Henman and Wilander: Uphill challenge but Paolini has a fighting chance against Swiatek

Saturday, 08 June 2024 at 11:45
Jasmine Paolini needs to get her head down and believe in the biggest match of her life as Tim Henman and Mats Wilander believe there is a chance albeit a slim one that she could spring a shock against Iga Swiatek in today's Roland Garros final.
Paolini will face Swiatek this afternoon in the final of the 2024 French Open in her maiden Grand Slam final. An uphill task given Swiatek's true and utter dominance on the surface. Given the moniker as this era's Queen of Clay, she could become a four-time French Open champion.
“Paolini has to believe she has a chance,” Henman said on Eurosport’s French Open coverage.
“The odds are heavily against her the way Swiatek has been playing, she’s just so tough to play on clay.
“But Paolini is playing exceptionally well this year. She’s through to the final, has nothing to lose and lots to gain.
“One of the important aspects for the final is to play the ball. The intimidation factor is enormous. I think she must embrace the challenge and give it her best shot.”
Whilst Wilander thinks it is less clean cut than many others think it is and that Paolini certainly has the game to trouble Swiatek. “Everyone thinks Iga is the clear, clear, clear favourite. But Paolini moves very well, hits the ball hard, has an unbelievably good forehand with plenty of spin so it’s a different style Iga Swiatek is facing in the final,” said Wilander.
“We know she will have confidence on Philippe-Chatrier but I think it might be closer than it looks on paper.
“I think Paolini will only spend maybe five to 10 minutes to understand what she has to do and from that point she has to play more aggressively than she did today. More aggressive than in any other match then she has probably played in her whole life.“It’s a very, very difficult situation when you don’t have a big serve and win points, but she’s in the finals for the first time. Who knows? Maybe she wins two Grand Slams [including doubles] before she’s done. Maybe we haven’t seen the best of Paolini yet.”

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