Muchova vs Sabalenka predictions: Belarusian can show why she is a cut above
Aryna Sabalenka won her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January and the world number two has effortlessly translated that form to the clay so will have high hopes of following up in the French equivalent.
The Belarusian has adjusted well to the slower surface and has made serene progress into the semi-finals in Paris, winning her opening five games in straight sets.
Sabalenka’s semi-final opponent, Karolina Muchova, is enjoying a resurgence and is back in the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time since doing so at the Australian Open in 2021.
The Czech performer has dropped only one set on her way to the semis in the French capital, but has not yet come up against a player of Sabalenka’s calibre and may need a career-best performance to prevail.
The only previous meeting between these two players went the way of Sabalenka, who prevailed 7-5 7-6 on a hard court in Zhuhai in 2019.
Back then, Muchova was ranked in the world’s top 20, but she now finds herself at world number 43.
After a quiet 18 months, the 26-year-old hinted that a return to peak form could be around the corner when making the quarter-finals at Indian Wells in March.
That means Muchova has lost only four of her 24 completed matches since mid-February and has lost only twice in nine appearances during this clay-court campaign.
However, Muchova’s French Open first-round win over world number eight Maria Sakkari is her only victory over a top-ten performer this season, which highlights the difficulty she could be faced with here.
Sabalenka has already won three titles this season in Adelaide, the Australian Open and in Madrid, while also finishing runner-up in Indian Wells and Stuttgart.
The Belarusian has won 34 of the 39 matches she has contested this season, winning 14 of her 16 encounters on clay.
Of those 14 clay-court wins, the 25-year-old has won 11 in straight sets, which includes all five of her starts in this year’s French Open.
Muchova has had an excellent tournament on what was considered her most vulnerable surface, but the Czech’s fairytale French Open looks set to come to an end.
When the hard-hitting Sabalenka brings her A-game to the table, she is devastating and that was evident when she triumphed in Madrid at the beginning of May.
The Belarusian defeated Iga Swiatek in that title decider, showing why she is perhaps the only player on the planet who can stop the world number one’s clay-court dominance.
Sabalenka is so powerful and hits so many winners, that she is almost impossible to stop when in the groove and Muchova’s defence may fall victim to the all-out attack of the Belarusian.
Sabalenka may not have had the most taxing route to the semi-final but she has won all five matches 2-0, which includes against in-form duo Sloane Stephens and Elina Svitolina in the last two rounds.
And a similar scenario could be about to pan out against Muchova, who will have to serve to her absolute maximum to stay competitive.