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Snakes in the grass already popping up
The second week of Roland Garros coincided with the opening of the grass-court stretch, enabling some to get a jumpstart on their peers.
Published Jun 17, 2021
As the tennis season has been forced into numerous changes the past year and a half, the second week of the French Open and the opening of the grass-court stretch just coincided, enabling some of the players more in tune with the turf to get a jump on their peers.
With everyone having had a year off the lawns due to the pandemic, some of the players who have posted strong grass-court results in the past look like they haven’t missed a step. Now that the second week of events is well underway, here’s a glance at some of the ATP and WTA stars who’ve already shown that they’re ready to impress with Wimbledon just around the corner.
Could grass actually be the young Canadian’s best surface? Though he has yet to win a singles title, he’s reached finals under every playing condition, including just last week in Stuttgart, his second career runner-up finish at the tournament. He hasn’t stopped yet: Auger-Aliassime just topped Roger Federer in Halle, where the Swiss was a 10-time champion.
Seeded fourth last week at the Nottingham Open, Shuai played through to her first final in more than a year. Though she lost the championship match to Johanna Konta, the veteran from China impressed throughout the course of her run, where she was dominant in most matches and forced to battle, too, primarily in the semifinals against Kristina Mladenovic. The 2019 Wimbledon quarterfinalist could make more of a dent in some draws in the weeks ahead.
As he tries to work his way back into the Top 100, Kudla will be looking to make a big push during the grass-court stretch. He got off to a strong start with a run to the final at the Challenger in Nottingham, losing to his longtime friend Frances Tiafoe. Having reached the round of 16 in Wimbledon back in 2015, the American’s grass-court knowledge is still paying dividends as he’s posted a win against ’18 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson in the opening round of the Nottingham-2 Challenger this week.
Even though he lost his opening match in Halle this week in three tough sets, the American gave a glimpse last week in Stuttgart that he’s still at his most dangerous on grass. Querrey fought through three matches against lower-ranked opponents to reach his first semifinal in a couple of years. A semifinalist at Wimbledon as recently as 2017, Querrey has shined on grass throughout his career and could continue to pose a threat.
The past couple of years have been difficult health-wise for the American, who’s ranking currently sits outside of the WTA Top 200. However, as she’s shown so far this week in Birmingham, you can never count her out—especially on grass. The two-time Hertogenbosch champion has posted back-to-back main-draw wins for the first time in three years, which could be a foundation to build upon for the rest of the year.