It’s time for the second Major (Slam) of the tennis year. Roland Garros (French Open) had an historic champion last year in China’s Li Na. Who will make history of their own this year? Looking at the four quarters of the draw (Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska on the left and Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova on the right), here are my thoughts.
Top left in the Victoria Azarenka quarter, she looks to have the easiest draw on paper. Unless she twists her ankle walking to the court, I don’t see a challenge for her until a possible quarterfinal against Samantha Stosur. Of course, that’s just on paper. I’m sure a player like Sabine Lisicki would love to take out the top seed.
In the Agnieszka Radwanska quarter on the bottom left, Marion Bartoli, Ana Ivanovic and Angelique Kerber are all lurking to challenge Aga. But that’s only if Aga advances. She has a potential second round match against Venus Williams if they both win their opening matches. Radwanska has her work cut out for her if she wants another shot at Vika in the semis.
I think the Petra Kvitova draw, top right, is an open quarter. That’s where the defending champion Li Na is and I think she has a good chance to make the semis. Petra hasn’t been that great so far this year. Jelena Jankovic and Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 winner and a finalist last year, are in that quarter but Li Na has been easily playing better than all of them lately. You never know with Li Na, she is prone to errors and mental lapses at times, so she could easily go out and lay an egg in a match, losing to someone she shouldn’t. However, if she can keep the errors down and not get caught up in all the extra media she will have to deal with this year as defending champion, she has the ability to make the semis.
The Maria Sharapova quarter, bottom right, is the toughest draw. The two hottest players at the moment, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, are in this quarter. In a perfect world, they would be on opposite sides of the draw, only possibly meeting in a final. With all due respect to world #1 Victoria Azarenka, Serena and Masha are not only coming in off big tournament victories, but they are also the two biggest stars in women’s tennis. You want them both in the semis at least. You don’t want one of them picking the other off in a quarter. But this section isn’t just about them. Caroline Wozniacki is lurking as well. Caroline beat Serena in Miami and took Serena to three sets in Madrid, so don’t count her out. Julia Goerges is also looming as a possible upset winner. I don’t predict who will win the whole tournament but I can tell you who I hope wins. Two words: Go Masha! By the way, if she does win she will complete the career Grand Slam.