LEARNING

No.1 seed Simona Halep is a dominant 7-0 against compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu, and 4-0 on clay - including a 7-6(2), 6-3 win in the Prague semifinals last month. The pair's rivalry goes back 13 years: they first played in the quarterfinals of an ITF $10K event in Bucharest in 2007, where a 15-year-old Halep - playing her fourth pro tournament - defeated a 16-year-old Begu 6-3, 6-4 en route to her second straight title. Oddly, the only set Begu has won in the series was a bagel, en route to her 6-3, 0-6, 6-1 Madrid quarterfinal loss in 2016.

Halep is 29-4 against her fellow Romanians as a pro, and 12-1 at WTA level. The only countrywoman to have beaten her in a WTA tournament was Sorana Cirstea, who won their 2010 Cincinnati qualifying tilt 6-2, 6-4. Begu is bidding for her third career Top 5 win following her defeats of Garbiñe Muguruza at Madrid 2016 and Jelena Ostapenko at Madrid 2018; the 30-year-old has never defeated a Top 3 player before.

Rank Player Points
56 -
P. Tig
ROU
1229
76 -
I. Begu
ROU
932
86 -
S. Cirstea
ROU
867
92 -
A. Bogdan
ROU
805

Rankings as of 2020/11/23

2012 finalist Sara Errani, who is yet to drop a set in four matches at Roland Garros this year, holds a 5-0 record over No.5 seed Kiki Bertens - although two of those encounters ended in the Dutchwoman's retirement. In completed matches, Errani has won once on grass (7-6(6), 6-1 in the 2011 's-Hertogenbosch first round), once on clay (6-4, 6-4 in the 2013 Acapulco quarterfinals) and once on hard courts (4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the 2016 Rio Olympics first round). The Italian is seeking her first Top 10 win since defeating Petra Kvitova in the first round of Beijing 2015.

No.6 seed Serena Williams faces a rematch of her US Open quarterfinal against fellow mother Tsvetana Pironkova, which the American won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Though Williams has never lost to Pironkova in five meetings so far, that was the third occasion on which she needed to come from a set down to quell the Bulgarian - including their only previous clay meeting in the first round of Roland Garros 2007, which the former World No.1 took 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.

Williams has lost just twice at the second-round stage of a Grand Slam in her career: on her debut at the 1998 Australian Open to sister Venus, and to Garbiñe Muguruza at Roland Garros 2014.

Head to Head

serena williams
USA
100% Win 5
Matches Played 5
0 0% Win
More Head to Head
tsvetana pironkova
BUL

Junior contemporaries Daria Gavrilova and Eugenie Bouchard will meet for the first time in a Tour-level main draw today. The pair have played three times at pro level before, with Bouchard leading the head-to-head 2-1 after winning their first two meetings 6-1, 6-2 in the 2011 Burnie ITF $25K quarterfinals and 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in Osaka 2012 qualifying. The 2013 Australian Open qualifying saw Gavrilova gain a 7-6(7), 7-6(6) revenge en route to her Grand Slam main draw debut; in addition, the Australian also posted a 6-1, 6-4 win over Bouchard in the 2017 Hopman Cup exhibition event.

Renata Zarazua has become the first Mexican woman to compete and win a round in a Grand Slam main draw since former World No.34 Angelica Gavaldon's second-round showing in her final major, the 2000 Australian Open, where she defeated Tzipora Obziler before falling to Sandrine Testud. Zarazua is bidding to become the first Mexican in the third round of a major since Gavaldon reached that stage at the 1995 US Open - and, remarkably, the first to reach that stage of Roland Garros since Elena Subirats' quarterfinal run in 1968, the first Grand Slam of the Open Era. The 22-year-old, who captured her first Top 50 win over Sloane Stephens in Acapulco in February, will face the second Top 5 opponent of her career in No.3 seed Elina Svitolina.

In another strong showing for Latin America, qualifier Nadia Podoroska - whose 2020 win-loss record currently stands at 39-6 after capturing her first Grand Slam main draw victory over Greet Minnen on Sunday - will aim to become the first Argentinian woman in the third round of a major since Paula Ormaechea reached that stage at Roland Garros 2014. Podoroska, who owns two career Top 100 wins to date, will bid for a first Top 50 victory against No.23 seed Yulia Putintseva.

Rank Player Points
279 2
M. Zacarias
MEX
225
318 1
A. Sánchez
MEX
178
466 2
F. Contreras Gomez
MEX
91
474 2
G. Olmos
MEX
89

Rankings as of 2020/11/23

No.16 seed Elise Mertens' only previous encounter with two-time quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi was a wild ride in the second round of Charleston 2019, with Kanepi winning 0-6, 6-0, 7-5 after saving a match point serving at 4-5 in the deciding set. Of the 35-year-old Estonian's 35 career Top 20 wins to date, 10 have come on the Grand Slam stage, and another defeat of Mertens would be her fourth at Roland Garros.

2017 quarterfinalist Caroline Garcia holds a 3-0 record over Aliaksandra Sasnovich, having defeated the Belarusian 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of Tokyo 2017; 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in the third round of the 2018 Australian Open; and 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4 in the second round of New Haven 2018. Sasnovich, who has reached at least the third round of each other major, is bidding to reach that stage of Roland Garros for the first time.

A first meeting between No.10 seed Victoria Azarenka and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova will find 2013 semifinalist Azarenka bidding to return to the third round of Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, and Schmiedlova - who snapped a 12-match Grand Slam main draw losing streak by beating Venus Williams on Sunday - for the first time since 2014. Former World No.26 Schmiedlova is also seeking her eighth career Top 20 win, and first since defeating Elise Mertens in the first round of Madrid last year.

TRENDING

ORDER OF PLAY

Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Serena Williams are back in second-round action, while Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sofia Kenin headline the first day doubles play at Roland Garros.

For the Order of Play in full, visit rolandgarros.com.

READING

20 years after the last Mexican woman won a match at a Slam, Renata Zarazua has picked up the torch at Roland Garros, writes WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen

One of the cleanest first-round performances came from Iga Swiatek, who takes on Hsieh Su-Wei today. The Polish teenager opens up about rebuilding her mental state after placing too many expectations of herself at the US Open to Chris Oddo for rolandgarros.com.

WATCHING

2020 Roland Garros Highlights: Garcia overcomes Kontaveit