Yekaterina Bychkova, a tennis player and commentator, spoke especially for RG about what prevents Medvedev from playing on clay, like on hard, and what will help Pavlyuchenkova in the fight for a ticket to the final of Roland Garros.
Ekaterina, did Medvedev have any chances against Tsitsipas?
Ekaterina Bychkova: Honestly, no. Since Dani has a bad relationship with the clay surface – he found his game only for the first year – it could have been predicted in advance that it would be difficult for him with Tsitsipas. Stefanos is now in shape. The soil is his element. Despite the fact that he is tall, he is comfortable playing in such conditions. This is the very cover where he can beat Medvedev, unlike all the others. And still, Medvedev played good matches. But so far he has not beaten some super tops on clay. Although he himself is a top tennis player, he is the second racket in the world. But to have drive and confidence that he is good on this surface, such victories as over Tsitsipas are needed. On the other hand, I don’t understand at all why Danya suffers so much on the ground. I think his game is very suitable for such courts. He may well give them the same result as on hard. You just need something to turn over in your head a little bit.
Tsitsipas will argue with Alexander Zverev for reaching the final. Who do you see in the final?
Ekaterina Bychkova: I don’t understand Sasha’s game. He acts a lot on defense, I’m not a fan of his tennis. But his recent results are impressive: he found his game, serves well. There must be an equal fight. For some reason it seems to me that this is the ending of Tsitsipas. There is such an impression on the tournament. The only thing that can bring him down is his nerves. He fails sometimes. So, whoever turns out to be psychologically stronger will win.
What impression did Pavlyuchenkova make?
Ekaterina Bychkova: I commented on her first match in Paris. Even at the start, she was already very good. She somehow began to look differently on the court. This is not a matter of behavior, but of self-presentation. I was always surprised, many years ago, why Nastya could not play the Grand Slam tournament. For me, she has always been a top 10 player. Maybe now is the time.
Medvedev can be as successful on clay as he is on hard. You need something to turn over in your head
So Nastya is able to pass Tamara Zidanshek?
Ekaterina Bychkova: Zidansek plays great. She has a cool right hand, she moves beautifully. Nastya is moving worse. But at the same time she predicts better, plays better on the left. In my opinion, thanks to her experience, Pavlyuchenkova has an advantage. Yes, she also advanced to the first semifinals, like Zidansek. But for so many years a lot of matches have been played, including at the “majors”. This all goes to the piggy bank. With such advantages as a backhand, experience and instinct Pavlyuchenkov can outplay an opponent. We will watch the match, but I think everything will be fine.