2011 French Open Preview
On the Baseline Tennis News
May 21, 2011
As far as Grand Slams go, the 2011 French Open certainly isn’t the first one in recent years to have a wide-open women’s draw. I guess you can call it the “new normal” for the WTA. In some ways, an open draw can add to the excitement of a Grand Slam, especially in the first week of the tournament. But when the competition heats up, even in a wide open draw, the cream usually rises to the top.
Let the 2011 French Open analysis and predictions begin…
Maiden Grand Slam Contenders
Wozniacki, Stosur, Petkovic, Goerges, Azarenka, Jankovic, Zvonareva, Li Na, and Kvitova.
Former French Open Champions in the Draw
Schiavone, Kuznetsova, and Ivanovic
Other seeded players in this section: Stosur, Bartoli, Kuznetsova, Peer, Goerges, Hantuchova, and Pironkova.
In the first quarter of the draw, No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki takes on Kimiko Date-Krumm in the first round (H2H 1-0). Despite a slight leg injury coming off her final match in Brussels, Wozniacki is in good form, and is seeking her first Grand Slam title. Having endured constant criticism for being a slam-less No. 1 since taking the crown in November, 2010, Wozniacki has shown that she can slide on clay with the best of them. She has reached three clay-court finals this year (Charleston (W), Stuttgart (L), and Brussels (W)), as well as the semis in Rome. Playing in the final in Brussels could sap her energy heading into the French Open, but she doesn’t seem to tire that easily. Wozniacki will likely advance through the early rounds, but could face No. 17 seed Julia Goerges in the quarterfinals (H2H 2-2). Goerges has two solid match wins against Wozniacki under her belt (Stuttgart (F) and Madrid (R16)), but has been out of competition for the past few weeks with a minor lower back injury. Goerges plays her first round against France’s Mathilde Johansson, a first meeting for the two.
No. 8 seed Sam Stosur, a 2010 runner up at Roland Garros, could face Goerges in the round of 16 (H2H 0-2). Stosur, who has been struggling a bit with her game (and surprisingly, on clay), lost to Goerges in the semis in Stuttgart. I wouldn’t count Stosur out of the French Open final, but she’d have to get past Wozniacki in the quarterfinals to prove that she can go the distance.
Bartoli, the French favorite to win, could face Goerges in the third round. She has one win against Goerges, but on grass (Wimbledon 2010). With Bartoli’s recent retirement in the Strasbourg final due to a left thigh injury, her chances at Roland Garros could be in doubt. Svetlana Kuznetsova (2009 French Open champion) would likely face Wozniacki in the round of 16 (H2H 2-4), if she can get past Peer in the third round (H2H 4-4). Kuznetsova and Wozniacki have never met on clay.
Other seeded players in this section: Schiavone, Jankovic, Pennetta, Petrova, Kleybanova, and Pavlyuchenkova.
In the second quarter of the draw, No. 3 seed Vera Zvonareva has good potential to reach the semifinals, where she could face Wozniacki (H2H 4-4).
No. 5 seed and defending champ, Francesca Schiavone is the second highest seed in this section of the draw. With her 31st birthday just a month away, age is an undeniable factor, but confidence could play a big role in Schiavone’s success. She will likely need to get past Mattek-Sands in the round of 16 (H2H 0-1) and Zvonareva in the quarterfinals (H2H 0-10). Schiavone takes on Melanie Oudin in the first round (H2H 2-1), who is currently ranked at No. 89. Jelena Jankovic, who’s had less-than-stellar results on clay this season, could face Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the third round (H2H 1-2). Zvonareva faces Lourdes Dominguez Lino in her opening round.
Other seeded players in this section: Li Na, Kvitova, Kanepi, Ivanovic, Cibulkova, Dulgheru, and Vinci.
In the bottom half of the draw, (third quarter), No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka takes on Andrea Hlavackova in the first round (H2H 1-0). Azarenka has had her fair share of injuries in recent months, and can be prone to retirements. Recent MRI results on her wrist were negative, and fortunately, was given the ok to play the French Open. When Azarenka is fit to play and mentally focused, she is virtually unstoppable. Azarenka could face No. 9 seed Kvitova in the quarterfinals (H2H 2-2), unless No. 6 seed Li Na defeats Kvitova in the round of 16 (H2H 0-1). Both Azarenka and Li Na will be looking to avenge their loss to Kvitova in Madrid.
2008 French Open champ and No. 20 seed, Ana Ivanovic is a big question mark heading into the French Open, having battled multiple injuries — most recently, her left wrist. If she can play through injury and win the pressure points, Ivanovic could go deep. She faces Johanna Larsson her opening round.
Other seeded players in this section: Sharapova, Radwanska, Petkovic, Wickmayer, Gajdosova , Kirilenko, and Zakopalova.
In the fourth quarter of the draw, No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters faces Anastasiya Yakimova in her opening round. Some say Kim Clijsters isn’t ready to return to tennis after being sidelined with an ankle injury, but she says she’s ready. Clijsters, who has won the 2010 US Open and 2011 Australian Open, hasn’t played the French Open since 2006, and has never won the title. She made it to the final in 2001 (losing to Capriati) & 2003 (losing to Henin). She also hasn’t played any clay court warm-up tournaments leading into the French Open. Clijsters could face No. 15 seed Andrea Petkovic in the round of 16 (H2H 1-0), followed by a clash with No. 7 seed Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals (H2H 5-3). The two have never met on clay before, which, could give Sharapova the edge, given her recent form, and coming off a clay-court title against Stosur in Rome. Sharapova, who is looking to win her first French Open title, plays Mirjana Lucic in her opening round—a first meeting for the two.
Jarmila Gajdosova, Andrea Petkovic, Shuai Peng
Wozniacki, Goerges, Zvonareva, Schiavone, Kvitova, Azarenka, Sharapova, Clijsters
Clijsters, Kvitova, Wozniacki, Zvonarava
Clijsters vs. Wozniacki