Kudermetova: ‘It was not an easy time for me … but now really happy’

Veronika Kudermetova

The Russian Veronika Kudermetova won a tournament at the Toray Pan Pacific Open, cracking over Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-1. She has had some fine days, but there are also some negative events. Perhaps now, that each week, she will be more intense, on the court.

For example, she beat the 2023 US Open Coco Gauff  in Doha in February in the quarters, and then the four time champ  Iga Swiatek smoked her 6-0, 6-1, fast. Then in the semis at Madrid, the Polish person, she smashed her 6-1, 6-1. Then it looked like that Kudermetova was panicking. Yes, she can mash the ball, both sides, but then, she can throw in some many strange errors.  After on the grass,  and she was decent, but not great, and then in the next five tournaments, she lost very early. However, last week, she rose up, finally stopping Swiatek 6-2, 2-6, 6-4. Right after that, she upset the No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka 7-6, 6-7, 6-3. That was almost a miracle.

”I’m really happy because before, it was not an easy time for me, it was really tough moments,” Kudermetova said. “Now I’m really happy and I have a lot of motivation for the next weeks.”

They are playing in the Beijing Open, and while it  is not easy to play great again, she will battle. Sabalenka has had a interesting year, as she has improved her serve, and she is more solid. However, she does not like to get up to the net in the singles, and maybe she should, and make some different shots. Of course her forehand and her backhand are terrific, and her return is spot on. However, she has not won an event since Madrid during May, and while she has gone deep a lot, she can also be confused. In the final the U.S. Open, she look pretty darn good, but in the third set, she went down, and she lost versus Gauff 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. However, she wants to be motivate.

“I’m a world No. 1 right now, but it’s not just about become world No. 1, I think it’s about finish the year as world No. 1 and stay there as long as you can,” Sabalenka said. “It was good that I was able to achieve this goal, but there is another goal. I’m super motivated right now.  My biggest takeaway was that I need to learn how to finish the points on the net. We worked a lot on my volley game. [In the U.S. Open final]  I got over-emotion there. I wasn’t controlling myself. I was thinking all over the place in that second set. So, yeah, that’s was the biggest takeaway.  I have to, no matter what, stick to the plan and just do what I have to do on court, just kind of like shut down all those thoughts.  Also, it’s not like I don’t know how to play volleys. I used to play doubles a lot. Just to be brave to go there, you know? We worked a lot after US Open on that. I took couple of days off just to switch off and forgot about tennis because it was a really tough, tough loss for me. It was super emotional. Yeah, took couple of days off, then I start working again.”

There she is, motivation. In the first round, she just destroyed the American, Sofia Kenin. Maybe she is ready to take down everyone in China, but almost all the players are there.  Ons Jabeur just won the Ningbo Open, in China. So now she is happy again. Many people think that the 16-year-old  Mirra Andreeva of Russia is darn good, as she just upset  Barbora Krejcikova, and excellent player. In another year, if she is healthy, then she might be in the top 30 and then we will know how good she is.

 It did take Gauff a couple years to improve her forehand and her return, and currently, she are better now. She could win China, as long as she can snap the lines.

The finals in Canada: Jessica Pegula, Jannik Sinner, Alex de Minaur

Jannik Sinner
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

The American Jessica Pegula has been around the block, for a very long time, but finally, she is very intense, and when the match is almost done, then you have to really go for it. Or, if she is very steady, during the points, when she is feeling it, then she can hit it harder, and really mix it up.

Over the past few days, in Montreal, it looked like that  Pegula could fold, but she has been so confident. She edged two of the fine players, taking down her good friend,  Coco Gauff  6-2, 5-7, 7-5, and on Saturday, she out-lasted Iga Swiatek 6-2, 6-7, 6-4. Those were two huge events, as she has yet to reach into the semis is the Grand Slams, but at the 2023 U.S. Open, maybe she will finally do it for the first time.

However, right now, it is the most important event. “It’s just kind of trying to execute it at the right times and as best as possible,” she said.

Unfortunately, in Montreal, it was raining  at night, so they had to cancel between Elena Rybakina and  Liudmila Samsonova. They will play on Sunday.

The Aussie Alex de Minaur also said that he really can go further. He beat the former 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, and then he blasted Alejandro
Davidovich Fokina in the semis. Over the past few years ago, he would miss a lot of shots. He could back off, and he could become frustrated. Now he understands what really works. If he is way down on the court, he can continue to battle.

“I’m not going to give up at any stage.  Yeah, just at those stages, I managed to put the ball in the court, play a couple good points,” de Minaur  said. “And then, all of a sudden, I got my chance and was able to turn that around.  So it’s often how tennis goes. It’s huge momentum swings. So you always got to stay in the present.”

He is currently ranked No. 18, and he does say that this year, he will finally reach into the top 10. The 24-year-old has won seven titles, but none in the ATP 1000s, or at the Grand Slams. But at least he won two ATP 500s, including in early March when he won Acapulco, on the hardcourts. He also reached the finals in London/Queen’s Club and a week ago, in Los Cabos, Mexico.

As he said, very soon, he wants to get into the tough top 10.

“Yeah, 100%. That’s been the goal for me for a couple years,” de Minaur said. “It’s no secret that, I haven’t really been content where I am, and I’m always trying to find my way to push more.  I’ve always felt that I’ve got the level to break into that top 10. But it probably wasn’t until end of last year where I was able to get my first win against a top 5, which was Daniil in Paris, that I really was able to have that breakthrough moment of really believing in myself. And I think from that moment onwards, it’s been a completely different — it’s been a change. I’m feeling a lot better. I’ve had a great year.”

He will face against the Italian, Jannik Sinner, who beat Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4. It was close. but Sinner  missed a few odd shots, but he continued to throw with some gigantic shots. In the final, Sinner will take down de Minaur in three, massive sets.

After Newport, back at the hardcourts

Christopher Eubanks

At Newport, the veteran Adrian Mannarino won it, beating the 20-year-old Alex Michelsen 6-2, 6-4 in the final. 

The Frenchman is 35 years old, and he plays all the time, going to various tournaments. If he wins, he can look so intense, but also, he can lose against many of the top competitors. However, he is just going to continue to play a lot of events until he retires.

When? Who knows?. He has won three 250 titles, but no ATP Masters 1000, or even the final or at any Grand Slam. Excellent competitors have beaten Mannarino for years. He has a lot of moxie and is heavy on the self-analysis. He is ranked No. 27, and he does have a chance to finally reach the top 20 for the first time. Maybe he will.

As he said about beating Michelsen, “It’s all about what you’re going to show to your opponent. Today I was trying to make him think I was comfortable and that I would be able to play some long rallies and not missing so much and I would make him work a lot.”

Mannarino has yet to reach into a quarterfinals at the Slams. He does really like playing on the grass, and also, on the hard courts, but on the clay, he loses very early. He likely cannot change, but the lefty will continue to be solid.

The American Michelsen played terrific this week, even though he lost. He is very tall, and he is a pivotal hitter. He has yet to play dozens of people, so coming up, he might not be able to beat many darn good players. Eventually, though, he will add some new shots. He is an incoming freshman on the University of Georgia team. Will he play college tennis?

Andrey Rublev has now won 14 titles after he beat Casper Ruud in Bastad on clay. He can be great at times, but he has only won one ATP Masters 1000. Maybe he can do it again during the next seven weeks. Perhaps in the ATP 1000 Toronto, which will start in two weeks…

The Atlanta Open begins this week, with, of course, with Michelsen, as well as Taylor Fritz , Maxime Cressy, John  Isner, Ben Shelton and Christopher Eubanks, among others. Outside of the American, there are two once excellent players before they got hurt a lot, with Kei Nishikori and Gail Monfils. If you are there, I would definitely watch them on the court, as they will retire, pretty soon.

At Warsaw, there are some solid players this week including the No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Karolina Muchova, Lin Zhu and Katerina Siniakova. Swiatek lost at Wimbledon, but she certainly likes to play on the clay, and the hard courts, too. As long as she very thoughtful and focuses, then she will have another change to win Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open.

The picks at Wimbledon: Tuesday, July 11

Jessica Pegula
Rick Limpert

Iga Swiatek over Elina Svitolina
Surprising, they have only played each other once, two years ago in Rome, and Swiatek beat the Ukrainian 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. Swiatek has changed a lot when she improved a tremendous amount, with her massive strokes. She is very quick and she can bash the ball with her forehand and her backhand. The No. 1 has a fabulous first serve, and she can be creative. Finally, she is now convinced that she can motor on the grass.

Svitolina barely won when she upset Vika Azarenka. Before that, she lost five times, but she kept going hitting her hefty forehand and her backhand. But this will be even harder, as the Pole person is locked in. The four-time major champion hasn’t won Wimbledon yet, but she can do it this year. 

“Every day my love is getting bigger,” Swiatek said. “Hopefully, I’m going to have as many days as possible to stay here and play on this court, because for sure, this is my best year on grass. I feel really kind of motivated, because I know that even when you’re not feeling 100 percent, (the) hard work is paying off. So I’m happy I did that work and I can stay here.”

The former No. 3 Svitolina will dig in, but Swiatek will it in three wild sets

Novak Djokovic over Andrey Rublev
The rising Russian has put together some excellent shotmaking. Rublev can strike it down the lines, and he can also pound it when he thinks that he can mash it crosscourt. However, at the Australian Open on the hard courts, Djokovic bullied him 6-1 6-2 6-4. That was really quick, as the Serb elevated his game early and outhit him, with his brutal serve and his forehand. He only made a few errors.

In order to shock Djokovic on the grass, Rublev is going to have to totally redefine his approach. He is also going to take big risks all the time. When he returns, he has to thump the ball. Djokovic has won Wimbledon many times before, and this year, he has looked very good, but he has lost a few, odd matches. Regardless, Djokovic will win it in four unreal sets.

Jessica Pegula over Marketa Vondrousova
The Czech has had a decent year, and she has been pretty consistent, but she has not reached into the finals this year. If you look at Vondrousova, she did manage to reach the final at the 2019 Roland Garros, but on the grass, she struggled. Apparently though, over the past nine days, she looked smarter. Her backhand is very stable.

Pegula has struggled at the Slams, but at least she is trying to push herself and not be so nervous. Fortunately, she has reached into the second week at Wimbledon for the first time. Clearly, her forehand and her backhand are harmonious. The reason why is she also plays a lot of the doubles, sprinting so close to the net. She can put it away, solidly.

At the Grand Slams, the No. 4 has yet to reach the semis, but this time she has a real opportunity to do it. Pegula will punch Vondrousova to win it in three competitive sets.

Jannik Sinner over Roman Safiullin
They have only played with each other once and the Italian took it 7-6(6), 6-3 on hard courts. Yes, Sinner is a huge hitter, and he can nail it, but he can also throw in some strange errors. He also can be very competitive and he can swing away with some phenomenal shots. Sinner has won six titles, but he has not won an ATP 1000,or even one of the Slams. Yes, he is 21-years-old, but as he once said, “I have my own path and my own way to go.” Then go a little harder or faster.
 
Safiullin has had a terrific tournament, but the Russian had never won an ATP event. At least he is feeling very good now. Perhaps he decided to change it up. He will have to try hard, but Sinner has a better forehand and when he returns well, too. The Italian will win it in three quick sets.

Matt’s yesterday picks at Wimbledon

Madison Keys over Mirra Andreeva
Carlos Alcaraz  over Matteo Berrettini
Stefanos Tsitsipas over Christopher Eubanks
Petra Kvitova over Ons Jabeur

Matt’s picks from Wimbledon

9 out of 13. 69.2% correct

The picks at Wimbledon: Sunday, July 9

Hubert Hurkacz
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Andrey Rublev over Alexander Bublik

The Russian continues to try at the Grand Slams, not only that he can crush the ball, but also, over the past two years, he has been more intelligent. Yes, Rublev can play some bad mistakes, but he can nail with his heavy forehand, and with his backhand, to put it down the lines.

Believer it or not, they just played against each other in the final, at Halle, when Rublev edged the other Russian, Bublik, 6-3 in the third set. Yes, the tall man can knock his first serve and his forehand, but he isn’t quite fast when he is running. For sure, he has had a very decent year, but not enough, so Rublev will win it again, in four tough sets.

Iga Swiatek over Belinda Bencic
This should be an intense match. Both of them can split the ball, and they can also jump early to try to put it away, fast.  Swiatek recently said that on the grass, she is feeling much more comfortable than she did recently. Swiatek  is very please after she won Roland Garros, recently, but that is on the clay, not on the switch grass. But now she can go low and find where she will go, low and hard.
As she said,“ I feel like last year was a little bit different, especially coming back after winning Roland Garros. It wasn’t the easiest moment for me. I try really not to come back to that. I’m just taking experience from just this period of time of playing on grass, and that’s all. It’s just a totally different chapter.”

Bencic can beat anyone when she is feeling good. Her serve isn’t that great, but her forehand and her backhand can be jolly sharp.   The Swiss does believe that she can finally win a Grand Slam, and maybe she can, but how can she out-last versus the Polish person?  She does have a chance, but Swiatek returns better, as does her serve, so once again, the No. 1 will win it in three brute sets.

Novak Djokovic over Hubert Hurkacz

It is pretty clear that Serbian better than him, beating Hurkacz all five times. In 2019 at Wimbledon, Djokovic lick him in the third round, in four decent sets. He is just faster, and his backhand might be his best ever. Djokovic can mix it up a lot, and he can stay there until he has a real shot to put it away.

Hurkacz has had a decent year, but not great, losing pretty early.  Djokovic will win it in four easy sets.

Elina Svitolina over Victoria Azarenka

This is risky, as Azarenka has beaten Svitolina all five times. Certainly, when the two time champion Azarenka is totally bolted, and she can hit some cruel  shots, down the lines, and cross court, too. However, Azarenka has retired a lot over the past few years, which is why  she has not won a big tournament since 20? Yes, Azarenka destroyed Svitolina at the 2023 at the Australian Open, but she was just returning. There is no doubt that when Azarenka  is totally shut it in, she can find the lines. However, Svitolina looked very good on the clay, at Strasbourg and Paris. She absolutely has to be very consistent, and drove her back. As the Ukraine said: “I will go out there and put the fighting spirit on and just really fight for every single point.” She will, when Svitolina will defeat Azarenka in three tough sets.

Matt’s recent picks at Wimbledon

Andy Murray over Stefanos Tsitsipas

Matt’s picks from Wimbledon

3 out of 5, 60% correct

Chris Evert’s Wimbledon predictions and Rybakina’s chances

Elena Rybakina

At 2022 Wimbledon, the aggressive Elena Rybakina won the tournament. During those two weeks, she was totally focused, and she dove on the lines. Her forehand and her backhand were very heavy, and she was also powerful. She finally understood what she had to do and not think about the pressure.

She is not the only one. Petra Kvitova just won a tournament and the Czech grabbed The Championships trophy twice. Iga Swiatek just won the 2023 Roland Garros and Aryna Sabalenka took it at the 2023 Australian Open.

But can Rybakna win it back to back in London? The former 18-Grand Slam champ Chris Evert says that Rybakina has to be more flexible.

“I think any time there’s an injury this close to Wimbledon, it gives anybody pause. You definitely have to be 100% physically to play seven matches and to do things with your body that you’re not accustomed to doing versus a hard court or a clay court,” Evert said. “You have to be adaptable, flexible, you have to be able to move on some slick courts. It all kind of screams you better be careful with your body and you better have that good balance.”

Not too many women have won it back-to-back. Venus and Serena Williams have done it, as has Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, among others. Evert did win it three times on the grass, as she was so steady, especially with her terrific backhand. She knows that when you had won at the Slams, in the next year, it could be totally different.

“[Rybakina] has going against her, it’s always tough to defend your title. I just feel like she’s shown a little vulnerability this year,” Evert said. “She’s got the perfect game for grass when everything is working, but everything has to be working. She played a great, great match when she won the tournament, but at the same time I don’t know if she’s at that top form right now. I see [Aryna] Sabalenka and Iga [Swiatek]. I only see the other players getting better and better. I wouldn’t put her on the top of my list, even though she’s defending champion. I wouldn’t put her on the top of my list. At the same time there’s a little bit of an unknown as to what her health is, what her fitness is like. I really can’t make a definitive statement on that.”

She is probably correct. This year, Rybakina won Indian Wells and Rome, and also reached the final at the Australian Open, but she lost in a few key matches, including verses Sabalenka.  

There are other people who can very deep, such as Kvitova and the 2017 Roland Garros champ Jelena Ostapenko, who is playing great again.

The No. 1 Swiatek has yet to win at Wimbledon, but her forehand and her backhand are phenomenal. Yet she has to re-think what she is going, to be more patient on the grass. Evert things that she could be vulnerable.
 
“It’s her best Wimbledon result I believe was the fourth round. She’s won tournaments on hard court,” Evert said. “Swiatek won tournaments on clay courts, Grand Slams, majors. She has such great court coverage in the sense of she can slide, her legs are very crucial, the court coverage is very crucial in her game. In order for her to really get set for the ball, she has to know how to move and she has to be very comfortable and her footing has to be solid. Footing is not necessarily solid on the grass. Plus the fact with that extreme western forehand, when I’ve been watching her on grass, anybody has trouble with. Even Coco Gauff has trouble with that low slice forehand when you have that extreme grip to hit up on the ball. It’s very awkward.”

When she was talking, she discussed about Gauff, as the American is very good, but the young player still has to work on the court.

“I think that Coco, and Iga for that matter, like the waist high balls and the balls around the shoulder with that western grip. But the short ones will give them trouble. So I think that and the fact that she can’t really at this point feel super confident on the grass. I think she feels confident. She’s No. 1 in the world, the best player in the world, but this surface may take away a little bit of her strength, which is her moving because of the sliding.

“Also I think if you’re going to win Wimbledon, you’ve got to have a big serve, you’ve got to win free points off that serve. The players have been attacking her second serve a little bit. She doesn’t have that big Sabalenka, Rybakina first serve. I’m nitpicking here because she’s No. 1 in the world and she’s great, and I think she can win Wimbledon, don’t get me wrong. But there’s some little nuances in her game that might hurt her a little bit on the grass court that don’t affect her as much, that help her actually, on the other surfaces.”

The big basher Kvitova certainly can win it for the third time, and yesterday, Madison Keys won the Rothesay International beating Daria Kasatkina, which was huge.

You can throw in who have a chance to reach into the quarterfinals, like Jessica Pegula, Caroline Garcia, Barbora Krejcikova, Ons Jabeur, Karolina Pliskova and Donna Vekic. They can win in all, or fall down. As Pliskova said, “If you believe in yourself, you can beat anyone.”

The picks at Roland Garros, Saturday, June 10

Karolina Muchova

Iga Swiatek  over Karolina Muchova
The Pole Swiatek is now one of the youngest woman to reach in the final at the French Open. It is three times, which is not easy.

From 1990-1992, Monica Seles reached three final at Roland Garros, and she won it. She was so young, but her forehand and her backhand were lethal. She consistently attacked, anywhere she wanted to. Her serve was never that great, or at the net, but her returns were fantastic. So was Justine Henin, who won it 2003-2005, three in a row, in the final, and she did not lose a set.

Swiatek has won it two times at Roland Garros, and maybe another one, but not three in a row. Regardless, over the past 12 days, she has played  so consistently, and with some terrific variety.

However, she has to face again Muchova, who all of a sudden, in the matches, she does not check out. Her return is forceful, and she can string side to side. Her serves is not great, as she has yet to win a major yet, but the Czech seems to believe that she will be locked in, frequently.

As Swiatek said, “I really like her game, honestly. I really respect [Muchova], and she’s I feel like a player who can do anything. She has great touch. She can also speed up the game.  She plays with freedom in her movements. And she has a great technique. So I watched her matches and I feel like I know her game pretty well.  But obviously on matches, it’s a little bit different and I’ll be ready no matter what.”

Muchova will have to make some big decisions, on the court. In the semis, she played over three hours, and she cramped a little bit, when she edged versus  Aryna Sabalenka. But this time, she is going to have to hit some tremendous  shots, and a lot of diversity. But on Saturday, the Czechs really think that she can win it. “I will for sure need to fight. I’ll need to play my best,” she said. “Yeah, just to bring the best out of me and play a perfect match to be able to win a Grand Slam.”

She might, sometime in the future, but once again, Swiatek will be more than patient, and she will hit some stunning forehands. She will beat Muchova in three hard-fought sets.

Matt’s yesterday picks

Carlos Alcaraz over Novak Djokovic
Alexander Zverev over Casper Ruud

Matt’s picks from Roland Garros

35 out of 52, 67.3% correct

The picks from Roland Garros: Thursday, June 8

Iga Swiatek
Mal Taam/MALT photo

Aryna Sabalenka over Karolina Muchova
Everyday now, the Belaruse is totally in control. She is running very fast, she is returning much more consistently, and she can also smash her forehand. Last year, mentally, Sabalenka had some very difficult months. However, on the court, now, she is lethal, much more.

Sabalenka can slip up, but so does Muchova. The Czech has a lot of variety, with her strong forehand and her consistent backhand. When she is feeling good, she can take over, but when she is not, she can fold.
Muchova knows that if she can win the match, she is going to play at least 90 percent to beat her.

“She’s very, very great player. Very aggressive,” Muchova said. “Tough match ahead. I’ll try to do my best to find a way how to make it complicated for her.”

Coming into the tournament, she was feeling good. Sure, she can lose, but when she is on, she can be so fitting.

“This year I had a great tournament in Rome. Before I had a great preparation. Here I started well and with matches I gained some confidence. Of course now I’m feeling better on clay.”

Sabalenka has always felt much more honesty, in the court. They have played each only one time, a few years ago, and she won it, but it was very close. She will do it again, but this time they will go into the third set, and Sabalenka will grab it with somesizable forehands.

Iga Swiatek over Beatriz Haddad Maia
Pole has won 26 of 28 matches at the French Open, crushing so many people. She is so swift, and she can raid, ASAP when she can. Her forehand can go up and down, but when she is playing terrific, she can throw together a number of winners. Her backhand is also with some huge variety, and also, again, she can hit it so harsh.

In Toronto, she lost against Beatriz Haddad Maia, on the hardcourts. Now on Thursday, when they face off, it will be on clay. That is different, for sure.

“She’s the fighter, and she showed even today that she’s fighting until the last ball. It pays off,” Swiatek said. “For sure you have to be ready even when you feel like you’re leading or whatever. You have to play every point 100%. We played in Toronto, and I would say actually this was one of the matches that had similar conditions in terms of the wind. It was also windy that day. Obviously surface is different. I will focus on myself and what I want to do on court.”

It might even be a little bit windy, so Haddad Maia will make an attempt to have some very long rallies. She certainly meld it up, and she can also crush some fine backhands. But at the end, Swiatek will be more patient, and wait until she has a break to kiss it in the lines. Swiatek will win in three unreal sets.

The picks at Roland Garros: Wednesday, June 7

Casper Ruud

Ons Jabeur over Beatriz Haddad Maia
The Brazilian has changed a few interesting tactics over the past year. Haddad Maia beat a number of the very good players. She can throw in some deep shots, with her spin and her slice. As she says that, “I think I had a very tough draw. I had to push myself.”

Yes, she does. However, Jabeur is more mature, even though in the matches, she can over think. She does have an incredible top spin, and she can also mix it up a lot, but at times, she isn’t hitting hard enough. She has to play if she is playing great, or mediocre, with everyone. “I have learned a lot how to accept things, either good or bad. For me, being injured was part of my path, how the season would have started here this year. I worked a lot on my mental health and worked a lot on how to manage all this, because I believe there is a lot of injuries are connected to our emotional part,” Jabeur said. “I’m trying to manage that.”

Over the past 10 days, she really does. It will be a very long match on the slick clay, and in the third set, Jabeur will win it with some eye-popping drop shots.

Iga Swiatek over Coco Gauff
At the 2021 Roland Garros in the final, Swiatek wiped Gauff in two easy sets. In the quarters on Wednesday, the American is going to have to play substantially better, especially with her up and down forehand. Her backhand is so solid, and strong, and at the net, she can put it away, many times. However, her second serve is so-so, and her return is OK, but not great, which is why she has never won a major yet. But she really wants to stun Swiatek.

“I guess the revisiting part for like the mentality, it’s in the past. In a positive way, not like I lost in the final, I don’t want to think about it,” Gauff said. “It’s more so I don’t want to make the final my biggest accomplishment, I guess. I want to keep moving forward and keep reaching further heights.”

Gauff will have a huge shot to upset Swiatek, as the Polish person is playing amazing again. She has not had a great year, but week after week, she makes another effort. She still thinks that she will jump it early, and go down the lives. Swiatek will once again beat her in three impressive sets.
 
Alexander Zverev over Tomas Martin Etcheverry
Frequently, the players can rise almost out of nowhere, but they do, and know that Martin Etcheverry is playing and incredible tennis. He is pretty young, so the Argentine has pushed with his forehand and his backhand. He is not very comfortable at the net, or his serve, too, but he is improving. As he said: “I have a lot of emotion right now. I think I am really, really happy. The best moment of my life,” he said.

He has to try to chop down versus Zverev. The German look better each day, and his forehand and his backhand are huge. Yes to beat Zverev, Martin Etcheverry is going to need more than 100 percent.
 
“I think he has a lot of more experience than me, but I feel really good to play against him. I am playing incredible tennis this week, and just I have to focus in my game and trying to do the same like I am doing all the day,” Martin Etcheverry said.

He might, but Zverev will hit him forehand to forehand, crosscourt, and he will win in three tough sets.

Casper Ruud over Holger Rune
He did win amazing match with Rune when he edged Francisco Cerundolo 7-6(7) in the fifth set. That wasn’t a stunner, but it was so close and his backhand was more than consistent. He has yet to win Roland Garros, but the smart player can really mix it around, and also he can smash his forehand. However, when he gets inside the court on Wednesday, he must be somewhat tired if it goes on for than three hours.

Ruud clearly know that, then during in the rallies, he can just sit on the baseline and wait for a decent chance into the corners. Ruud is pretty smart, and he can attack when it is right there.

The Norwegian seems to think that he is coming closer to beat anyone. Last year, he could not beat against the best players, at the Slams, but now he is coming close. Ruud will hit some fun drop shots, and he will win it in four exhausting sets.

Matt’s yesterday picks

CorrectAryna Sabalenka over Elina Svitolina
Correct: Novak Djokovic over Karen Khachanov
Correct: Carlos Alcaraz over Stefanos Tsitsipas
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova over Karolina Muchova

Matt’s picks from Roland Garros

29 out of 40, 72.5% correct

The picks from Roland Garros: Monday, June 5

Holger Rune

Alexander Zverev over Grigor Dimitrov
He is really feeling right now. Zverev is more and more ego, with his tremendous forehand and with his variety stokes. On the bassline, he can slap it, crosscourt and down the line. He is not perfect yet, but his first serve is harder now, and he can also really pay attention.

Against Dimitrov, he is going to have to push him way back. The Bulgarian has so many different shots, with his slice, when it is flat, or topspin. Dimitrov thinks that when they are out there, he can eventually control him. However, the German just said: “I’m here to play some of the best players in the world, and today was definitely the case in that,” Zverev said.
He must be playing on the top the ball, and while Zverev can check out, for a few games, or more, but in the fifth set, he will put a few huge winners. He will win it over Dimitrov in five wonderful sets.

Holger Rune over Francisco Cerundolo
Is it possible that Rune can go all the way? He is playing terrific, with his forehand, his backhand, and he also improved with the return. If he continues to play so solid, he could be facing in the final.

“That’s a big question, man. Well, the time will show,” he said. “We’ll see. Obviously I believe I can. But I have to play my best tennis, be in my best state of mind to do it, and I have to take one match at a time.”
Cerundolo also is playing so smart, on the court. He runs very fast, and he has a lot of angles. He has put together some logical wins and he is certainly rising, but on Monday, Rune will be more fitting on the forehand, and he will win it in four large sets.

Iga Swiatek over Lesia Tsurenko
The No. 1 is crushing everyone, and to beat her on clay, someone else will have to play 100 percent. At the beginning 2022, Swiatek looked very decent, but not great. However, in February, she began to win all the time. Apparently, she changed her attitude and her strokes. But also, each month, they can lose once and a while, and that can be OK.

“A lot of like new situations and a lot of ups and downs. “Every year,I face different challenges, so I kind of just thought about these challenges and tough moments I had and also how I overcame them. All the moments where I felt really, satisfied with my tennis,” Swiatek said.
“But like overall, I just thought about my life.”

 Everyone wants to look at the life, on the court and off. Tsurenko decided to push herself, during the points. She has been here for a hefty time, and she has won some tremendous wins, but Swiatek is stronger, with her forehand and her backhand. She will crush Tsurenko in two easy sets.

Ons Jabeur over Bernarda Pera
She was struggling a lot this year, but Jabeur right her ship. She has a immense variety, and she can touch a number of drop shots. She can be fragile, but she can also start the battles.

‘I’m getting back to my level. I feel like I’m moving great, and I’m feeling like it’s getting better during the matches. The game is there,” she said. “ Physically I’m feeling definitely much better.”

Eleven months ago, Pera won in Hungary and Hamburg, on clay, back to back. That was won of her two best weeks, ever, but after that, she did not win that much. She clearly really likes clay, but to beat the top- 10 competitors, the 28- year-old is good, but not great. Perhaps she can do it eventually, but Jabeur will win it in two quick sets.

Matt’s yesterday picks

CorrectCarlos Alcaraz over Lorenzo Musetti
Correct: Stefanos Tsitsipas over Sebastian Ofner
Correct: Elina Svitolina over Daria Kasatkina
Sloane Stephens over Aryna Sabalenka

Matt’s picks from Roland Garros

22 out of 32, 68.7% correct