Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 14 of the 2020 French Open.
Tennis Post Serena Williams
The thing about waiting and hoping for Serena Williams’s marquee 24th career Grand Slam is that you risk missing everything else.
If you keep obsessing over the American’s ongoing quest for her apparent Holy Grail, the one that would put her equal with Margaret Court atop the career leaderboard for most singles Grand Slam titles, then you’re maybe not watching the rest.
Williams’s (relative) difficulties since capturing major No. 23 in Australia in 2017 and just before announcing to the world that she was pregnant have been well documented. She’s come close numerous times, notably making four combined finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019, but has never managed to get over the finish line and grab the elusive title.
Williams’s legacy as the likely best player of all time is secure regardless of whether she gets No. 24, but we understand that it would sure as hell be fun to see her finally win it—and then to get No. 25 to lord over everyone else.
We get it. We’re not here to condemn you for this, of course not. You may watch and pay attention to whatever it is you want to and we won’t bat an eye. But look at what it is that you’re missing out on when you do.
Saturday’s final @rolandgarros between 21yo ?? Sofia Kenin and 19yo ?? Iga Swiatek is the 1st Slam final between two 21-and-unders since 2008 Australian Open (20yo Sharapova d. 20yo Ivanovic).
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) October 8, 2020
This is history, folks. Women’s tennis, we’ve heard those complaints coming from folks ad nauseam loud and clear over the years, has been in a little funk outside of the great champion at the centre of it all in Williams. To some extent, this is true: outside of probably Simona Halep, very few players from that generation have showed much staying power at the top of the rankings.
But that’s about to change: no fewer than half of the players currently in the Top 10 are 25 years old or younger, a group that doesn’t even include youngster French Open finalist Iga Swiatek. Expand to the Top 20 and the proportion remains the same with 10 total players from that age group.
Most importantly, these players aren’t just young but they’re actively winning Grand Slam events; Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka, Sofia Kenin and Bianca Andreescu are all in the Top 10, younger than 25 and with a major title to their name.
It’s huge. The future of women’s tennis is here, and so is Williams. Let’s pay attention to both.
Find our prediction for the women’s singles final below. The entire day schedule is here.
The Match Up
Court Philippe-Chatrier: Sofia Kenin  vs Iga Swiatek (Start at 3pm local time)
We keep looking and anticipating for Iga Swiatek to show her age, believing that surely this next round is the time when the Polish will understand what it is that she’s about to accomplish, but she’s yet to show anything but poise, grace and absolute ruthlessness on the Roland-Garros courts as she’s rampaged through the draw.
Like, she really may have been the most dominant player of this year’s event in the non-Rafael Nadal category.
Iga Swiatek dominant run to the finals:
– Games won: 72
– Games lost: 23
– 72 out of 95 games played, Swiatek has won.
– No sets past 6-4.
– 9 of 12 sets won either 6-1 or 6-2.
— Nick Nemeroff (@NNemeroff) October 8, 2020
This is not how 19-year-olds typically react (unless you ask Canadian Bianca Andreescu at last year’s US Open).
Surely, the final of a Grand Slam event—in what’s only the seventh Swiatek has ever competed in—is where the good times will stop rolling…Right? Well, maybe not. You want to think so but then realize that Swiatek’s opponent in the final, American Safia Kenin, is not exactly well acquainted with the stage either. Oh sure, Kenin has an Australian Open title to her name, which is huge. But it’s also the only other time she made it past the fourth round at any Grand Slam.
Let’s shock the world. Swiatek in three sets.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG