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Croatia’s Petra Martic plays a shot against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on May 31 (Michel Euler)
Croatia’s Petra Martic plays a shot against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on May 31 (Michel Euler)|Associated Press
Tennis

Tennis Sunday -- Abrams on French Open Women’s Round of 16 . . . Muguruza, Stephens, Vondrousova, Sevastova, Martic, Kanepi

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

FRENCH OPEN

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Women’s Round of 16

Garbine Muguruza over Sloane Stephens
Garbine Muguruza is looking really smooth, and her easy win over ninth-ranked Elina Svitolina was awfully impressive. Stephens, on the other hand, has played just well enough to win, as she does so often. For some reason, Stephens either isn’t able -- or doesn’t seem willing -- to bring out her best game and try as hard as she can. She takes shots and points off, she hits half-pace far too often, and that just won’t work against the strong Muguruza. I like the Venezuelan who lives in Switzerland to take this match, not because she’s better, but because she wants it more and tries harder. At least it looks that way.

Marketa Vondrousova over Anastasija Sevastova
Vondrousova, the 19-year-old from the Czech Republic is a budding superstar. At only 19, she’s recorded a 22-6 record going into the second Grand Slam tournament this year, while her 30-year-old opponent is a mediocre 13-12. Sevastova may be ranked No. 12 in the world and she may be coming off of a nice win over Elise Mertens, but she’s gonna get a lesson from the stunning Czech. If Americans learned the names Goolagong, Navratilova and Kournikova, they’ll learn Vondrousova too.

Petra Martic over Kaia Kanepi
Both of these players have had a good first week, but Petra Martic knocked out second-seeded Karolina Pliskova, which is a big win. The game that Martic showed in the last two rounds, when she also took out Karolina Mladenovic, has impressed me immensely. I think she’ll out-hit Kaia Kanepi, a big hitter in her own right.