So Roland Garros 2023 has been a total disaster for my favourites! Petra Kvitova, Barbora Krejcikova, Katerina Siniaková and the doubles team of Krejcikova and Siniaková all lost in the first round! These losses were all not totally unexpected but still pretty disappointing.
Petra Kvitova hasn’t won a match since the Miracle in Miami ™. One loss to Jule Neimeir in Madrid and a leg injury has kept her off the court since. Petra is not a fan of the clay and the plucky Elizabeth Cocciaretto was a deserved winner over a rusty looking Petra. Fingers crossed the grass brings more success.
Katerina Siniakova was forced out of Miami with a nasty looking wrist injury and hasn’t played since. As soon as she took the court against Peyton Stearns it was obvious she was not 100%. She sliced it chipped pretty much every forehand and was clearly hampered in the loss. However, she clearly knew she was limited as she almost thought her way to a win.
Ever since Barbora Krejcikova said in an interview she wanted to be considered amongst the so-called WTA big 3 or 4 or 5, it’s been pretty mediocre. She had the misfortune to draw Aryna Sabalenka in the three subsequent tournaments, but the switch to clay didn’t seem to make a difference. Despite being the champion at Roland Garros in 2021, Krejcikova never looked comfortable on clay. She got a couple of wins in Madrid but went out to Petra Martic. It looked more promising in a Madrid when she led Jelena Ostapenko 5-1 but in a massive turnaround, Ostapenko hit her off the court and Barbora had no response. It has been notable that she has been playing more aggressively since that RG triumph. It helped her to the great wins in Tallinn, Ostrava and Dubai. Unfortunately she hasn’t got the balance of patience and aggression right to have sustained success in clay. I didn’t see the first round loss to Leisa Tsurenko, a journeyman Ukrainian who should not have been that big of a challenge. By all accounts, Krejcikova was very out of sorts and I’m not up for the trauma of rewatching!
The saddest of all these losses was the defeat of Krejcikova and Siniakova in the doubles. As soon as it was clear that Siniakova was not fully fit, and Krejcikova low on confidence, it looked like the pursuit of a fourth consecutive grand slam doubles title was going to be a tough one. As it turned out, Siniakova also sustained a thigh injury during the match and their opponents had done their homework, targeting Siniakova’s forehand. While they kept fighting, they have not played doubles together – or any doubles at all – since the Indian Wells title in March – over two months ago. Slightly rusty, I do think they might have played themselves into form if they could have got through, but I am honestly not sure if Siniakova‘a wrist would have held up.
The pair had not lost a grand slam match since the US Open in 2021 and this was the first loss at all, since the WTA finals in November. Holders of the US Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open titles, this would have given them a non-calendar year grand slam of doubles titles. Logically, this was not really a total disaster given Barbora and Katka’s current form and fitness, but still pretty devastating for us fans.
Meanwhile, the women’s tournament is shaping up to see the new big three, Swiatek, Rybakina and Sabalenka fight it out. Frankly, it will be a surprise if one of those three doesn’t take the title. A few blasts from the pasts though, with Elina Svitolina returning from maternity leave and into R3 after taking the title in Strasbourg. Sloane Stephens is also playing well – and she is a player I have always considered one of the most talented and biggest underachiever around. She dropped down to play at 125K but the confidence from winning that, seems to have done her good as she moves into R3. Also still going, Anastasia Pavyulchenkova who has had a long break with knee issues, but beat fellow Russian, the big hitting Samsonova in round 2
One of my favourite players to watch – outside of my favourite 3 – is Czech Karolina Muchova. Chronically affected by injury, when she plays well she is almost Federer-like in her grace and fluid all court game. If she can stay healthy, she has the quality to be pushing for the top 10. Now into R3, she has a great chance to make the quarter final after taking out the 8th seed, Maria Sakkari for the second successive year. (But the way this shitshow of a tournament has gone for my faves, she will probably be out next round,)