Before I get to Roland Garros 2016 day one, let me congratulate Serena Williams on her win last week in Rome, Jiyai Shin for her win last week on the JLPGA and Ai Suzuki for her win this week on the JLPGA. Normally, I would have covered all three but I’ve been really swamped the last 7 to 8 days. But now it’s tennis Major time! Czech mates Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova took disparate routes to first round wins. After an easy breezy first set, Petra found herself in a struggle against 21-year old Montenegrin Danka Kovinic. It took all the fight in Kvitova to escape with a 6-2 4-6 7-5 victory. Meanwhile, Petra’s great friend and countrywoman Lucie Safarova had no trouble with Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko, winning 6-0 6-2. Lucie didn’t need to be spectacular as Vitalia practically gave things away with 7 winners to 27 unforced errors. Safarova is starting to find her game in the nick of time. She was the singles runner-up at Roland Garros last year and won the doubles with Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Lucie also recently won in Prague on clay at the end of April. Serena is the favorite in any tournament she enters, but after her and perhaps Victoria Azarenka, Lucie has as much of a chance as anybody else if she’s healthy.
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10 PETRA KVITOVA d. Danka Kovinic, 6-2 4-6 7-5
11 LUCIE SAFAROVA d. Vitalia Diatchenko, 6-0 6-2
I like Petra because she was close friends with Li Na. I don’t think the clay suits her..really think she is eyeing Wimbledon in a few weeks.
I sometimes get frustrated rooting for Petra. She’s probably my second favorite active player behind Madison Keys. For years I’ve said Petra has the tools to be #1. But I fear as she gets into her late 20s that might never happen. Right now, she is out of the top 10, even if you drop the retired Flavia Pennetta who is still ranked. OK, Petra isn’t #1 or #2 or #3…but there is no reason outside of injury for her to be #12 at 26 years old. I hope eventually she puts together a full season where she shows just how amazing her talent is.