Reigning Australian Open champion and world #2 Caroline Wozniacki continues her bid for a first French Open title when she takes on Spain’s Georgina Garcia Perez for a place in the third round. Wozniacki has had a mixed season since winning her first Major title at Melbourne Park and hasn’t reached a final since. Garcia Perez, meanwhile, has been playing much of her tennis away from the main Tour, but will surely be delighted in her moment under the spotlight. Who will come out on top?
Wozniacki and Garcia Perez have never faced off before. But it is the 28-year-old Dane who is the more experienced of the two coming into this match. Whilst Garcia Perez is playing her first ever Slam, Wozniacki is contesting her 43rd, and has won 108 matches at Slam level to Garcia Perez’s one. Overall, she has 592 wins to the Spaniard’s 197, the majority of which have come away from the main WTA Tour. Wozniacki also has 28 titles to Garcia Perez’s none.
Path to the second round
Wozniacki, the second seed in Paris, began her tournament against the United States’ Danielle Collins, a former NCAA champion who has been making serious strides in the professional game since her graduation in 2016. However, there remains a significant gap between Collins and those at the very top of the game, as Wozniacki illustrated. After a tight first set that was decided on a tiebreak, Wozniacki pulled away, ultimately winning 7-6 6-1.
For Garcia Perez, Roland Garros started in the first round of qualifying against Russian Valentyna Ivakhnenko a week ago. She won that match in straight sets before downing Claire Liu of the US in a three-set battle. She then reached the main draw with a 6-3 6-1 victory over Harmony Tan of France. Originally drawn against former semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky, she ultimately faced Dalila of Jakupovic of Slovakia following the Swiss’ withdrawal, defeating Jakupovic 6-3 6-4 to win her first match at a Slam.
How do they match up?
Wozniacki has long been one of the finest baseliners in the women’s game. The Dane, naturally a counterpuncher, has one of the best backhands on Tour. It is a rock-solid shot that almost never lets her down and is her biggest weapon. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see Wozniacki run around her weaker forehand wing to hit backhands. Her footwork is typically very impressive although she is more comfortable on hard courts than on the clay.
Garcia Perez is amongst the tallest players on the WTA Tour at 6’1”, and uses that height to good effect when serving. Indeed, it is her first serve that is her biggest weapon and it is the shot on which her hopes of upsetting Wozniacki must rest. Her forehand is a fairly powerful weapon although far from an elite-level shot. Her backhand, however, can be broken down and the Spaniard will need to work hard to defend that wing against Wozniacki.
This is an enormous challenge for Garcia Perez. How she will react to the atmosphere on Chatrier, by far the biggest court she has ever played on, is just one of several unknowns for her ahead of this match. But, the step up in quality will surely be too big for the 26-year-old. Wozniacki is a proven winner and deservedly one of the biggest names in tennis. Expect the Dane to reach the third round at Roland Garros for the seventh time in straight sets.