Roland Garros Day 10: Quarter Finals Begin

Ten days have past and we now reach the business part of the tournament. The quarter finalist have been chosen, the field is getting smaller and the competition is getting tougher. Tennis fans are in for a treat today with three quarter final matches and a fourth round match which will conclude today.

The Conclusion Of Murray Vs Troicki

The match stands at two sets all at 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-2. The deciding set will be played today which will determine the final quarterfinalist of the mens draw. Murray has fought a spectacular comeback against the number fifteenth seed Troicki. Andy has played through the right ankle injury which prevented him to play his best tennis and in turn, losing the first two sets. Troicki lead a break in the third set which saw the likelihood of Murray’s departure more likely than ever. However, he fought through and found himself playing the shots he’s renowned for. He equaled the match at two sets all when the match was suspended. The two men would have to wait another day to continue there match.

Ankle injury seems to be taking it's toll

Troicki fighting for his first quarter final.

Murray should win this match due to the extra confidence of winning those last two sets and extra recovery time for his ankle.

Murray digs deep.

Judging on the past few days, it seems delayed matches have been a current trend. It started off with Djokovic Vs Del Potro, then we had Monfils Vs Ferrer and now we have Murray Vs Troicki. The question is, should scheduling be fixed to assure all matches finish before dark? With the exception of the Isner Vs Mahut which was something else. Also maybe Roland Garros should actually apply light in the stadium so matches can finish at night.

Federer Vs Monfils

The match which will determine the semi final opponent of Novak Djokovic. Federer comes in this match after playing a great first week and still yet to drop a set. Monfils comes in after winning a marathon match the day before against David Ferrer. Federer has the advantage physically and mentally in this match, even with a victory against Monfils in the French open in 2008 and 2009. The crowd will be behind Monfils today, however I believe they’ll show respect towards Federer in this match.

Effortless tennis by Federer.

The crowd all on their feet for Monfils.

I predict Federer in straight sets once again, though i’ll support Monfils. Federer will be a tough match up for Djokovic, especially with Djokovic fighting for equalling history.

Schiavone Vs Pavlyuchenkova

Pavlyuchenkova has finally made her breakthrough in a grand slam after shocking number 3 seed Vera Zvonereva in the previous round. The teenager faces the veteran Schiavone who beat Jankovic in the thrilling sets. Both women will fight for each point and attempt to out hit the other. Schiavone is likely to have the edge due to her grand slam experience, her current form and the possible support she’ll have from the crowd. I predict Schiavone in two sets.

Schiavone celebrates victory against Jankovic.

Kuznetsova Vs Bartoli

Many bets have predicted a Wozniacki and Stosur quarter. However, these two have taken advantage of their upsets. Bartoli has been a crowd favourite in the tournament. The question is, how does she use this support today against her opponent. Kuznetsova will be facing off against Bartoli with the confidence of winning the tournament in 2009. Although the crowd will be behind Bartoli, my prediction is that Kuznetsova will make quick work with the French woman in two sets and set up a possible encounter with Schiavone.

Marion Bartoli is the last french woman left in the french open.

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A Look At The First Week Of Roland Garros 2011

There’s nothing more exciting than the first week of a grand slam. For me, this is mainly due to the busy schedule and the amount of matches that are available during the day. The first week of this year French open has been entertaining and yet surprising. The bets placed on players have now been questioned, particularly in the women’s draw. We’ve seen the top two seeds and last year’s runner up in the women’s field defeated. We’ve also seen the king of clay Rafael Nadal struggle to win his matches. The second week will be the business part of the tournament and it will sort out the champions from the tennis players. Before that happens, let’s look back at the memorable moments of the first week.

In the women’s draw, there have been some stunning upsets and some new stars born. I would like to go back to the very first match between Razzano and Gajdosova. This was a very sentimental match as both women have lost their husbands in the past few weeks. Jarmila Gajdosova divorced her husband weeks before the tournament and Virginie Razzano sadly lost her husband to a brain tumor. It’s unfortunate that these two had to meet each other in the first round but I would like to congratulate both women, particularly Razzano on coming back after losing so much.

Virginie Razzano bravely returns after the death of her husband.

Another memorable moment was the match between Lisicki and Zvonareva. Lisicki, a former Wimbledon quarter finalist, is returning from injury and a slump in her ranking and has given the world number three a run for her money. In this match, Lisicki has impressed and shown the potential of what she can bring to the game. It was a close and it was a long match. In the end Vera clinched the match after coming back match point at 5-2 down in the third set. A devastated Lisicki had to be taken off the court on a stretcher due to injury. I hope in the future that Lisicki can get fitter so she can really perform to her ability.

Zvonereva defeats a devastated Lisicki.

We’ve also seen a number of upsets in the women’s draw. Sharapova and Zvonareva were lucky to find themselves coming back to win their tough second round matches. However, Clijsters, Stosur and Wozniacki weren’t so lucky. Clijsters had a convincing lead in her match against Arantxa Rus, but she failed to maintain the lead and ended up losing the match. Meanwhile, the 2010 runner up Sammantha Stosur started off on a bad note by losing the first set. She looked like she was coming back after a quick second set win and an early break in the third set. Dulko continued to play consistently as Stosur began to play numerous unforced errors which in the end cost her the match and possibly, her place in the top 10.

Clijsters digs deep but loses her second round match.

Finally, we’ve seen the world number one Caroline Wozniacki demolished by Daniela Hantuchova. This is an upset that many didn’t see coming. Hantuchova in the past has a history of blowing big leads, but today she kept her level and kept her calm when it really mattered to achieve her equal best place in the tournament. All these upsets have caused the draw to be more open than it was before. This year we could see someone unexpected to win the whole thing, just like Schiavone last year. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the womens field in the next week.

Hantuchova celebrate victory.

We now move to the men’s draw where it’s been more consistent with the top players. We’ve still seen upsets from Berdych, Melzer and Tsonga in the early rounds, but the main competition and threats still remain in play.

Federer has been an underrated pick to win this year. With the focus now on Rafa and Novak, we now see Roger playing under the radar for once. Roger is now into the fourth round without dropping a single set. Nadal on the other hand had an unfortunate first round match up with John Isner. The match required him to fight hard as he faced defeat two sets to one down. In the end, he was able to claim victory over marathon man and big server John Isner. The second round match up was against compatriot Pablo Andujar who has taken fans by surprise by challenging Nadal on his dominant surface. He had great energy and self belief and has now made my list of favourite tennis players. Nadal has progressed now to the third round where he will meet Croatian Antonio Veic who knocked out Nickolay Davydenko in five sets. With the tough competition ahead in his draw, Nadal has to recover his form quickly to what we all expect from him for him to win the tournament.

Nadal celebrates a hard earned win.

Andy Murray has also been an underrated force in this tournament. Despite not being as strong on clay as his other three competitors, his draw has completely opened up with the defeat of number eight seed Jurgen Melzer. Murray will surely make the semis unless he plays terribly. He may not win the championship but he’ll be progressing far into the second week.

Finally, the red hot favourite player of the season and the big favourite to win is Novak Djokovic. Novak is coming in with a huge streak (not sure the exact number as every source tells something different). He’s coming in with a victory against Nadal on clay, which is reasonable for him to be picked as the favourite. But today, Djokovic now faces his biggest challenge in his third match encounter. Argentinean player Juan Martin Del Potro is his biggest threat to making the finals and ending his streak. The match currently stands at 6-3 3-6 and will continue later today. Whoever wins in my opinion will be in the final and likely to win the whole thing as well. For now, the epic battle will continue on court Suzanne Lenglen today.

Thumbs up from Djokovic.

The man who may end it all.

This concludes my look at the first week of Roland Garros. It’s been a really entertaining week and definitely worthwhile for me staying up in the cold to watch the matches. Tomorrow I will make a new analysis with some revised predictions on who will be the winners of the 2011 French open so be sure to follow my twitter account and subscribe to my blog. For now, enjoy the tennis and good luck to the players.

French Open Womens Draw Analysis

Unlike the mens draw, the womens seem more unpredictable. There always seems to be a surprise in each grand slam.

Stosur and Schiavone return one year later after their grand slam breakthroughs, can they match the result they achieved last year? Wozniacki comes in as number one but still without a grand slam. Sharapova comes back with a win in Rome, can she bring home her first grand slam since her injury. Clijsters returns to Roland Garros since 2006 but this time with an injury. There’s many stories to be told in the womens draw so lets predict who will win this years french open.

Quarter 1: Wozniacki

Wozniacki faces a possibly difficult opener against Kimiko Date Krumm. Her biggest threats to the quarter final are Daniela Hantuchova, Aravane Rezai and 2009 french open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. Wozniacki Vs Kuznetsova can go either way, but really depends on how Kuznetsova is on the day. Samantha Stosur is on the other half of the quarters with some great players in her section. However none of them seem to be good enough to challenge Sam to the quarters.

Prediction: Kuznetsova Vs Stosur

Quarter 2: Zvonareva

Zvonareva has been a surprise package in the past year reaching great results in the last three grand slams. She faces a tough match against Sabine Lisicki in the second round and Nadia Petrova in the third. Despite this, Zvonareva seems to be a shoe in for the quarters, provided she plays well. The bottom section contains last years champion Francesca Schiavone. There doesn’t seem to be much players that will be able to challenge her until the fourth round when she could either meet Flavia Pennetta or Jelena Jankovic. This could go either way but I still believe Schiavones fight will bring her through.

Prediction: Zvonareva Vs Schiavone

Quarter 3: Azarenka

Azarenka comes into this tournament in great form and with her highest ranking. Her challenge will come in the fourth round where she could possibly be matched up against 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic. Ivanovic seems to be getting her game back in the past year and even though she faces Makarova (who knocked her out of Australian Open) in the second round, i’m sure she’ll do well in Roland Garros. The top section features Chinas best hope Li Na. The draw wasn’t friendly to her this tournament as she faces Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the first round. Also Patty Schnyder, Dominika Cibulkova and Petra Kvitova are all in her section of the draw which is unfortunate. Li Na has a mountain to climb on her way to the quarters.

Prediction: Azarenka Vs Li Na

Quarter 4: Clijsters

Clijsters comes in this years tournament returning from injury and it could hold her back in this years tournament. Her section contains players such as Andrea Petkovic, Jarmila Gajdosova, Virginie Razzano and Maria Kirilenko. If Clijsters plays well, she will surely go through the quarters. In the other half contains Maria Sharapova. Sharapova comes into this years french open in the best form since her return from injury. Her toughest competition on the way to the quarters are Yanina Wickmayer and Agnieszka Radwanska. If Sharapova continues her dominant and aggressive style, she’ll be unstoppable.

Prediction: Clijsters Vs Sharapova

Quarter Finals:

(Winner in bold)

Kuznetsova Vs Stosur

Zvonareva Vs Schiavone

Azarenka Vs Li Na

Clijsters Vs Sharapova

Semi Finals:

Stosur Vs Schiavone

Azarenka Vs Sharapova

Final:

Schiavone Vs Azarenka