2014 French Open: The draw sets up a possible quarter final clash between Serena and Masha - UBITENNIS
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2014 French Open: The draw sets up a possible quarter final clash between Serena and Masha

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TENNIS 2014 FRENCH OPEN – The Draw for the Women’s singles tournament has put two of the favourites in the same quarter, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Other possible quarter finals are: Radwanska vs Kerber, Kvitova vs Halep and Jankovic vs Li Na. Paul Sassoon

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the 2014 Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal was the man who made the draw and his hand put Maria Sharapova in a collision course with Serena Williams, but not in the semifinals or in the finals, but as early as the quarter finals. Also Radwanska and Kerber are in the top half of the draw. In the bottom half Li Na is the top seed and could face Jankovic in the quarter finals. Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep are the other two seeds that could reach the quarter finals in the bottom half of the draw

Women’s singles draw

First quarter of the draw: S. Williams – Maria Sharapova

Serena and Maria will probably meet in the quarter finals for a clash that is worthy of the final itself. Unfortunately for the organisers Nadal’s draw set them in the same quarter thus taking away the opportunity of seeing the two dominant forces on clay court to meet in the final. Defending champion and world number 1 will make her debut against French Wild Card Alizé Lim. Next on her path she could find two young talents like Muguruza and Bencic in the third round. But there is a chance of seeing a clash with her sister Venus for the first time in a while should the elder Williams sister beat Bencic. On paper Lisicki could be waiting for Serena in the last 16.The German’s biggest threat to get to the second week is Italy’s Roberta Vinci. The path tot he quarter final seems easier (on paper) for the Russian. She will debut against a qualifier, Kanepi will probably be her opponent in the third round and either Cibulkova or Stosur in the last 16.

 

Second quarter of the draw: Radwanska – Kerber

World number 3 Agnieszka Radwanska has a difficult start to the tournament against Zhang who reached the quarter finals in Rome last week. If she can get past this difficult first round she shouldn’t have much trouble to reach the last 16 when she could play against either Alize Cornet or Carla Suarez Navarro. Also the German has a difficult path to the quarter final and could easily be one of the seeds that does not make it to the last 8. After a debut against Piter she could face Pennetta in the last 16 of Eugenie Bouchard, both tough opposition for Angelique Kerber.

 

Third quarter of the draw: Kvitova – Halep

As for the previous quarter discussed, this one sees Kvitova and Halep favoured by their ranking, but they could both fall before the last 8 easily, especially for the Czech. In the last 16 Kvitova could play Ivanovic and the Serb has shown that she is in form reaching the final in Rome last week end. But before a clash with the former French Open Champion, Kvitova will have to get past Kuznetsova and young Italian Camila Giorgi. Ivanovic has Caroline Garcia as the biggest threat to her arriving to the last 16 and it’s also the most interesting first round match on paper. Halep skipped the Rome event so there is some doubt over her form. In the first round she will be immediately tested against Kleybanova, but then the only other threat could come from Sloan Stephens even if the American has not lived up to expectations this year.

 

Fourth quarter of the draw: Jankovic – Li Na

Jelena Jankovic has a simple draw until the last 16 on paper. The Serb’s only threat could come from Sorana Cirstea, but in the last 16 she could meet Sara Errani. The Italian will have to beat Keys on her debut and then Flipkens, but the Belgian does not play her best on clay. The second seed has a difficult draw to get to the clash with either Jankovic or Errani. She will debut against Mladenovic and then in the third round she could face Andrea Petkovic followed by Wozniacki in the last 16. Li Na can beat all of her opponents on paper, but they could test her and cause the Chinese former champion to waste valuable energy along the way.

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Rising Star Mirra Andreeva Teams Up With Wimbledon Champion Martinez

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Mirra Andreeva – Australian Open 2024 (foto: X @WTA)

Teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva has begun working with a former Grand Slam champion on a trial basis ahead of the French Open.

The 16-year-old has linked up with Conchita Martinez, who is overseeing her run at this week’s Rouen Open in France. Martinez peaked at a ranking high of No.2 during her career and won 33 WTA titles. After retiring from the sport, she has coached Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova. 

Andreeva’s latest partnership was formed with the help of her agent ‘two or three weeks ago.’ According to the WTA website, their practice week went well and now they are testing working together during a tournament. 

“So far, so good,” said Andreeva“I like it, I hope she likes it too. We will see how it will go and then we will decide about our next tournaments. I cannot say there are special aspects we are working on. But the first thing we worked on was my slice, because she was a good slicer. So she told me some tricks, and I’m trying to use it when I have time and a good possibility on court.”

Andreeva is currently ranked 43rd in the world and is the youngest player in the top 100. She has already reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open but is yet to win a WTA title. So far this year the Russian’s best result was a quarter-final appearance at the Brisbane International. 

Martinez, who also reached the last 16 of a major at the age of 16, spoke about the teenager with Ubitennis during last year’s Wimbledon Championships. At the time she pointed out that consistency is key for the youngster.

“The most important thing is that she keeps practising and focusing on what she has to do to get better. It’s great what she is doing now but she has to maintain it,” she commented.

Andreeva kicked off her campaign in Rouen with a 6-1, 6-3, win over Nadia Podoroska. 

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Red-Hot Danielle Collins Ready To Take On Red Clay After Charleston Triumph

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Image via https://twitter.com/CharlestonOpen/

Just how good is Danielle Collins?

Right now, she may be as good as anyone on the WTA Tour.

Just think about it. Who’s better?

Winning a seven-round near-major one week on hard courts, then putting together six straight victories the next week on green clay is fairly significant.

Collins didn’t go against a lame duck field in either tournament, especially at the Credit One Charleston Open where she defeated three of the best clay-courters on the tour in Ons Jabeur, Maria Sakkari and Daria Kasatkina, as well as the likes of Sloane Stephens and Paula Badosa. She defeated a Wimbledon champion, Elena Rybakina, on hard courts in the Miami final.

ONLY TWO LOSING SETS IN 28

Collins lost only two of the 28 sets she played in Miami and Charleston.

Of course, second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka and third-ranked Coco Gauff are power players on any surface. But after those two, Collins looks capable of winning anything in sight. It would be interesting to see Collins take on either of those two on Europe’s red clay.

Collins now has played about as brilliantly in these two tournaments as Sabalenka, Gauff or top-ranked Iga Swiatek have played within the last year.

Collins has the type game no one wants to play against right now. She has jumped all the way to 15th in the world after her success at Miami and Charleston.

COLLINS DOMINANT IN FINAL

Against 2017 Charleston winner Kasatkina in Sunday’s final, Collins was dominant in a 6-2, 6-1 victory. The Russian didn’t have the game to match up with Collins’ power. Collins played to win, and wasted few opportunities.

No one on the WTA Tour attacks more aggressively than the 30-year-old Collins. Short balls end up being a “done deal” when Collins moves in on them and smashes forehands, backhands and lobs away. She nails high back-handed returns of lobs to the corners with the same type of precision she connects with high forehand put-aways inside the court. Few players can hit that type of backhand high volley with such power and precision.

 She also plays the baseline as aggressively as anywhere else, and her serve is solid enough to keep her out of early trouble. Few double-faults find her racket.

LOCKED INTO PROCESS

“I think one of my biggest areas of improvement over the course of the last few weeks has been my concentration and focus and really being locked into my process,” Collins said after winning Charleston.

“These women that I’m playing against, they’re the best in the world, and it’s — sometimes things go your way and then sometimes things don’t go your way, and you have to be open to that when those times do happen.

“I’m really looking forward to getting home (Bradenton, Fla.) and getting some time to spend where I don’t think about tennis, and then hopefully when Madrid comes around I am back in ‘Danimal’ mode. Then it’s back to reality. So it’s like spring break for me. I feel like a kid at spring break.”

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Danielle Collins Extends Winning Streak To 12 Matches

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image via https://twitter.com/CharlestonOpen/

Danielle Collins just goes out and wins.

She wastes few shots and is a master of shot placements.

The court surface doesn’t seem to matter. She did it a week ago on hard courts to win the Miami Open. And she is doing it again at the Credit One Charleston Open on clay courts.

Collins has won 12 straight matches and is one win away from a coveted second straight title on the WTA Tour.

She’s unseeded, but keeps winning. She is the last American standing.

In Saturday’s Charleston semifinals, Collins scored a relatively easy 6-3, 6-3 win over third-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece.

KASATKINA STANDS IN COLLINS’ WAY

Just 2017 Charleston champion Daria Kasatkina is standing in the 30-year-old Collins’ way of a second straight tour title.

Oh, yes, Collins is playing her final year on the WTA Tour. She wants to go out a winner badly.

Kasatkina is the fourth seed, and she may already have played a key role in Collins’ drive to another title. Top seed Jessica Pegula appeared to be unbeatable in this Charleston Open until running  into Kasatkina in Saturday’s first semifinal and simply couldn’t close out the Russian when their  match was on the line.

PEGULA’S LOSS BIG SURPRISE

Pegula’s 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) loss to Kasatkina was the biggest surprise of this tournament. Pegula had won the last 12 games of a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kasatkina in 2023 in Tokyo’s Pan Pacific Open.

Very tough match,” the ultra-conservative playing Kasatkina said about Saturday’s long match that ended in a third-set tiebreaker.
“Really happy with my win, with the way how I did it. And, yeah, really happy to be in the finals here again.”

Kasatkina has been impressed by Collins’ outstanding recent play.

“Danielle is, I think, playing the best tennis of her career right now. She’s fearless. When she feels her game, she’s one of the most dangerous players on tour, and she definitely feels it right now,” Kasatkina said.
“So, yeah, it’s going to be very tough battle. And it’s finals. I mean, it’s so nice. I’m so happy to be in the finals, and I think it’s going to be a good one. I think the atmosphere is going to be great because playing an American in the United States, it always brings some extra electricity on court. So, I’m really looking forward to it.”

COLLINS IMPRESSED BY KASATKINA’S PLAY

Collins also has respect for Kasatkina’s style of play.

“We’ve played so many matches against each other over the years and battles. She’s one of my favorite players to watch because she makes these matches so interesting,” Collins said about Kasatkina.

“The way that she plays and her tennis IQ, how creative she is on court is phenomenal. I think against Daria I have to be very flexible. She has just about every tool in her toolbox. She can hit big. She can hit with shape. She can hit slices. She can come into the net. She does everything very, very well. She serves and returns well. She mixes up her pace. She’s just solid all over. And so, it’s going to be a battle, and I have to be ready to play a long, tough match, if that’s what’s needed.

“I’ll have to kind of take a little bit more of a look statistically at some things and some different patterns, but I think the biggest thing is just fighting until the end and being adaptable out there.”

About her win over the usually solid Sakkari, Collins said, “I think my aggressive game style helped me. I had to stick with it. And she was throwing a lot at me and doing a lot of different things.
“So, I had to try to counter that and use my aggressive game style as much as I could.”

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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