The French Open Draw: Women

20 May

Okay, so I haven’t been this excited before a major, since way back when Federer winning Wimbledon was a given. And even more unbelievably it’s the women’s draw that I most look forward to see being played out. While the women’s game (deservedly) takes a lot of flack for lacking depth, this French Open almost provides an opportunity for this perception to change. When you think about it, the Williams’ sisters have had a lot to do with creating this situation. They don’t play often enough to be top ranked, yet when it comes to the majors they wipe the floor with the “official” best players in the world, thereby discrediting the rankings in a large degree. One might argue that the system according to which the rankings are calculated is to blame – certainly a notion that should be entertained, perhaps the focus of future blog post…

Back on point, the French is highly likely to be won by a top 5 player, and if not, will almost certainly be won by a top 10 player. Caro Wozniacki has every chance of winning. So does Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kwitova. In my opinion it would be a stunning validation of not only these players, but also the rankings and the women’s game, if one of them win. While one would think Wozniacki’s counter puncher game is well suited to the red, clay is probably her worst surface; despite this, her consistency of play makes her a serious contender. In contrast if Azarenka were to win here, it would be because she overcame her inconsistency. Azarenka has every facet of a game to induce shock and awe. At her best, few can beat her. While she probably doesn’t have the maturity to play at that level throughout the seven matches it requires to win a grand slam, it sure would be a coup for women’s tennis if she were to win… Powerful game, impressive to watch, and still very young are all factors which would add to the credibility of the sport. Kwitova too is probably lacking in maturity, but it would be the most exciting brand of play to win a first time major in quite a while.

Other contenders, less likely to win or gain some massive standing for the women’s game if they do, include Francesca Schiavone, Vera Zvonareva, Sam Stosur and Jelena Jankovic. While she played a brilliant series of matches one year ago, I am still inclined to say that Schiavone’s French win was somewhat of a fluke and unlikely to be repeated. Zvonareva, Stosur and Jankovic are all contenders, but seem to be somewhat lacking in the conviction required to win a major. This is quite a shame – particularly in Stosur’s case, her clay court game would make her a worthy champion, and the attention it would draw to the sport in her native, Australia, would certainly be of note. A Li Na win or is that Na Li win, would too do wonders for the sport in the player’s home country. Adding the billions of Chinese as followers of the women’s game would kind of render the fans across the rest of the globe, null and void. I don’t think she will do this for the game in Paris, Wimbledon is a whole different story though…

And then we get to Sharapova and Clijsters. While it probably wouldn’t do wonders for the sport if the self-proclaimed “cow on ice” aka Sharapova or Clijsters, who’s been out for months, won the clay major, this would probably the most enjoyable watching to me, being quite an old school tennis fan. And to be fair, Clijsters always has a shot. And Sharapova winning Rome gives her every right to be considered a serious contender.

So now that I have mentioned every top 10 player as a challenger for the title, who do I actually pick as the winner…

Quarter Final 1: Sam Stosur vs Caro Wozniacki

This quarter will go according to the seedings. While Svetlana Kuznetsova is the most likely player to prevent this quarter final from happening, I reckon the odds are in favour of Wozniacki reaching the semi’s by virtue of beating Stosur in the quarter’s.

Quarter Final 2: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Jelena Jankovic

In this quarter, an interesting 3rd round encounter between Zvonareva and Nadia Petrova looms. A few years ago, Petrova was my favourite to win the French Open. While she doesn’t have the form or consistency, her clay court pedigree is still noteable. I don’t think either of them will make the quarter final though. Pavlyuchenkova is capable of beating both, and overdue on a good run at a major. I don’t think anyone in Jankovic’s 1/8 will bother her too much.

Quarter Final 3: Petra Kwitova vs Ana Ivanovic

Kwitova has quite a difficult section of the draw to get through. The little Chinese Zheng Jie in the 2nd, Dominika Cibulkova in the 3rd and either Na Li or Sorana Cirstea in the 4th, it won’t be easy. I think she has the self belief to do it however. In the other section, the smart money would be on Victoria Azarenka getting through. Maybe I am just too much of an Ana Ivanovic fan, or maybe I’m right when I say Ivanovic will beat Azarenka, via her superior experience and Azarenka’s inconsistency, but my money is on Ivanovic making it through this part of the draw.

Quarter Final 4: Maria Sharapova vs Kim Clijsters

Simply no one in this quarter can challenge these two veterans for skill or experience.

To recap, the quarter final pairings according to my predictions are as follows – Sam Stosur vs Caro Wozniacki, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Jelena Jankovic, Petra Kwitova vs Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova vs Kim Clijsters.

Semi Final 1: Caro Wozniacki vs Jelena Jankovic

Both of these are likely to beat their lower ranked quarter final opponents, and proceed to the semi’s.

Semi Final 2: Ana Ivanovic vs Maria Sharapova

Okay, so we have already determined that I’m going out on a limb with Ivanovic. Picking Sharapova above Clijsters was quite difficult. I expect the winner of that match to at the very least, reach the final. I’m going with Sharapova mainly due to her superior match fitness and the fact that her record at Roland Garros isn’t bad at all with 1 SF, 3 QF’s and 2 4R’s.

Final: Caro Wozniacki vs Maria Sharapova

These two will make it to the final over their Serbian opponents,by virtue of their superior games, and belief in their capabilities.

Winner: Maria Sharapova

Cause she’s a champion. But it would be much better for women’s tennis if Wozniacki won.

Give me your opinion by commenting below.

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10 Responses to “The French Open Draw: Women”

  1. lewis_davies May 20, 2011 at 9:35 PM #

    I’m not sure about Ivanovic making the semis (or Maria winning the tournament) but I agree with a lot of your points.

    I’d have given Azarenka a firm chance before she injured her arm but like you say, it really is wide open.

    • schroeds May 20, 2011 at 10:14 PM #

      hey! I’m not too sure either 🙂 I think anything could really happen. Thanks for reading!

  2. Omair May 21, 2011 at 1:19 AM #

    Hey! A nice article by the way. But wat i don’t get is why is it being termed as wide open due to the absence of williams? None of the Williams has made it to the semis of RG since 2003. Besides there are certain in form players who have picked up their form at the very right time like sharapova, Kvitova, Georges.

    As far as the predictions are concerned, well for Sharapova CLijsters, Clijsters owns 5-3 record against sharapova, but they have yet to meet on clay. So lets see what happens. It will all depend on whose serve holds that day, because both can produce lots of double faults. Furthermore, the one to look out in this quarter is andrea petkovic, she is fit and she can be a danger.

    As for the first quarter, i think you have overlooked julia georges. Georges, should she meet stousr, owns 2-0 record against stousr. One win coming on hard courts last year and the other coming on clay this year.

    While the second quarter is up for grabs for anyone. Really none of the players in that draw has been in form during the clay curt season this year. I think schiavone has a shot at the quarter final spot, should she get past shuai peng who upset zvonareva recently in brusels for a spot in the final. Jankovic also has the chance of making it to the quarters. She has been a great clay court mover. FOr these two i ll leave the choice open, for n the gien day anyone can win. and b oth of them are great fighters, never ready to give up.

    For the 3rd qurater fourth round clash between kvitova and Li will be interesting to watch, should that happen. Kvitova has a shot at making it to the quarters since Li is not a great clay court mover. But i would love to see Li making it past the quatrers (though the chances are extremely low, with kvitova in the 4th round and azarenka possible 4th round opponent.)
    For azarenka there won’t be a real test till the quarters i guess. I was surprised by your pick of Ivanovic as quarter-finalist. She has been badly out of form. I don’t think she will make it past the 3rd round or the 4th round. But again you never know.

    As for the last quarter, petkovic can be a threat for kim. i dont see radwanska as a threat because she has been out of form, loosing her openers at madrid and rome. but agin you never know, beacuse she came out of injury at the AO 2011 and went all the way to quarters before falling to the eventual champion kim.

    Whatever the results may be, the matches will be interesting. I will really like to see kim holdng the trophy.

    I guess its been relly big comment.but i hope you will read thorugh it.

    • schroeds May 21, 2011 at 1:30 AM #

      Hey Omair! I really appreciate your long comment 🙂 You are absolutely right – I should not have left Georges out, her form is fantastic right now… In addition to this, you make a number of other valid points too.

      I kind of hope Clijsters wins too.

      Thank you for reading! And enjoy the french open.

  3. Monte May 21, 2011 at 3:58 AM #

    I thoroughly enjoyed your article, although I have a few points too make. One is the form of Ana Ivanovic. 2 or so years ago I would have definitely agreed about her making it to the Quarters. Not anymore, her form is too inconsistent and is only fixed by a win here or two at tournaments. She’s not going to make it that far, although I hope so since I’m a fan. Second, what about Georges, the one who beat the world number one back to back weeks? She’ll make the quarters I think, so that’s one thing to factor in. While I do see Clijsters and Sharapova playing in the Quarters, I just don’t see Sharapova winning it. Clijsters plays her game well on ALL surfaces and we all know about Sharapova and clay (which could potentially change since her recent Rome win). I do want Sharapova to win this tournament, I’m a big fan of her. This is her year, but with Clijsters in her Quarter, I’m not sure. 4th, what about Li Na (Na Li?). She’ll surely make the Quarters, well has a high chance to, depending on her game. Other than that, spot on!

  4. Steve May 22, 2011 at 8:59 AM #

    good stuff man.

    Your first tennis blog? Impressive stuff. Hope to read a lot more from you.

    • schroeds May 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM #

      Hi 🙂 Thanks, I really like your blog, really appreciate that you took the time to read mine. Enjoy the French Open btw.

  5. Scott May 22, 2011 at 11:06 AM #

    Have kept it too narrow by only looking at the top 10 players, and players you follow for other reasons! It really is wide open, great event this year.

    • schroeds May 22, 2011 at 11:20 AM #

      Hey! Already wrote 1000+ words, but yes, it really is so open that about 20 – 30 players could legitimately think they have a shot…

  6. daltonchadeverett May 23, 2011 at 3:32 AM #

    Very nice series of articles, particularly in providing detail on a number of less familiar players. Nicely done!

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