The Pick RG R3 Gauff Brady

Two of America’s most promising players are set to face off on Saturday with a trip to the Roland Garros second week on the line. Jennifer Brady and her fearsome forehand will hope to once again overpower Coco Gauff’s incredible quickness and unbelievable backhand.

The last time they faced off, in the summer of 2020, Gauff was one Brady's many victims as she demolished the field in Lexington en route to her first WTA title. But I feel little can be gleaned from that 6-2, 6-4 victory, because of just how well Brady was playing at the time. She went on to reach the US Open semifinals—and later the Australian Open final—but we need a greater sample size before we can make more definitive calls about the Brady-Gauff dynamic.

One thing we can predict: Saturday’s match will likely be far more difficult for the former UCLA Bruin. For one, Gauff has enjoyed a stellar clay-court season, racking up a 14-3 record on the dirt, including her first clay title in Parma. Brady, on the other hand, has struggled a bit on the surface, winning just three clay-court matches prior to the tournament.

In theory, Brady matches up quite well with Gauff. She’ll have the massive edge in a standard crosscourt forehand rally—but with Gauff, it’s rarely that easy.

The teenager has done an incredible job this year of using a safe and heavy forehand to set up her world-class backhand.

Advertising

This play will be crucial, as it’s imperative that Gauff find the Brady backhand. If you give Brady time to set up her forehand, it’s off to the races.

Brady’s forehand is one of the game’s most intimidating weapons, with her racquet-head speed enabling her to hit shots few players can produce.

Gauff has yet to drop a set this week, dispatching Aleksandra Krunic, 7-6 (13), 6-4, and Wang Qiang, 6-3, 7-6 (1). Brady dismissed Anastasija Sevastova in the first round, 6-3, 6-3, before surviving a difficult challenge from Fiona Ferro on Thursday, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.

From a betting perspective, the over 22.5 game total is the safe play. But with her unparalleled quickness, Gauff should have the advantage on clay.

The Pick: Coco Gauff