Reigning Australian Open champion and world #2 Caroline Wozniacki continues her quest for a second Slam crown in as many tournaments against Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier. Since winning the Australian Open, Wozniacki’s form has rather tailed off, but a deep run in Paris would change that completely. Parmentier, meanwhile, has enjoyed something of a renaissance this season, particularly after winning her first title for over a decade in Istanbul. But who will come out on top in this one?
Wozniacki and Parmentier have met four times over the course of their careers in a head-to-head that the Dane leads three matches to one. Their first clash came a decade ago in the second round on Amelia Island, Florida, with Wozniacki winning comfortably 6-3 6-1. Wozniacki also dominated their second meeting winning 6-2 6-1 in her native Denmark in Copenhagen in 2012. Wozniacki defeated Parmentier again last year in Bastad, but this season in the Istanbul quarterfinals Parmentier had her revenge, winning when Wozniacki retired with the match tied at one set apiece.
Path to the third round
Wozniacki began her Roland Garros campaign with an impressive victory over Danielle Collins of the USA, a former NCAA champion. Wozniacki was dominant in the first set, winning it six games to one. Collins regrouped admirably, pushing Wozniacki to a tiebreak in the second set, but the Dane won it to reach the second round. There she dismissed the big serving Spaniard Georgina Garcia Perez losing just one game in what was surely one of the best Roland Garros performances of her career.
Parmentier started her French Open with a clash against her compatriot Chloe Paquet, a 23-year-old wildcard. It was Paquet who made the better start, winning the first set 6-3. Put Parmentier was able to turn the match around, winning a tightly contested second set before dominating the decider to win 3-6 7-6 6-2. She then downed another Frenchwoman, 32nd seed Alize Cornet, in three sets despite again dropping the opener as she won 6-7 6-4 6-2.
How do they match up?
Central to Wozniacki’s success over the course of her career has been her consistency and defensive prowess from the baseline. The Dane’s backhand is her best shot, and it is a rock-solid and versatile tool for the world #2. Her footwork and movement is also typically excellent although Wozniacki has always been more comfortable on hard courts than either clay or grass. Her forehand can break down, however, when under pressure.
Parmentier has also never been amongst the biggest hitters on the Tour. But the Frenchwoman has none-the-less forged a very successful career by relying on accuracy off the ground and a fine attitude. She covers the court well and rarely misses cheaply. Both women will be looking for a good serving performance ahead of this match, but particularly Parmentier who will be aware of Wozniacki’s impressive returning abilities.
Wozniacki has been excellent so far in Paris this year, particularly against Garcia Perez who could not lay a glove on her. She will likely find the going tougher against Parmentier than she did in the previous round, as the Frenchwoman’s grit and consistency from the baseline make her a tough opponent for anyone. But Wozniacki will have too much quality for Parmentier, and should reach the fourth round without dropping a set.