2010 FRENCH OPEN WOMEN’S DRAW AND PREDICTIONS
The women’s draw in Paris is denser than Dementieva’s quadriceps. The fact that No. 22 seed and four-time Roland Garros champ, Justine Henin, doesn’t make the list, below, just shows how jammed the women’s tournament is (and moment of silence for two-time finalist, Kim Clijsters, who is out with a foot injury).
Round of 16 by seedings:
Serena Williams (1) – Marion Bartoli (13)
Maria Sharapova (12) – Samantha Stosur (7)
Jelena Jankovic (4) – Yanina Wickmayer (16)
Dinara Safina (9) – Agnieszka Radwanska (8)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (6) – Na Li (11)
Flavia Pennetta (14) – Caroline Wozniacki (3)
Elena Dementieva (5) – Victoria Azarenka (10)
Aravane Rezai (15) – Venus Williams (2)
Forget the Round of 16, some of the top seeds are worrying about their first rounds! Here’s a sampling: Kuznetsova vs. Cirstea, Wozniacki vs Kudryavtseva, Dulko vs. Azarenka, Venus vs. Schnyder.
It will be a miracle if a top seed isn’t ushered out of the first round.
The Major storyline: This is the first time since 2003 that Venus and Serena are going into a Major tournament seeded No. 1 and No. 2. The only time either sister made it to the Roland Garros final was in 2002, when No. 3 seeded Serena beat No. 2 seeded Venus for the title. And we’re calling Federer vs. Nadal deja vu?
Serena this week via the AP:
“People have said we would never be No. 1 and No. 2 in the world again. You look, I don’t know, 10 years later and … we’re still doing the best.”
Big sister Venus on their recent rise to the top (via WTA website):
“Of course, Serena and I being No.1 and No.2 in the world is what we dreamed of growing up. But we each dreamed of being No.1 – neither of us dreamed of No.2. I congratulate Serena on that ranking but I’m aiming to get there myself.“
And yes, it is possible for Venus to take the No. 1 spot from Serena when Roland Garros is over.
TOP QUARTER: Raise a hand at the Tennis Gods
Justine Henin is considered a favorite for the title. The four-time Roland Garros champion is in Serena’s quarter of the draw, and has beaten Serena both times they’ve met at Roland Garros (the Belgian has a 4-1 advantage over Serena on clay, though is 6-8 in the total head-to-head.) As recently as Madrid, Serena seems to be psyching herself up for some French Open revenge against her diminutive rival. I’ll presume to speak for everyone when I say: “Tennis Gods, this quarterfinal MUST happen!”
Look out for: Serena’s main obstacles will be a 3rd round vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and a Rd. of 16 vs. either Peer or Bartoli. Henin has a possible 3rd round vs. Maria Sharapova and a potential Round of 16 battle vs. 2009 semifinalist, Sam Stosur.
Dark horse: Nothing’s going to get in the way of that Henin vs. Serena, right Sam?
SECOND QUARTER: Confidence Games
This is an interesting little section of the draw, packed with former number ones and confidence-challenged comebacks. Jelena Jankovic is the top seed, followed by Agnieszka Radwanska, and former French Open champ Ana Ivanovic and two time bridesmaid, Dinara Safina, are in the mix. Wickmayer, Hantuchova, Zvonareva, Kleybanova and Suarez Navarro are floating around, too. Given current form, this is J.J.’s section to lose.
Look out for: Ivanovic vs. Kleybanova and Suarez Navaro vs. Hantuchova in the 2nd round. A confidence game between Safina and Ivanovic in the 3rd – though Zvonareva might elbow her way in. Everyone wants Ivanovic vs. Jankovic in the quarters, so I’ll go ahead and say it.
Dark horse: It’s more like who isn’t a dark horse in this section.
THIRD QUARTER: Kuznetsova can’t cruise
Last year’s champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova is the second highest seed in this section, after Caroline Wozniacki. Sveta has a tough first round against Sorana Cirstea, a 3rd round vs. Maria Kirilenko and then Li Na or Schiavone in the Round of 16. Given Wozniacki’s recent ankle problems, Lucie Safarova or Flavia Pennetta are more likely quarterfinal opponents.
Look out for: Pennetta vs. Safarova in the 3rd round, Sveta vs. anyone.
Dark horses: With Wozniacki wobbly, her section’s wide open. Look out for this weekend’s Warsaw champ, Alexandra Dulgheru, of Romania.
BOTTOM QUARTER: Expect the unexpected
After Venus, Elena Dementieva is the highest seed in this section. Let’s not underestimate the relief she feels at having Justine Henin way on the other side of the draw. But even without considering Venus, there are two in-form challengers in Madrid champ Aravane Rezai and Italian Open winner, Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez to worry about.
Look out for: Dulko vs. Azarenka and Schnyder vs. Venus in the 1st round. Dementieva vs. Oudin in the 2nd. Rezai vs. Venus – a rematch of last week’s surprising Madrid final – in the third round.
Dark horses: A Martinez Sanchez vs. Rezai quarterfinal is not outside the realm of possibility.