Playing in her first Grand Slam without her father as coach, last year’s Roland Garros finalist finds herself in a precarious situation against 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko. Aside from the plethora of points she is defending, Sofia Kenin has yet to win a match on clay in 2021, losing to Lauren Davis in Charleston, Anett Kontaveit in Stuttgart, and Barbora Krejcikova in Rome.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Latvian is listed as a -167 favorite and projected to win by 2.5 games. Perhaps Kenin, who has been so clutch under pressure throughout her brief career, can summon her best tennis on Monday. Based on her play this year there’s no reason to believe that will be the case on Monday.

Nothing is more important in tennis than confidence, and it appears Kenin doesn’t have any at the moment.

In theory, Kenin should match up well with Ostapenko, as her defense and variety are still among the game's best. But if Ostapenko plays a focused match, her power can overwhelm the struggling American.

If Kenin has an off serving day, she could be in especially big trouble.

Advertising

You can’t afford to gift Ostapenko consistent looks at slow-moving second serves. 

Look for Kenin to utilize her backhand slice to put Ostapenko in uncomfortable positions. Ostapenko moves well side to side, but not quite as well forward and backward.

These types of off-pace shots will give Kenin her best chance of winning. 

Advertising

But in the end, it’s tough to put your faith in a player who owns a winless clay-court record in 2021, facing a former champion who is bringing a solid level of play into her favorite major tournament.

The Pick: Jelena Ostapenko