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
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
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.
Sorana Cirstea Makes Winning Start To French Open After Seeking Help From Djokovic’s Coach
The Grand Slam winning mentor was seen in the crowd watching Cirstea play her first round match in Paris.
Heading into her 14th French Open main draw Sorona Cristea decided to take a shot and ask for advice from one former Grand Slam champion.
The 32-year-old Romanian has endured a mixed results on the clay this year with a run to the semifinals of the Istanbul Open followed by three straight first round losses on the Tour. It has been a frustrating past few weeks for the Tour veteran who is currently ranked 27th in the world. Just six spots below her career-high.
Seeking further guidance for her French Open bid, Cirstea approached Goran Ivanisevic for help. The former Wimbledon champion who now works as coach of the men’s world No.1 Novak Djokovic. To her delight, he agreed to give her some pointers.
“He came to one of my practices two days ago. Basically, I just asked for his help and I was lucky enough to get an hour of his time,” Cirstea told reporters.
“I talked with him a little bit about what’s going through my head and just tennis. It was a very, very pleasant hour.”
Ivanisevic was seen courtside watching Cirstea play her first round match at Roland Garros on Sunday morning. The 26th seed defeated Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-3, in just over an hour. Hitting a total of 34 winners against 26 unforced errors.
“I was very surprised to see him because I know he’s very busy with Novak,” she continued. “He was very, very kind to be there and I was happy to see him there.’
“He’s just been giving me a few tips and tricks from a Grand Slam champion, and as a coach of No. 1, and someone that has so much experience. I’m very grateful and very lucky to have the chance to spend that hour on court with him.”
This year’s French Open is the 53rd Grand Slam Cirstea has played in. She has reached six WTA finals, winning the 2008 Tashkent Open and 2021 Istanbul Open. Against top 10 players she has recorded a total of 16 wins to date.
Reflecting on her development as a player, the Romanian believes a change in perspective has enabled her to enjoy more success on the Tour in recent years. Cristea has been continuously ranked in the world’s top 100 since September 2019.
“When I was younger, I was taking the losses a bit much, they were hurting a bit too much, where now I am much more relaxed, much more at peace,” she explains.
“You cannot change what happened last week, so why bother? Try to learn and then just go forward with the positive mindset.”
Cirstea will play Sloane Stephens in the second round of Roland Garros. Stephens, who is unseeded in the draw, battled back from a set down to defeat Germany’s Jule Niemeier 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery
The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.
Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’
Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.
“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,” she added.
The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.
A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.
Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.
The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina Announces Pregnancy
Tennis’ power couple are set to become parents later this year.
Former world No.3 Elina Svitoliva has announced that she is expecting a baby girl in October on social media.
The 27-year-old made the announcement on Sunday morning with a picture of her and her husband, French tennis star Gael Monfils. Known by some as the sports ‘power couple,’ the two tied the knot last July in Geneva ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games after first going public about their relationship in 2019. They even have their own Instagram account called ‘g.e.m.s. life’ which has more than 139,000 followers.
“With a heart full of love and happiness, we are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby girl in October,” the couple wrote on Twitter.
Svitolina hadn’t played on the Tour since losing to Heather Watson at the Miami Open in March after deciding to take time away from the sport due to events happening in her home country. Russia launched a military operation against Ukraine earlier this year which has claimed thousands of lives. Svitolina is one of the sport’s most outspoken players regarding the conflict. She has previously spoken out against the decision to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes from Wimbledon by arguing that they should be allowed to participate if they condemn the actions of their home countries.
“We don’t want them banned completely,” Svitolina told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.
“If players don’t speak out against the Russian government then it is the right thing to ban them.”
Prior to announcing her pregnancy, Svitolina has achieved a win-loss record of 5-8 on the Tour this season with her best runs being to the third round of the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of a WTA event in Monterrey.
During her career, the Ukrainian has won 16 WTA titles and reached the semi-finals of two Grand Slams during 2019.
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