Roland Garros: The Womens Semi Finals

128 women, 5 rounds of tennis matches and we now have our final four. Despite the upsets of some favourites, in my opinion, we have a solid and impressive field of semi finalists. Who will win?

Li Na Vs Maria Sharapova

  • Head To Head: Sharapova Leads 5-2
  • Last Meeting: 2010 Birmingham Final, Li wins 7-5 6-1
  • Last Clay Meeting: 2009 French Open 4th Round, Sharapova wins 6-4 0-6 6-4

This will be an interesting match up because not only are both women tough and formidable opponents, but this is the first time the two verse since Li Na’s coach has left without notification and moved on to coach Maria Sharapova. A bit of drama we have here but this match is really unpredictable. Sharapova may have the advantage as she recently won in Rome which is her biggest clay title of her career. Li Na comes in after overcoming what was thought to be a tough draw with Zahlavova Strycova, Kvitova and Azarenka.

Prediction: Li Na in 3 sets.

I don’t know why, but i’m going with who I actually think will win. Head to head favours Sharapova but Li Na has improved since then. But i’m also just as likely to be proved wrong.

Marion Bartoli Vs Francesca Schiavone

  • Head To Head: Schiavone leads 5-1
  • Last Meeting: Wimbledon 2009 3rd Round, Schiavone wins 7-6(5) 6-0
  • Last Clay Meeting: Never

Marion Bartoli comes in the semi finals with a big win against 2009 French open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova. Bartoli has had a fairytale run in her home grand slam and hopes to continue into the finals. She faces another French Open winner in Francesca Schiavone. Schiavone comes in as the favourite to win this match. She’s overcome tough matches from Jelena Jankovic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and will be sure to fight once more today.

Prediction: Schiavone in straight sets.

The odds favour Schiavone as well as the experience. However Bartoli has proved me wrong by beating a grand slam winner in the quarter finals and may prove me wrong again. I see Schiavone though being too strong for the french woman.

Betting Odds

  1. Maria Sharapova 11/10
  2. Francesca Schiavone 3
  3. Li Na 10/3
  4. Marion Bartoli 7

Good Luck to all women today. They’ve all played consistently to get this far in the tournament. In the end there will only be one winner so let the best woman win.

 

 

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French Open Women’s Analysis: One Week Later

The womens draw has been far from boring. There are surprises from all areas in the draw. It’s started off with the absence of the Williams sisters and followed by a string of surprising upsets. As we go into the final week of the tournament, let’s see which of the final sixteen women will take home the second grand slam of the year.

Quarter 1:

Previous prediction: Kuznetsova Vs Stosur

I was obviously wrong here. I was so sure Stosur would get this far into the tournament. The remaining players left in this draw are Daniela Hantuchova, Svetlana Kuznetova, Marion Bartoli and Gisela Dulko. After winning the French open two years ago, Svetlana seems sure to win this quarter. However, her next opponent Daniela Hantuchova is coming in with sky high confidence and playing amazing tennis after ousting the world number one Caroline Wozniacki. Whether she can maintain this performance is what we’ll find out today. Home favourite Bartoli is the only French woman left in the draw and has also dug deep to get past her previous match against rising star Julia Goerges. She faces Gisela Dulko who defeated last years runner up Sammantha Stosur in three sets. This match could go either way, but as much as my support goes for Dulko, I’m seeing Bartoli sailing into the quarters.

Kuznetsova Vs Bartoli

The French crowd will really be behind Bartoli. But Kuznetsova seems more superior in these grand slam situations.

Semi Finalist: Kuznetsova

Quarter 2: 

Previous Prediction: Zvonereva Vs Schiavone

My two picks for this quarter are still alive and so are their main competitors. World number three Vera Zvonereva will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the fourth round. Zvonereva comes into this next match with a victory against Pavlyuchenova on clay this year as well as her grand slam experience. Francesca Schiavone will face Jelena Jankovic in what promises to be a hard fought match between these two fighters. Both women have the game and the experience to claim victory. Jankovic has won their last three encounters with last being on clay. Although the stats favour the Serb, my pick for this match is Schiavone, which is based purely on her improvement and her current form since those previous matches.

Zvonereva Vs Schiavone

This is another interesting math up for Schiavone. Zvonareva has won all their previous encounters, which is why my decision is pretty controversial. I believe Schiavone will come through in a tough match. But as I write this Zvonereva just lost. xD

Semi Finalist: Schiavone

Quarter 3:

Previous: Azarenka Vs Li Na

My prediction is still possible but the only thing stopping this is Petra Kvitova. Kvitova is coming in with a huge rise in the rankings in the past year. She faces Australian open finalist Li Na who has played very solid tennis so far. This match could go either way. Azarenka is facing a surprising opponent Ekaterina Makarova who defeated 16th seed Kaia Kanepi in the previous round.

Azarenka Vs Li Na

Azarenka should take this one out because of her current for, but Li Na will be challenging her during every shot of the match.

Semi Finalist: Azarenka

Quarter 4:

Previous: Clijsters Vs Sharapova

Early round upsets has been common in the past grand slams, but the upset of Clijsters was really unexpected. Sharapova faces the polish player Agnieszka Radwanska who will take her every inch of the courts surface. On the other match, we have rising star Andrea Petkovic taking on Maria Kirilenko. Kirilenko has taken advantage of Clijsters upset and now finds herself into the fourth round. This will be the battle of the groundstrokes, but I believe we’ll be seeing the Petko dance at the end of this.

Sharapova Vs Petkovic

Petkovic defeated Sharapova in Australian Open but Sharapova got revenge in Miami. It’s difficult to predict, but I’ll stick by Sharapova.

Semi Finalist: Sharapova

Semi Finals:

Kuznetsuva Vs Schiavone

This is a replay of the epic match which took place in Australia, which went for four hours and ended at 16-14 with victory for Schiavone. Hopefully we have a replay here, but both women will ensure that doesn’t happen. It’s hard to predict as they’re the last two winners. My pick is on who I think will play better on the day.

Winner: Schaivone

Azarenka Vs Sharapova

Prepare your earplugs! This promises to be a loud one. I’m looking forward to this. It’ll be Azarenka’s first semi and Sharapova’s first since the injury. I would think Azarenka but Sharapova has recently defeated her on clay. For now, this one’s a lottery pick.

Winner: Azarenka

Grand Final

Schiavone Vs Azarenka

I still stand by my first prediction, though Kuznetsuva and Sharapova could be here instead. I reckon Schiavone will have that extra edge over Azarenka as she’s already won a grand slam.

Champion: Schiavone

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.