2020 French Open: What to Watch on Saturday

Sabalenka and Jabeur have not met before, but they are sure to highlight each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

SIMONNE MATHIEU COURT | 10 a.m.

Through the first two rounds, Grigor Dimitrov, the 18th seed, has shown himself to be cool and composed as he breaks down opponents. But he has not come up against a clay-court specialist yet. Now, in Roberto Carballés Baena, a true challenge has come into his path.

Carballés Baena dispatched Steve Johnson in the first round while dropping only two games and followed that up with a much more impressive victory over the ninth seed, Denis Shapovalov, in five arduous sets. It was his first win in a fifth set and his first win over a top-10 player, and it gave him his first appearance in the third round of a Grand Slam tournament.

While his victory may have given him belief, a five-set match can drain a player’s energy, especially on slow clay courts. If Dimitrov can attack early and secure the first set, it’s hard to know if there will be a road back into the match for Carballés Baena.

SUZANNE LENGLEN COURT | 1 p.m.

Garbiñe Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion, has not had the steadiest return to the WTA Tour after the coronavirus break. A second-round loss in the U.S. Open was a clear disappointment, but upon returning to clay, she fared slightly better. She lost in three sets to Simona Halep in the semifinals of the Italian Open but had also needed three sets to beat Coco Gauff and Azarenka earlier in the tournament. After again taking three sets to beat the 88th-ranked Tamara Zidansek in the first round at Roland Garros, it’s unclear whether Muguruza can regain the level of play that got her to the final of the Australian Open in January.

Danielle Collins has similarly struggled to show her best game this year. After a semifinal appearance at the 2019 Australian Open, she has not made it past the third round of a Grand Slam. This is the furthest that Collins has made it at the French Open, but her competition has not been anywhere near the level that she will face on Saturday.

Muguruza will most likely be able to settle in and move the American around the court well, dominating for long stretches of the match. It will be a test for her to see if she can contend later.

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