Saturday, May 24, 2014

Roland Garros Preview: A One Woman Show?

So, will this Roland Garros be exclusionary, or as wide open as it looked like it might be a few weeks ago?

Well, I guess we know what -- or who -- that depends on, don't we?

Here's a quick overview of the draw, quarter-by-quarter:

1. Serena Williams, USA... two weeks ago, Serena had a Harry Potter-esque question mark on her forehead when it came to her chances to defend her Roland Garros crown, with a possibly bum thigh and a history of difficult times in Paris, save for last year's decade-in-the-making second RG title, nipping at the heels of her dominance. Then she played a full week without a wrap on her leg and won Rome without too much difficulty. Voila! She's the favorite again. Still, her path to slam #18 isn't a simple one: Venus or Zheng Jie could be there in the 3rd Round, Roberta Vinci or Maria Sharapova's near-conqueror (remember the AO?) Karin Knapp in the Round of 16, then Sharapova herself in the QF. But, if Williams' health is right, her might will likely guide her deep into the second week in the City of Light. Yep... I just did the stupid rhyming thing. Sorry.
2. Maria Sharapova, RUS... before her seemingly-a-blessing-in-disguise-loss-that-gave-her-a-rest to Ana Ivanovic in Rome, Sharapova hadn't lost on clay to anyone not named Serena since 2012. She's won Stuttgart and Madrid this season, and is 48-4 over the last three seasons on the dirt. She was going to be a nice choice to win this tournament, or at least reach the semifinals or final in every prognostication you'd likely find. Then the draw came out... and now she's scheduled to face Serena in the QF. She's lost to Williams fifteen straight times over the past decade, and now might have to try praying for the Tennis Gods to unleash Serena's dormant Parisian demons on her once again in order to avoid having to forget about Paris this time around. On the bright side, maybe she'll get some extra practice on the grass?
3. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK or Sam Stosur, AUS... mind you, neither has done anything this clay season to make them worthy of inclusion on this list. Cibulkova is 0-2, while Stosur is 5-4. If all goes well, they could face each other in the 3rd Round for the right to play Sharapova. Of course, that potential face-off is no given, as Cibulkova opens with Serena Killer (circa 2012) Virginie Razzano and Stosur gets Strasbourg finalist Monica Puig. Of note: Stosur is 4-0 vs. Cibulkova.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Serena's Old Paris Demons... she's the odds-on favorite again after her title run in Rome. She DOES face another Pastry in the 1st Round, but it's not Razzano, it's Alize Lim. Nothing is "assured," of course, but one thing that probably can be counted on is that Lim will likely pick up quite a few new fans and Twitter followers in a few days. You can probably guess why.

THE WILD CARD: An Italian... after both suffered severe downturns after starring roles for Team Italia in Fed Cup, Roberta Vinci and Karin Knapp have turned things around to some degree in recent weeks. Vinci has gone 5-4 on clay, which is pretty good when you consider she's gone 2-10 on hard court this season; while Knapp won three matches to reach the semis in Nurnberg to end her eight-match losing streak. They could meet in the 3rd Round. Knapp is 2-1 vs. her countrywoman on clay, and Vinci has come up monumentally small at times against fellow Italians in big stage matches.

...seriously, how many times in recent seasons has there been all sorts of talk about a potential meeting between the sisters -- and a 3rd Rounder in Paris would be their earliest full draw meeting in a tour event since their very first pro encounter in the 2nd Round of the Australian Open in 1998 -- and then it turns out to never materialize? Venus opens with '13 RG Girls champ Belinda Bencic, then could get either youngster Anna Schmiedlova or vet Zheng Jie.
THE POOR SOUL: Maria Sharapova, RUS... I think we know what Maria's reaction was when she found out that she might have to face Serena in the QUARTERFINALS.

=In the End...=
Serena. You know, unless something strange happens. And it could. But it probably won't. If it does, though, Sharapova will smile again (and maybe sacrifice her first born to the TG's????). If it's someone else who emerges to reach the final four, well... she'll either have pulled off at least one huge upset or will be the luckiest (or most Faustian?) player in Paris. Well, besides the one who pulled a certain likely-too-distracted-to-care Dane in the 1st Round, that is.

1. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP... after her long-overdue title run in Oeiras, CSN no longer has that particular albatross to lug around. She's never advanced past the QF in a slam, though, and as the #14-seed isn't really SUPPOSED to here, either. But there are so many questions with the players seeded above her, the Spaniard with a penchant for pulling off slam upsets might just end up getting the last laugh when the clay dust has settled. She'll face a qualifier in the 1st Round, then would face another in the 2nd.
2. Aga Radwanska, POL... it's her quarter, and she'll cry if she wants to. Aga just hasn't been the same player since her teary semifinal loss at Wimbledon last summer. She's still about a month away from being able to right that wrong, and has a draw here that could at least match her best-ever RG result of a QF in '13. But she might have to fight against a scrambling opponent (Schiavone, CSN) or crowd favorite (Cornet) to get that far again.
3. Angelique Kerber, GER... she'll fight, but she'll probably lose earlier than her #8 seed says she SHOULD. She's been carrying a back injury in recent weeks, but she did reach the RG QF in '12 and has advanced to the final four at two other slams.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Petra... no, not THAT Petra. Cetkovska. Working her way back from injury, the Czech has already jumped 74 spots in the rankings this season and upset Kerber in Rome last week. She could get another shot at the German in the 2nd Round this week.
THE WILD CARDS: 2014 Achievers... there are a handful of players who've made marks this season that could end up surviving this section, but for various reasons aren't necessarily on the tip of one's tongue when it comes to contending. Genie Bouchard isn't supposed to be all that great on clay, but she just reached her first career clay final in Nurnberg. Flavia Pennetta hasn't done much since winning Indian Wells, and has never reached the QF in Paris. But she IS Italian, and everyone is playing on clay, after all... so she can't be ignored. Meanwhile, Alize Cornet's best surface is clay, but while she could ride a wave of emotion to something great she could just as easily spin herself into an emotional ball that suddenly launches itself from Court Chatrier in the middle of a 3rd set.
DON'T COUNT HER QUIET GOODBYE CHICKENS: Francesca Schiavone... might this be the 2010 champion and 2011 runner-up's final Roland Garros? Schiavone will turn 34 next month, has dropped outside the Top 50 this season and gone just 5-13. Ah, but Francesca notched clay wins over Bouchard, Vesnina and Muguruza in recent weeks. The Italian lost to A-Rad in Rome, but she could get another shot at the Pole if she can get into the 3rd Round. She's advanced at least that far in eleven of her thirteen trips to Paris.
THE POOR SOULS: The French?... Caroline Garcia, even with her regretfully tough draw, is still the home nation's best chance for a second week star. Unfortunately, she's not in this section of the draw. If she was, she might be the super dark horse to win it. As it is, Cornet might end up being the Last Pastry Standing, but a mini-run by her might be as exhausting and emotionally-draining on the French fans as it would be for Cornet herself. It might not matter, though, as she could face CSN in the 3rd Round.
=In the End...=
The lowest-seeded semifinalist will likely come from this quarter, but she might not be termed a "surprise" or "Cinderella" candidate once her identity is revealed. Since I still think Radwanska is bundling up all her energy for a shot to exorcise her Wimbledon ghosts next month, it seems logical to think that CSN might finally do what she's sort of been expected to do for quite a while now -- put on a deep run at Roland Garros. With the confidence of a title winner (finally) now part of her fabric, the time may just be right.

1. Simona Halep, ROU... Even without Vika Azarenka's absence at this RG, world #4 Halep's ranking would have allowed her to top a grand slam quarter for the very first time. After setting career-best slam marks at successive slams (US 4th Rd. & AO QF), now come the heightened expectations. The Romanian has displayed a few slight mental lapses this season, but her biggest issue has been various injuries (Achilles and an abdominal muscle most recently) that have kept her year-long climb up the WTA ladder from gaining even more steam. Having upped her aggression and improved her serve, Halep is building herself into a player to be reckoned with on the big stages. But this will be a test. Is she ready to step up another wrung, or will she soon be pondering a temporary "step back?" Hmmm...

2. Ana Ivanovic, SRB... we know she CAN win the whole thing, but we also know a bad day could spell early doom, too. In a season in which the Serb has won more titles quicker than she ever in her career and notched victories over Serena AND Sharapova in events that she DIDN'T win, AnaIvo might be the biggest feast-or-famine player in this entire tournament. She hasn't reached the QF in Paris since winning her only slam in 2008, and it won't be easy getting there again. In perhaps the toughest 1st Round match on the board, she'll face Caroline Garcia in a truly remarkable (and unlucky for the loser) early-week match-up. If she gets past that, the likes of Svitolina, Safarova and Kuznetsova/Kvitova would still be in her path to just the final eight, where she could meet Halep. That pair have split four matches over the last two seasons, including each winning one this year. Ivanovic's two wins have come with extenuating circumstances, with Halep retiring once and playing her second match in a day in the match-up during their nations' weather-delayed Fed Cup tie in April. Halep has since defeated AnaIvo in straight sets in Madrid.
3. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS... who knows which Sveta we'll get in Paris. Match to match, set to set, game to game and point to point, her level of play is liable to turn from good to bad, or vice versa. The good facts: Kuznetsova has notched clay wins over Halep, Cornet, Bouchard, Vesnina and Torro-Flor during her recent 8-4 clay run which included her first appearance in a final (Oeiras) since 2011. The bad facts: she ended her last match, against Jelena Jankovic in Rome, via an injury retirement. I guess we'll find out which is more pertinent. Of note: the Russian has reached at least the Round of 16 at Roland Garros nine of the last ten years.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Simona Halep's body... oh, I'm sure we'll have more of those before-and-after photos and discussions if she lasts deep into the draw, but I'm talking about whether the Romanian can get through two weeks of grinding matches in Paris without an old/lingering injury flaring up or a new one rearing its ugly head. If she can, we could see something special. If not, the scramble to win this quarter could be epic.
THE WILD CARD: Caroline Garcia, FRA... not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but, oh, Draw Gods, what have you done to us?!?!? Yeah, a Garcia/Ivanovic 1st Rounder ranks as one of the most intriguing opening matches in recent slam history, but who wasn't hoping that the Pastry could put on a real run at this RG? Of course, she still COULD. The moment didn't get the best of Garcia at the Fed Cup, and if it doesn't here then a fantastic little slam story could be in the making.
DON'T COUNT HER GRAND SLAM CHICKENS: Sloane Stephens, USA... Roland Garros was where Stephens reached her first slam Round of 16. She's put up some decent clay results this spring, too. But she's got a 0-2 career record against Peng Shuai, losing both matches on clay and never winning more than three games in a set. Guess who she meets in the 1st Round. And you just know that Current Sloane knows those stats, too... which means she might already have one foot out the door when something goes wrong.
THE POOR SOUL: Petra Kvitova, CZE... well, it's come to this. We now expect nothing from her, and can't even count a 1st Rounder against Zarina Diyas as a "sure" win. And she reached the semifinals in Paris as recently as 2012, too.
=In the End...=
This quarter could provide the most fun, or be the most frustrating. There are so many good potential stories -- I haven't even mentioned the presence of Camila Giorgi or Jana Cepelova, as well -- that it seems impossible that whoever survives won't be putting up a result that would make everyone smile. Of course, as each worth-rooting-for storyline falls by the wayside, it be with a hint of sadness. It seems that Halep, even with her injury question, is still the most stable player here, so...

1. Li Na, CHN... yep, Li is the 2011 champion, but hard courts are still where her heart and best results are. Still, she's the favorite at the bottom of the draw simply because it's hard to legitimately list anyone ABOVE her, though quite a few might be worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with her on the terre battue. So, while I list her #1 here, I just quite bring myself to think that she'll live up to her #2 seed, or maybe even reach the final four. Inconsistency, especially on clay, is still a part of her game. And at RG, it's probably a deal breaker.
2. Sara Errani, ITA... Errani followed up her surprise '12 trip to the RG final with a semifinal run last year. After sliding into the black hole of expectations by the end of 2013, the Italian has rebounded on her favored clay courts, going a combined 12-4, reaching the Rome final and putting up wins over Petkovic, Suarez-Navarro, Jankovic and, in her career-best win, world #2 Li. She left Rome with a hip injury, though. Hopefully, the week off has allowed time for the injury to heal. If she were to return to the semis, Errani would possibly have to repeat her victories over JJ (4th Round) or Li/Petkovic (QF).
3. Jelena Jankovic, SRB

...JJ's resurgence has been as happy an occurrence as it's been somewhat unexpected. She's been especially back in form on clay courts, going 13-5, reaching the final in Bogota, semis in Stuttgart and Rome, and getting wins over Kuznetsova, Pennetta (twice), and Radwanska. Unfortunately, the former slam finalist hasn't yet TOTALLY gotten back on the proverbial slam horse. She's reached back-to-back major Round of 16's, but her QF at last year's RG is her only slam final eight since her semifinal run in Paris in 2010. She's got a tough draw that could include Cirstea in the 3rd Round, Errani in the 4th, then Li or Petkovic in the QF. Still, no matter how things turn out, it's a far more happy slam when there's at least a legitimate possibility of a deep second week run by Queen Chaos herself. To however long it lasts in Paris.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Andrea Petkovic, GER... the last time Petkovic played at RG she reached the QF. Unfortunately, due to a string of injuries, that was back in 2011. Her '14 comeback has included a Charleston title, and if Li falters at the bottom of the section -- or Petkovic herself ousts her in a 3rd Round match -- the German might find herself right back in the final eight (at least).
THE WILD CARD: Madison Keys, USA... hot off a semifinal run in Strasbourg, she'll get Errani in the 1st Round. If the Italian's hip injury is healed, Keys' journey will likely end there. If the opposite is true, we'll find out just how much the Bannerette has retained from when she didn't give up in that Fed Cup match against Cornet and then saw the injured Pastry falter down the stretch.
DON'T COUNT HER POULETS: Kristina Mladenovic, FRA... the former junior star is a combined 1-5 in career main draw matches at Roland Garros, and she faces Li in the 1st Round this year. I'm assuming she'll be playing doubles again with Flavia Pennetta, which whom she's gone 3-6 this year (part of the reason why she's dropped from just outside the doubles Top 10 to #24 in ten months). Ummm... can Daniel Nestor help make Kiki's latest slam worth living one more time?
THE POOR SOUL: Caroline Wozniacki, DEN... with the demise of WoziRoy, it's hard to imagine that the Dane will have her head in the game. Her loss will likely be Yanina Wickmayer's gain in the 1st Round.
=In the End...=
Just call this the Smile Section. Li, JJ, Petko are beloved by their fans, and the scrappy and perpetually underrated Errani is always admirable. While the Radwanska section is full of questions, this might be the tougher one to call because there are more potential final four candidates in the mix. While any of the beloved trio would be nice editions to the semis, if Errani is healthy, her clay court prowess and recent uptick in results could make her the prevailing underdog once again.

2003 Serena Williams (SF)
2004 Justine Henin-Hardenne (2nd Rd.)
2005 Lindsay Davenport (QF)
2006 Amelie Mauresmo (4th Rd.)
2007 Justine Henin (W)
2008 Maria Sharapova (4th Rd.)
2009 Dinara Safina (RU)
2010 Serena Williams (QF)
2011 Caroline Wozniacki (3rd Rd.)
2012 Victoria Azarenka (4th Rd.)
2013 Serena Williams (W)
2014 Serena Williams

2006: Henin-Hardenne (W) - Kuznetsova (RU) - Clijsters/Vaidisova
2007: Henin (W) - Ivanovic (RU) - Jankovic/Sharapova
2008: Ivanovic (W) - Safina (RU) - Jankovic/Kuznetsova
2009: Kuznetsova (W) - Safina (RU) - Stosur/Cibulkova
2010: Schiavone (W) - Stosur (RU) - Dementieva/Jankovic
2011: Li (W) - Schiavone (RU) - Bartoli/Sharapova
2012: Sharapova (W) - Errani (RU) - Kvitova/Stosur
2013: S.Williams (W) - Sharapova (RU) - Azarenka/Errani

unseeded...Clarisa Fernandez, 2002
unseeded...Nadia Petrova, 2003
#30...Samantha Stosur, 2009
#21...Mary Pierce, 2005 (W)
#20...Dominika Cibulkova, 2009
#17...Francesca Schiavone, 2010 (W)
#16...Elena Likhovtseva, 2005
#16...Nicole Vaidisova, 2006
#14...Paola Suarez, 2004
#14...Justine Henin, 2001
#13...Dinara Safina, 2008
#12...Kim Clijsters, 2001
#11...Marion Bartoli, 2011
#10...Justine Henin, 2005 (W)

1998 Nadia Petrova/RUS def. Jelena Dokic/AUS
1999 Lourdes Dominguez-Lino/ESP def. Stephanie Foretz/FRA
2000 Virginie Razzano/FRA def. Maria-Emilia Salerni/ARG
2001 Kaia Kanepi/EST def. Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS
2002 Angelique Widjaja/INA def. Ashley Harkleroad/USA
2003 Anna-Lena Groenefeld/GER def. Vera Dushevina/RUS
2004 Sesil Karatantcheva/BUL def. Madalina Gojnea/ROU
2005 Agnes Szavay/HUN def. Raluca Olaru/ROU
2006 Agnieszka Radwanska/POL def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS
2007 Alize Cornet/FRA def. Mariana Duque-Marino/COL
2008 Simona Halep/ROU def. Elena Bogdan/ROU
2009 Kristina Mladenovic/FRA def. Daria Gavrilova/RUS
2010 Elina Svitolina/UKR def. Ons Jabeur/TUN
2011 Ons Jabeur/TUN def. Monica Puig/PUR
2012 Annika Beck/GER def. Anna Schmiedlova/SVK
2013 Belinda Bencic/SUI def. Antonia Lottner/GER

[won Girls & Women's titles]
Sue Barker (1974 Jr. Champion; 1976 Women's Champion)
Jennifer Capriati (1989 Jr. Champion; 2001 Women's Champion)
Justine Henin (1997 Jr. Champion; 2003, '05-'07 Women's Champion)
Mima Jausovec (1973 Jr. Champion; 1977 Women's Champion)
Hana Mandlikova (1978 Jr. Champion; 1981 Women's Champion)
Renata Tomanova (1972 Jr. Champion; 1976 Women's RU)
Martina Hingis (1993-94 Jr. Champion; 1997/99 Women's RU)
Natasha Zvereva (1998 Jr. Champion; 1988 Women's RU)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (2001 Jr. RU; 2009 Women's Champion)

[Open Era]
1971 Evonne Goolagong, AUS
1974 Chris Evert, USA
1976 Sue Barker, GBR
1977 Mima Jausovec, SLO
1978 Virginia Ruzici, ROU
1987 Steffi Graf, GER
1989 Arantxa Sanchez, ESP
1990 Monica Seles, YUG
1997 Iva Majoli, CRO
2003 Justine Henin, BEL
2004 Anastasia Myskina, RUS
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2010 Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2011 Li Na, CHN
NOTE: Ann Haydon-Jones won first career slam at '61 Roland Garros, before Open era began in '68

1997 U.S. Open - Venus Williams
1999 U.S. Open - Serena Williams (W)
2004 Wimbledon - Maria Sharapova (W)
2004 U.S. Open - Svetlana Kuznetsova (W)
2007 Roland Garros - Ana Ivanovic
2008 U.S. Open - Jelena Jankovic
2009 U.S. Open - Caroline Wozniacki
2010 Roland Garros - Francesca Schiavone (W)
2010 Roland Garros - Samantha Stosur
2010 Wimbledon - Vera Zvonareva
2011 Australian Open - Li Na
2011 Wimbledon - Petra Kvitova (W)
2012 Australian Open - Victoria Azarenka (W)
2012 Roland Garros - Sara Errani
2012 Wimbledon - Agnieszka Radwanska
2013 Wimbledon - Sabine Lisicki
2014 Australian Open - Dominika Cibulkova

2003 Nadia Petrova
2004 Elena Dementieva (RU), Anastasia Myskina (W)
2005 Elena Likhovtseva, Nadia Petrova
2006 Svetlana Kuznetsova (RU)
2007 Maria Sharapova
2008 Svetlana Kuznetsova, Dinara Safina (RU)
2009 Svetlana Kuznetsova (W), Dinara Safina (RU)
2010 Elena Dementieva
2011 Maria Sharapova
2012 Maria Sharapova (W)
2013 Maria Sharapova (RU)

2011 RG: Li Na, CHN
2011 WI: Petra Kvitova, CZE
2011 US: Samantha Stosur, AUS
2012 AO: Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2012 RG: Maria Sharapova, RUS
2012 WI: Serena Williams, USA
2012 US: Serena Williams, USA
2013 AO: Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2013 RG: Serena Williams, USA
2013 WI: Marion Bartoli, FRA
2013 US: Serena Williams, USA
2014 AO: Li Na, CHN

[AO-RG-WI-US, years]
Margaret Smith Court [11-5-3-5, 1960-73]
Roy Emerson [6-2-2-2, 1961-67]
Chris Evert [2-7-3-6, 1974-86]
Steffi Graf [4-6-7-5, 1987-99]
Rod Laver [3-2-4-2, 1960-69]
Martina Navratilova [3-2-9-4, 1978-90]
Serena Williams [5-2-5-5, 1999-13]
ACTIVE, NEEDS 2nd RG TITLE: Roger Federer [4-1-7-5, 2003-12]
ACTIVE, NEEDS 2nd AO TITLE: Rafael Nadal [1-8-2-2, 2005-13]

4...Serena Williams (2 at 30, 2 at 31)
3...Martina Navratilova (2 at 30, 1 at 33)
3...Margaret Court (2 at 30, 1 at 31)
2...Billie Jean King (30 & 31)
2...Chris Evert (30 & 31)
1...Li Na (31)
1...Virginia Wade (31)
1...Ann Haydon Jones (30)

1969 Margaret Court
1970 Margaret Court
1973 Margaret Court
1988 Steffi Graf
1991 Monica Seles
1992 Monica Seles
2001 Jennifer Capriati

AO (4): 1969,1970,1974,1993
RG (1): 1992
WI (10): 1973,1976,1978,1979,1988,1992,1995,2003,2006,2009
US (1): 1975

94...Steffi Graf
85...Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
80...Conchita Martinez
78...Chris Evert
62...Martina Navratilova
62...Monica Seles
73...Guillermo Vilas
67...Andre Agassi
67...Nicola Pietrangeli
65...Ivan Lendl

56...Guillermo Vilas
53...Ivan Lendl
51...Andre Agassi
49...Bjorn Borg

#1 S.Williams d. Knapp
#7 Sharapova d. #19 Stosur
#14 Suarez-Navarro d. #3 A.Radwanska
Cetkovska d. #18 Bouchard
#11 Ivanovic d. #27 Kuznetsova
#4 Halep d. Cepelova
#10 Errani d. #6 Jankovic
#2 Li d. #24 Pavlyuchenkova

...Maria hopes against hope.

#1 S.Williams d. #7 Sharapova
#14 Suarez-Navarro d. Cetkovska
#4 Halep d. #11 Ivanovic
#10 Errani d. #2 Li

...but still ends up playing the insect to Serena's windshield.

#1 S.Williams d. #14 Suarez-Navarro
#4 Halep d. #10 Errani sweet, fresh grand slam meat...

#1 S.Williams d. #4 Halep

...for Serena to add to her freezer of career memories. I mean, thinking a healthy Serena won't win this title is like thinking you might walk into a Wal-Mart and find a U.S. President perusing the shelves.

Hey, now hold on.

#1 Nadal d. #21 Almagro
#11 Dimitrov d. #5 Ferrer
#3 Wawrinka d. #14 Fognini
#12 Gasquet d. #7 Murray
#6 Berdych d. #12 Robredo
#4 Federer d. #15 Youzhny
#8 Raonic d. #9 Nishikori (ret.)
#2 Djokovic d. #13 Tsonga

#1 Nadal d. #11 Dimitrov
#3 Wawrinka d. #12 Gasquet
#4 Federer d. #6 Berdych
#2 Djokovic d. #8 Raonic

#1 Nadal d. #3 Wawrinka
#2 Djokovic d. #4 Federer

#1 Nadal d. #2 Djokovic

...until proven otherwise in Paris, not Rome or anywhere else they play clay court events.

I'll include the RG Qualifier Awards on the Week 21 recap.

All for now.


Blogger Diane said...

"It's her quarter and she'll cry if she wants to" almost created a coffee-spitting moment for me.

Alize Lim, we might recall, has already had a "Twitter moment" by taking on 'Pova last year. Cheeky, that one. We'll probably hear some more about that, too.

I hope Cornet sticks around for a while for the entertainment value alone. She's no Bartoli, but she's a good show ("Ze ball's coming back to me now!")

Puig just rolled through Strasbourg like "I do this every day." If she isn't too tired (and she sure doesn't seem tired), she could have a nice run.

Sat May 24, 11:53:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ha! You know, I'd forgotten about all that. Considering Serena's not-very-Sloaney Twitter past, Lim might not want to get into anything like that with her. :)

Speaking of Stephens. So, in Week 21, a North American and a sort-of-North American both win their first tour single titles, but neither have the initials "S.S." Interesting. ;)

Sat May 24, 12:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

The Nishikori ret line is funny cause it's true. He's got Del Potro like durability(or early Djokovic).

I can see about 20 different people in the final 4, but will go with S.Williams, Cornet, Halep and Jankovic.

Sat May 24, 02:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

That'd be a fun F4. Seriously, Cornet and JJ -- it might be a race to see who'd spin away first! And I won't even mention how crazy a final it'd be if they were BOTH in it. ;)

BTW, accidentally labeled Keys as a WC in the preview. I was thinking of another Bannerette -- Townsend, of course. Fixed that little typo! :)

Sat May 24, 04:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Day 1 Schedule:

Aga, Fed and both Williams Sisters. Ah, remember when this early Sunday start only lassoed one highly-seeded/big name player, who then groused about having to play so early?

I suspect we might hear something like that from a certain Swiss male. :)

I still don't like the Sunday start, either. Grrr.

Day 1: Sunday, 25 May

Court Philippe Chatrier - 11:00 AM
Women's Singles - Round 1
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [3] vs. Shuai Zhang (CHN)
Men's Singles - Round 1
Lukas Lacko (SVK) vs. Roger Federer (SUI) [4]
Women's Singles - Round 1
Serena Williams (USA) [1] vs. Alize Lim (FRA)
Men's Singles - Round 1
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [13] vs. Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA)

Court Suzanne Lenglen - 11:00 AM
Men's Singles - Round 1
Milos Raonic (CAN) [8] vs. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
Women's Singles - Round 1
Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs. Venus Williams (USA) [29]
Men's Singles - Round 1
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) vs. John Isner (USA) [10]
Women's Singles - Round 1
Katarzyna Piter (POL) vs. Angelique Kerber (GER) [8]

Sat May 24, 04:21:00 PM EDT  

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