Navratilova speaks up on Gauff's potential at Roland Garros

Sunday, 26 May 2024 at 01:30
gauff rg 2021
Martina Navratilova commented insights into Coco Gauff's chances at Roland Garros, suggesting she could challenge Iga Swiatek in a potential semifinal clash. Additionally, Navratilova believes Sofia Kenin could be a player to watch out for, capable of making a deep run and springing surprises in the tournament.
Both Gauff and Kenin find themselves in the second quarter of the draw, with Gauff seeded third and Ons Jabeur seeded eighth. Despite rankings, Navratilova emphasizes that clay courts can be unpredictable, with surprises often in store. Alongside Gauff and Jabeur, players like Beatriz Haddad Maia, Jelena Ostapenko, and Sofia Kenin are considered strong contenders to progress deep into the tournament.

Navratilova underscores the significance of weather conditions

The 18-times Grand Slam champion believes that weather conditions will be a key factor for the players, noting that humid weather could neutralize Swiatek's powerful forehand. Navratilova expressed that wet conditions might favor Coco Gauff, given her prowess in defense, although she still has areas to improve.
“I think the biggest thing to keep an eye overall is the weather. When it’s wet, that helps the other players, because that checks Iga’s topspin forehand -- players like Coco Gauff, who plays great D. Conditions at Roland Garros are very unpredictable and they really affect play. Coco’s movement is phenomenal.”
“That keeps her in points when others can’t sustain it. She wants the points to go longer because she knows you’re going to eventually miss. If she can get that serve figured out [45 double faults in Rome], she can go deep in Paris.”
Gauff will play the first round against 21-year-old Julia Avdeeva, who will be in her first Grand Slam main draw.

Could Kenin spring a surprise?

There will be four American players in the second quarter led by Gauff and Jabeur. Alongside the 2023 US Open champion, the name of Sofia Kenin emerges as one of the dark horses. Despite injuries sidelining her from the spotlight, Kenin's strong finish in 2023 propelled her back into the top 50.
At 25, Kenin knows what it takes to be a Grand Slam champion (2020 Australian Open) and she also reached the final at Roland Garros in 2020. The American boasts a solid record in Paris of 11-4 (73%).

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