4 min read
Week 2 of the 2023 French Open is upon us. But before we look ahead, let’s review the five things we learned from Week 1, including how Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek have fared through their first few matches.
1. Iga Swiatek Looks Scary Good
Two-time champion and top women’s seed Iga Swiatek of Poland (UTR Rating 13.26) has dropped only eight games through six sets. She is only the third woman in the Open Era to win four 6-0 sets in the first three rounds of the French Open (Mary Pierce, 1994; Martina Navratilova, 1985).
Swiatek's contest with Lesia Tsurenko (12.69) on Monday was shortlived, with the Ukranian retiring after going down 5-1. It's a disappointing ending for Tsurenko, who had been the Universal Tennis INSIGHTS best performer, as she has competed like a player with a UTR Rating of 13.23 over her first three matches. Next up for Swiatek is Coco Gauff (12.72).
INSIGHTS has Swiatek as a 32% favorite to take home her third title, with only Aryna Sabalenka (13.23) ahead of her with 41%.
2023 Roland Garros Favorites to Win, according to Universal Tennis INSIGHTS
(1) Carlos Alcaraz - 28%
(3) Novak Djokovic - 25%
(6) Holger Rune - 11%
(5) Stefanos Tsitsipas - 10%
(11) Karen Khachanov - 7%
(2) Aryna Sabalenka - 41%
(1) Iga Swiatek - 32%
Karolina Muchova - 10%
(7) Ons Jabeur - 7%
(6) Coco Gauff - 6%
2. Novak Djokovic Gains Momentum
The all-time men’s favorite Rafael Nadal (16.14) is not in Paris, making Novak Djokovic’s (16.33) road a little easier, though he's still got a real threat in Carlos Alcaraz (16.38). Djokovic routed Juan Pablo Varillas in straight sets to make his 17th French Open quarterfinal, more than anyone, including Nadal, has reached.
“Obviously, the performance of today gives me a great deal of confidence about how I felt, about how I played,” Djokovic said.
He hasn’t dropped a set yet and brings an 8-1 head-to-head record against Russian Karen Khachanov for their quarterfinal.
INSIGHTS pegs Djokovic as a 25% favorite to win his third French Open title. Top seed Alcaraz is a 28% favorite to win his second major championship title.
3. College Tennis Lights Up Paris
The 2022 individual NCAA champion upset 17th seed and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia en route to the third round, the best Grand Slam showing of her young career. Stearns only turned pro 12 months ago but is already projected to crack the Top 60 of the WTA rankings on Monday.
4. Coco Gauff Flies American Flag Alone
Nineteen-year-old Gauff is the lone American remaining in either the men's or women’s singles draws (though she's into the quarterfinals in doubles with Jessica Pegula). The fortnight began with 35 Americans in the main draw (19 women and 16 men), the most since 1995.
Gauff, the 2022 French Open finalist, made it back-to-back quarterfinals in Paris earlier Monday by beating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 7-5, 6-2. INSIGHTS pegs Gauff, who faces Swiatek in the final eight, as a 14% favorite to make back-to-back finals.
The media can't help but focus on age, with Gauff beating 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva in the third round. But age is just a number for Gauff.
“I feel like I'm the type of person; I don't need to be praised because of my age or anything,” she said. “I prefer just to be praised because of my game, not because of things I'm doing at whatever age.”
5. New Mom Elina Svitolina Makes Family Proud
Elina Svitolina (12.42) had low expectations heading into the final stretch of the European clay-court season. The 28-year-old gave birth to her first child, daughter Skai Monfils on October 15, 2022, and had yet to win a tour-level match this year before the WTA event in Strasbourg last month. Now some might be wondering when she’ll lose a match again?
Svitolina, who’s married to ATP player Gael Monfils, has won eight consecutive matches, including the Strasbourg title, and is through to her fourth French Open quarterfinal, where she’ll face second seed Sabalenka.
“I take inspiration also from other women who gave birth, came back to the sport and tennis, or different sports as well. For sure, it takes a huge effort to do that. Even like we have Tatjana Maria who came back after two kids. It's really inspiring,” Svitolina said.
Svitolina is 0-3 in French Open quarterfinals. She and Sabalenka have split their two head-to-head meetings.
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 11 a.m. EST, June 5, 2023.