Friday, May 25, 2007

Roland Garros: Women's Singles Draw

by Craig Hickman

Justine Hénin BEL [1] vs. Elena Vesnina RUS
Tamira Paszek AUT vs. Aiko Nakamura JP
Tamarine Tanasugarn THA vs. Casey Dellacqua AUS [WC]
Agnieszka Radwanska POL vs. Mara Santangelo ITA [28]

Sybille Bammer AUT [20] vs. Roberta Vinci ITA
Yaroslava Shvedova RUS vs. Qualifier
Pauline Parmentier FRA [WC] vs. Qualifier
Sandra Klösel GER vs. Na Li CHN [16]

Dinara Safina RUS [10] vs. Yuliana Fedak UKR
Melinda Czink HUN vs. Tzipora Obziler ISR
Qualifier vs. Jie Zheng CHN
Yvonne Meusburger AUT vs. Francesca Schiavone ITA [23]

Séverine Bremond FRA [31] vs. Michaëlla Krajicek NED
Olivia Sanchez FRA [WC] vs. Shenay Perry USA
Milagros Sequera VEN vs. Virginie Razzano FRA
Tszvetana Pironkova BUL vs. Serena Williams USA [8]

Let's cut right to the chase: Two-time defending champion Justine Henin will face Serena Williams in the quarterfinal. Serena claims her lone Paris trophy is, well...lonely, so she's made Roland Garros her No. 1 priority this spring. Too bad a groin strain hampered her preparations, but dismissing Serena is an exercise in self-delusion. All eyes will be on this quarterfinal since their last meeting in Paris was tarnished by Justine's now-infamous hand incident. I don't care how much they claim to have moved on, when they take Court Philippe Chatrier, that incident will be on both of their minds, as well as every single viewer, live and in color. It's hard to bet against Justine on clay. It's even harder to bet against Serena. If this quarterfinal happens, and save a miracle or injury, it will, Serena exacts revenge in Paris.

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Jelena Jankovic SRB [4] vs. Stéphanie Foretz FRA [WC]
Catalina Castaño COL vs. Qualifier
Aleksandra Wozniak CAN vs. Ashley Harkleroad USA
Alizé Cornet FRA [WC] vs. Venus Williams USA [26]

Marion Bartoli FRA [18] vs. Aravane Rezai FRA
Jarmila Gajdosova SVK vs. Qualifier
Mathilde Johansson FRA [WC] vs. Anna-Lena Grönefeld GER
Angelique Kerber GER vs. Elena Dementieva RUS [13]

Nadia Petrova RUS [11] vs. Qualifier
Anastasiya Yakimova BLR vs. Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro FRA [WC]
Nuria Llagostera Vives ESP vs. Anna Smashnova ISR
Akiko Morigami JPN vs. Tathiana Garbin ITA [19]

Samantha Stosur AUS [27] vs. Jamea Jackson USA
Maria Kirilenko RUS vs. Maria Elena Camerin ITA
Qualifier vs. Vania King USA
Emmanuelle Gagliardi SUI vs. Nicole Vaidisova CZE [6]

If losses inspired Big Sis the way they did Lil Sis, then the straight-set drubbing Venus took at the hands of red-hot Aravane Rezai would propel Miss Vee past all comers, even the Serbian Diva, and into the semfinals. But I don't think they do. And Rezai lurks in the same section, provided she can get past her always-dangerous (if unpredictable) compatriot Marion Bartoli in the first round. Never understimate Elena Dementieva in Paris. I'm inclined to say that this is the Serbian Diva's quarter to lose, but she's played an awful lot of tennis of late, and she will be tired. As it is, she claims gastroenteritis forced her to withdraw for her semifnal match in Strasbourg. Former semifinalist Nadia Petrova isn't injured and, despite her recent woes, she loves Paris. This feels like one of the toughest sections to call quite frankly because I don't trust any of the favorites. Eenie, meenie, minie, moe.... The Drama Queen on current form alone.

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Ana Ivanovic SRB [7] vs. Qualifier
Alberta Brianti ITA vs. Sania Mirza IND
Tatiana Poutchek BLR vs. Youlia Fedossova FRA [WC]
Qualifier vs. Julia Vakulenko UKR [32]

Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP [24] vs. Varvara Lepchenko UZB
Elena Likhovtseva RUS vs. Yung-Jan Chan TPE
Olga Poutchkova RUS vs. Eleni Daniilidou GRE
Jelena Kostanic Tosic CRO vs. Daniela Hantuchova SVK [12]

Shahar Peer ISR [15] vs. Kaia Kanepi EST
Edina Gallovits ROM vs. Vasilisa Bardina RUS
Vera Dushevina RUS vs. Camille Pin FRA
Anastassia Rodionov RUS vs. Katarina Srebotnik SLO [17]

Martina Müller GER [32] vs. Qualifier
Qualifier vs. Tian Tian Sun CHN
Anastasia Myskina RUS vs. Meghann Shaughnessy USA
Ekaterina Bychkova RUS vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS [3]

Defending finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova loves Paris. If she keeps her head on straight, there really aren't a hole lot of challengers on clay for her in this quarter. Medina Garrigues might make some noise, loud enough to derail Ana Ivanovic's hopes to match her best Roland Garros showing to date, but everyone else is a tweety bird. Two first round matches I'd love to see are Jelena Kostanic Tosic against Daniela Hantuchova (this could go 10-8 in the third) and Anastasia Myskina against Meghann Shaughnessy. Elena Likhovtseva, who was supposed to retire last year, is always tough to beat, but I expect age is catching up with her at this point. At the end of the day, this quarter is Sveta's to lose.
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Amélie Mauresmo FRA [5] vs. Laura Granville USA
Caroline Wozniacki DEN vs. Nathalie Dechy FRA
Flavia Pennetta ITA vs. Nicole Pratt AUS
Yulia Beygelzimer UKR vs. Lucie Safarova CZE [25]

Ai Sugiyama JPN [21] vs. Eva Birnerova CZE
Romina Oprandi ITA vs. Meilen Tu USA
Anne Kremer LUX vs. Qualifier
Alicia Molik AUS vs. Anna Chakvetadze RUS [9]

Patty Schnyder SUI [14] vs. Martina Sucha SVK
Kateryna Bondarenko UKR vs. Zuzana Ondraskova CZE
Karin Knapp ITA vs. Victoria Azarenka BLR
Iveta Benesova CZE vs. Alona Bondarenko UKR [22]

Gisela Dulko ARG [29] vs. Qualifier
Julia Schruff GER vs. Qualifier
Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP vs. Jill Craybas USA
Emilie Loit FRA vs. Maria Sharapova RUS [2]

In short, Maria Sharapova, who can lose quite realistically in the first round, ain't taking her quarter. But who is? Patty Schnyder is injured and bug-ridden, Amélie Mauresmo doesn't have the mind to achieve in Paris, and all the other seeds in this quarter are lightweights. And that's putting it nicely. If Schnyder isn't up to it, the only thing interesting about this quarter is that the Bondarenko sisters, both of whom have notched some decent wins this spring, might actually face each other in the third round. If the eldest can get past Victoria Azarenka. Only because I like her, only because I want someone from France to make the final weekend, I'll pick Amélie to finally breakthrough on home soil.

7 comments:

Vlad said...

I have to say I expected that prediction of possible Serena - Justine match.. well not in my eyes. It is fair to say that I will be Venus' biggest fan when she possibly faces Jankovic in 3rd round.. I trully think Jelena is by far the biggest threat in Justine's half of the draw. And for matchup sake, i wish Venus reaches semis and faces Justine,it's been too long when those 2 played each other.

Craig Hickman said...

Vlad, are you suggesting Serena will not make the quarterfinals?

oddman said...

Amelie can win it all. Allez, ma cherie!

Craig Hickman said...

Boy, oddman, I wouldn't mind see that.

vlad said...

I think she will make quarters but will fall to Justine.

Craig Hickman said...

Oh, now I understand. Got it.

I just want to see that match.

Craig Hickman said...

Actually, I'll give Justine the first set, just like before...