“If I continue like this I have a very good chance here (at Roland Garros).”
No sh*t, Dinara! Safina has a 14-1 record on clay this season and the added confidence of being World No. 1 and last year’s runner up to the now-ailing Ana Ivanovic. Like Rafael Nadal on the men’s side, I had no trouble filling in Safina’s little section of the French Open draw.
The rest gets messy.
It’s going to be a battle to face Dinara in the top quarter, with Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka, and Carla Suarez Navarro all good contenders.
It will be a knock-down, all-out BRAWL to be Safina’s semifinal opponent. I count at least ELEVEN players with a decent chance of making it through the second quarter. Speaking of eleven, Venus Williams is one of the top seeds in this section, as is Vera Zvonareva, who is coming off of a bad ankle injury. Petrova, Alona Bondarenko, Lisicki, Safarova, Dulko, Mauresmo, Li Na, Cibulkova and Szavay are all in the mix. I didn’t even count Maria Sharapova. Sharpen those nails, girls!
The bottom half of the draw is slightly less turbulent, with Jankovic and Dementieva the top seeds in the third quarter (we’ll see what Wozniacki has to say about that) and Serena and Kuznetsova anchoring the bottom. Clay-court mavens Schiavone, Schnyder and Pennetta could cause some trouble in this half, too.
Here’s the breakdown:
WOMEN’S SINGLES DRAW – FRENCH OPEN
Semis by seeding: Safina vs. Venus and Serena vs. Dementieva
Possible Round of 16 matches (by quarter):
Safina vs. Zheng (or Kleybanova)
Azarenka (or Suarez Navarro) vs. Ivanovic (let’s hope)
V. Williams (or Safarova or Lisicki) vs. Mauresmo (or A. Bondarenko, Dulko or Cibulkova)
Petrova (not Sharapova) vs. Zvonareva (or Li Na)
Jankovic vs. Wozniacki (should be a great match!)
Bartoli (or Hantuchova) vs. Dementieva (or Schiavone)
Kuznetsova vs. A. Radwanska (or Schnyder)
Pennetta vs. S. Williams (a tough one to call)
If you read my gut check post, you know I’m craving a Serena vs. Safina final. But the darkhorse-heavy draw (and Serena’s injured leg) aren’t giving me much hope. But for the first time in years, I’m looking forward to the ladies’ early rounds more than the men’s!
Click here for the French Open TV schedule.