All the key facts, head-to-heads and talking points as the second week of Roland Garros 2019 kicks off.
Alex Macpherson
June 1, 2019

LEARNING

2016 champion Garbiñe Muguruza and 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens clash for the third time today. Their head-to-head is all square at 1-1 - with the winner going on to reach at least the final both times. At Wuhan 2015, Muguruza routed Stephens 6-2, 6-0 in the second round, eventually retiring to Venus Williams in the final; Stephens would beat Muguruza 6-3, 6-4 in the fourth round of Miami last year en route to her sixth and most recent title.

This week marks the 13th Grand Slam second week for both 1993-born players. Muguruza is 7-5 overall in the fourth round of majors, and 3-1 at Roland Garros; Stephens is 5-7 overall, and 1-4 at Roland Garros.

The fourth-round clash between No.23 seed Donna Vekic and No.26 seed Johanna Konta pairs two players who have historically had much greater success on faster courts - and until recently, very little on clay. They have split six career meetings 3-3, with Konta winning at Cincinnati 2016, Wimbledon 2017 and Nottingham 2018, and Vekic taking the Nottingham 2017 final 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 and their two most recent encounters, Tokyo 2018 and their Acapulco quarterfinal in February, by an identical 6-3, 7-5 scoreline.

Between 2013 and 2017, Donna Vekic compiled just a 4-12 WTA main draw record on clay, putting together consecutive match victories on the surface only once in that period (her third-round run at Roland Garros 2015). Starting in 2018, the Croat's fortunes on the terre battue have turned up: she is 13-6 on clay since, including her first quarterfinal on it in Istanbul last year, her first Premier quarterfinal on it in Stuttgart in April, and now her second progression to week two of a major following Wimbledon 2018.

Similarly, Johanna Konta lost her first five WTA main draw matches on clay, and between 2013 and 2018 put together a 7-15 main draw win-loss record on it (including four first-round exits at Roland Garros in as many appearances). In 2019, though, the Briton is 13-3 so far on the terre battue including her seventh and eighth career finals in Rabat and Rome.

No.31 seed Petra Martic, No.23 seed Donna Vekic and the unseeded Marketa Vondrousova are all bidding to make their maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal. Martic has been to the fourth round on four previous occasions (Roland Garros 2012 and 2017, Wimbledon 2017 and the 2018 Australian Open), while Vekic and Vondrousova have progressed to this stage once each (Vekic at Wimbledon 2018, Vondrousova at the 2018 US Open). One player out of Martic, Vondrousova, No.12 seed Anastasija Sevastova and Kaia Kanepi is guaranteed to reach the semifinal - a round which only Sevastova has reached at a Grand Slam before.

Istanbul champion Petra Martic has compiled a 9-1 record on clay so far in 2019, and moves back up to World No.36 (Istanbul Cup)
Petra Martic defeated Marketa Vondrousova in the Istanbul final in April - and they could meet again in the Roland Garros quarterfinals (Istanbul Cup)

None of the winners of the three Premier red clay warm-ups in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome are still in Roland Garros - but International winners and runners-up are thriving. Istanbul champion Petra Martic and Istanbul finalist Marketa Vondrousova could set up a quarterfinal rematch of that final with wins today, while Bogota champion Amanda Anisimova, Rabat runner-up Johanna Konta and Lugano finalist Iga Swiatek are all still alive as well.

19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova is one of three teenagers to have made the fourth round here, along with 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova and 18-year-old Iga Swiatek in the top half. The last time three or more teenagers made the second week of a Grand Slam was at the 2009 US Open (17-year-old Melanie Oudin and 19-year-olds Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Yanina Wickmayer); the last time three or more teenagers made the second week of Roland Garros was in 2008 (18-year-olds Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka, and 19-year-olds Agnieszka Radwanska and Carla Suárez Navarro).

Kaia Kanepi has two Roland Garros quarterfinals under her belt, in 2008 and 2012, and is back in the second week for the first time since the second of those. Overall, the Estonian has reached the fourth round of a major on eight occasions - and six times has progressed to the last eight, with her only losses at this stage coming to Serena Williams at the US Open (in 2014 and 2018).

The success of Petra Martic and Donna Vekic marks just the second time in history that two Croatian women have made it to the second week of a Grand Slam (previously, Martic and Ana Konjuh reached the fourth round of Wimbledon 2017).

Marketa Vondrousova has now won at least three matches in her past six tournaments. The Czech has not lost before the quarterfinal stage at any event since losing to Petra Martic in the second round of the Australian Open, notching up finals in Budapest and Istanbul and quarterfinals in Indian Wells, Miami and Rome. Martic, meanwhile, has posted a 14-2 record on clay in 2019 so far with a title in Istanbul, semifinal in Charleston and quarterfinal in Madrid.

Anastasija Sevastova has reached the second week of a non-hardcourt major for the first time. Although all of the Latvian's career titles have come on natural surfaces (Estoril 2010 and Bucharest 2018 on clay, and Mallorca 2017 on grass), her biggest results in Premier and Grand Slam events have all been on hard courts: two quarterfinals and one semifinal at the US Open in the past three years, fourth-round runs at the Australian Open in 2011 and 2019, and a maiden Premier Mandatory final in Beijing last October.

TRENDING



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