkind should find her groove and get the result, but Pegula will make her work hard.