French Open 2014: The Breakdown of the Draws - UBITENNIS
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French Open 2014: The Breakdown of the Draws

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TENNIS FRENCH OPEN – The 2014 French Open is finally here! Tennis fans have been waiting with bated breaths because this year’s event, the 47th Championships since the Open Era (1968), promises to be an epic tournament on both the men and women’s sides. Cordell Hackshaw

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

The 2014 French Open is finally here! Tennis fans have been waiting with bated breaths because this year’s event, the 47th Championships since the Open Era (1968), promises to be an epic tournament on both the men and women’s sides. The draws are loaded and they offer many interesting match ups not only in the first rounds but also in the latter stages of the tournament if seeds hold true to form. The defending champions Rafael Nadal of Spain and Serena Williams of the United States are both here and seeded No1. The world’s number ones have not had a stellar clay court season as they did last year, winning multiple titles at the big tour events. However, they are prodigious talents with both the experience and confidence to put themselves deep in the draws despite the shaky season. Nadal is looking for his 9th overall title in his tenth appearance and 5th in a row here in Paris. The Spaniard’s credentials on clay need no introduction as he is far and away, the greatest clay court player ever. Meanwhile, Williams is going for her 3rd title in Paris. She has never defended the title here making it the only major where she has failed to do so at least once. She has done it at Wimbledon twice (2002/2003 and 2009/2010), Australia (2009/2010) and the US Open (2012/2013). The American might not be the “classic clay court player” but since 2012, she has been showing herself to be quite adept on this surface. Nadal and Williams are also trying to further cement their names in the history books with overall major titles. Winning here will give Nadal his 14th title equally Pete Sampras’s effort and tie him for 2nd on the all-time list. Williams wants to equal fellow Americans Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova to be 4th on the list with 18 singles titles.

Interestingly enough, neither Nadal nor Williams is the overwhelming favourite at this major event. There are several players who see themselves holding up the singles’ trophy at the end of the two weeks. Nadal can expect competition from his “arch nemesis” Novak Djokovic (2) in particular, Stanislas Wawrinka (3), Roger Federer (4), David Ferrer (5), Andy Murray (7) as well as several young players like Milos Raonic (8), Kei Nishikori (9) and Grigor Dimitrov (11). Williams has former champions here Na Li (2), Maria Sharapova (7) and Ana Ivanovic (11) along with Agnieszka Radwanska (3), Simona Halep (4) and Petra Kvitova (5) all looking to take this title away from her. The American has to also deal with her own personal demons which have caused her to self-implode most infamously here in Paris in 2012.

With all that being said, THE DRAWS: In an effort to make things simple, the 128-player draw will be divided into halves and then quarters which will be headed by the top seeds of the sections. These are not predictions but merely possible projections. This is tennis after all. The game is won on the court and not on paper.
MEN’S
Men’s Top Half: Nadal (1)/Wawrinka(3)

  • Nadal’s Quarter [1/4]: Nadal is likely to face his countryman Ferrer (5) in the quarterfinals but he must get past another compatriot Nicolas Almagro (21) in the 4th Round. Almagro handed Nadal a rare defeat in Barcelona earlier this year. Ferrer might be up against Dimitrov (11) who will be looking to make a major splash here. Tommy Haas (16), oldest man in the draw at 36 as well as one of the youngest, 20-year-old Dominic Thiem of Austria are ones to watch in this section. Thiem who took out Wawrinka in Madrid could face Nadal in the 2nd round.

  • Wawrinka’s Quarter [2/4]: The 2014 Australian Open champion is looking to be the 1st man since 1992 when Jim Courier did it, to win the first two majors of the year. The Swiss should have a relatively easy time getting to the Round of 16 though Feliciano Lopez (26) might be a bit of a task. Wawrinka could face either Fabio Fognini (14) or homecrowd favourite Gael Monfils (23). Richard Gasquet (12) or Murray (7) could be potential quarterfinals opponent for Wawrinka.

Men Bottom Half: Djokovic (2)/Federer (3)

  • Federer’s Quarter [3/4]: Federer getting to the finals of majors are no longer foregone conclusions. He has not reached the finals of a major since Wimbledon 2012, his last major victory. In fact, he is now struggling to get to the second week of majors. However, this year, Federer has renewed confidence, strength and a new coach in the form of Stefan Edberg. Things have been going rather well though with the birth of a second set of twins, Federer might be distracted as he lost 2nd round in Rome couple of weeks ago. Nonetheless, Federer will very much like a 2nd French title. He has the unpredictable and enigmatic Tomas Berdych (6) as a possible quarterfinal opponent. There is a possible 4th round clash between the Swiss and Ernests Gulbis (18) of Latvia. An interesting bit of side note: John Isner (10) could possibly face Nicolas Mahut in the 2nd round.

  • Djokovic’s Quarter [4/4]: There is no doubt about it that Djokovic wants this title badly and honestly, this is a good year for him to do it. He is the odds on favourite to dethrone Nadal here. His preparations have been excellent and he has beaten Nadal twice this season in emphatic fashion. However, he has a “Swiss problem.” In 2011, the Serbian looked poised to dethrone Nadal as he had beaten him 4 times for the year including twice on clay. Djokovic made it to the semifinals but ran into Federer who handed him his first defeat for the year. Federer is now again in Djokovic’s half. Furthermore, Djokovic has only lost to Swiss players this year; Federer twice and more prominently Wawrinka at this year’s Australian Open. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13) looms in the shadow as a possible Round of 16 foe for Djokovic. There is also a mouthwatering possible Round of 16 match up in this section: Raonic (8) verses Nishikori (9), who is under the tutelage of 1989 French Open champion, Michael Chang. The winner will likely face Djokovic in the quarters.

WOMEN’S DRAW
Women’s Top Half: Williams (1)/Radwanska (3)

  • Williams’ Quarter [1/4]: There will not be a repeat of last year’s final as both Williams and Sharapova (7) are in the same quarter and slated to meet in the quarterfinals. Williams may in the 3rd round face her older sister Venus Williams (29) who is far from being a threat these days. However, the younger Williams could face Sabine Lisicki (16) who took her out of last year’s Wimbledon. Sharapova could face 2010 French Open finalist Sam Stosur (19) in the 3rd round and possibly Dominika Cibulkova (9) in the Round of 16. There is a dangerous floater in this section in the form of Kaia Kanepi (25) who has made it to the quarters here in Paris twice in 2008 and 2012.

  • Radwanska’s Quarter [2/4]: Radwanska (3) could be facing Angelique Kerber (8) in the quarterfinals if the seeds hold true to form but the Polish number one has to get passed Spain’s Carla Suarez-Navarro (14) in the 4th round. There is a potentially interesting match in the 3rd round between veteran Flavia Pennetta (12) and rising star Eugenie Bouchard (18). Lurking in this section is the 2010 French Open champion and 2011 finalist Francesca Schiavone.

Women’s Bottom Half: Li (2)/Halep (4)

  • Halep’s Quarter [3/4] Newly crowned 4th ranked player in the world, Simona Halep will be looking to confirm her new status in the game here in Paris. The Romanian should have an easy time to the quarters as the only player of prominence is Sloane Stephens (15) whose stocks have been quietly declining since her Australian Open semifinal appearance in 2013. Ekaterina Makarova (22) might be a testy opponent for Halep in the 3rd round. Also in this section are 2011 Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova (5) and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic (11) who can potentially meet each other in the 4th round. Last time they played in Miami, Ivanovic lost 12 straight games after taking the opening set. She might want to avenge that horrible loss. Ivanovic will face home crowd favourite Caroline Garcia in the 1st round. 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova (27) is a dangerous floater in this section.

  • Li’s Quarter [4/4]: 2014 Australian Open champ, Na Li will be looking to collect her 2nd major of the year with a strong showing here. She will have to get passed Andrea Petkovic (28), Caroline Wozniacki (13) and 3-time semifinalist here Jelena Jankovic (6) in the 3rd Round, Round of 16 and quarterfinals respectively. Jankovic could possibly face last year’s semifinalist and finalist in 2012 Sara Errani (10) in the 4th round. It really should be no problem for the 2nd seed Li to move through to the semifinals at the very least as she has shown herself in the past of being a very competent clay court player. However, Li like top seed Williams, has shown in the past to be capable of self-destructing on court.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Brits Andy Murray and Cam Norrie Meet in the Second Round

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A look at Center Court at the Lindner Family Tennis Center (twitter.com/cincytennis)

On Monday, Andy Murray overcame another three-time Major singles champion, Stan Wawrinka, in a three-hour thriller.  In the second round, he meets the new British No.1 Cam Norrie, who reached his first Slam semifinal last month at Wimbledon.

 

WTA action is headlined by three matches between Slam singles champs, which includes world No.1 Iga Swiatek.  Also on Wednesday, Rafael Nadal will play his first match since withdrawing from the Wimbledon semifinals.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Andy Murray vs. Cameron Norrie – 11:00am on Center Court

Murray will be happy he had a day of rest after his emotionally and physically taxing match against Wawrinka.  He has compiled a solid record of 23-14 this season, with 2022 being his most active year since 2017, when his hip issues began.  But Norrie has taken his place as the top British male, and has really come into his own over the past 18 months.  Cam is now 38-18 this season, and has reached 10 finals since the start of last year.  Their only prior meeting occurred three years ago in Beijing, with Murray prevailing in a long, tight three-setter that lasted nearly three hours.  But three years later, Norrie is a much-improved competitor.  While playing your fellow countryman is often tricky, especially when they’ve been knighted, Cam should be favored to even their head-to-head.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Sloane Stephens (WC) – Not Before 3:00pm on Grand Stand

Swiatek is vying for her 50th win of the season on Wednesday, with 37 of those victories coming consecutively between February and July.  But since those 37 wins in a row, Iga is only 3-3, and suffered a frustrating loss last week in Toronto to Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-5 in the third after three hours of play.  Stephens continues to be a streaky player, as the 2017 US Open champion has gone on multiple winning and losing streaks of four matches or more throughout the year.  On Monday night, she crushed Alize Cornet 6-1, 6-0.  Sloane often plays her best tennis in American hard courts, and advanced to the third round or better of this tournament in seven straight appearances between 2012 and 2019.  These two Major champs have never played before.  Stephens could be primed for another win streak, and it would be understandable if Swiatek experienced a dip in her level after all the tennis she’s played this year.  Yet after dominating the tour for most of the year, Iga should still be favored.


Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Victoria Azarenka vs. Emma Raducanu (10) – It’s a two-time Australian Open champ against the reigning US Open champ.  Azarenka defeated Kaia Kanepi in three sets on Tuesday, while Raducanu easily prevailed over Serena Williams 6-4, 6-0.

Elena Rybakina vs. Garbine Muguruza (8) – It’s another two-time Major champ against the reigning Wimbledon champ.  Rybakina is 2-2 since her surprising run at The All-England Club, while Muguruza is a subpar 9-13 on the year.  They split two meetings last year, with Elena victorious in the more notable encounter, in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics.

Taylor Fritz (11) vs. Nick Kyrgios – Fritz started the summer by winning the title in Eastbourne, while Kyrgios was the champion in Washington.  This will be their first career meeting.

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Borna Coric (PR) – Despite his injury issues, Nadal is a staggering 35-3 in 2022, and 20-1 on hard courts.  Coric missed a full year of action due to shoulder surgery, and is just 12-12 at all levels since returning.  Borna has won two of their four previous meetings, including six years ago at this event.


Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Serena Williams Plays Emma Raducanu, Venus Faces Karolina Pliskova

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Serena Williams practicing on Monday in Cincinnati (twitter.com/cincytennis)

In what is expected to be the next-to-last event of her storied career, Serena Williams will play her opening round match on Tuesday.  And in a blockbuster matchup, she faces reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu.  Can the 19-year-old defeat the GOAT, or can Serena pull off one more high-profile victory before her career comes to an end?

 

Tuesday’s schedule in Cincinnati features many other top names as well.  Center Court alone also includes Naomi Osaka, Daniil Medvedev, Nick Kyrgios, and Venus Williams, who takes on Karolina Pliskova in a battle between two of the WTA’s all-time best servers.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Tuesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Karolina Pliskova (14) vs. Venus Williams (WC) – Second on Center Court

This will only be Venus’ third singles match of the season, as multiple injuries have hampered the 42-year-old in recent years.  Williams has only earned one singles win in the last 18 months.  Pliskova has struggled this season since a hand injury caused her to miss the first two months of 2022.  But Karolina had her best run of the season last week in Toronto, where she reached the semifinals, which included a three-set win over fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari.  Venus and Karolina played three times between 2015 and 2017, with Pliskova taking two of those three encounters.  Their most notable match was in the fourth round of the 2016 US Open, which Karolina won in a third-set tiebreak.  In 2022, Pliskova is a considerable favorite to prevail.


Serena Williams (DA) vs. Emma Raducanu (10) – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court

This will only be Serena’s fourth singles match of the season, and she’s 1-2 since returning at Wimbledon.  Last week in Toronto, she made a tearful exit from the court after her straight-set loss to Belinda Bencic, as the Canadian crowd gave the 23-time Major singles champion a standing ovation.  With this mini-retirement tour being new territory for Serena, how will she react to what will be a boisterous American crowd on Tuesday?  She’ll surely feel nervous, but Raducanu will as well, as she likely assumed she would never get to play Serena.  Emma has understandably struggled since her shocking, life-changing run a year ago at the US Open, as she’s just 11-14 on the year.  But she’s still played a lot more tennis of late than Serena.  This match was originally scheduled for Monday evening, and reports indicated it was postponed until Tuesday due to an injury concern regarding Serena.  That’s advantage, Emma.  But as we’ve learned over the course of the last several decades, Serena is fully capable of willing her way to victory even when she’s far from her best.


Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Naomi Osaka vs. Shuai Zhang – Osaka is just 1-2 this summer, and was forced to retire last week in Toronto due to a back issue.  She is 3-2 against Shuai, though they haven’t played in nearly four years.

Nick Kyrgios vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina – Kyrgios has won 14 of his last 16 singles matches, and is on an eight-match win streak in doubles.  Davidovich Fokina is only 4-9 this season on hard courts.

Coco Gauff (11) vs. Marie Bouzkova (Q) – Gauff is now the new world No.1 in doubles, and is on the brink of making her top 10 debut in singles.  Bouzkova has claimed 18 of her last 22 matches at all levels. 

Mackenzie McDonald (WC) vs. Carlos Alcaraz (3) – McDonald was a finalist last year in Washington, but arrived in Cincinnati on a three-match losing streak.  Alcaraz was upset last week in an extended affair with another American, Tommy Paul.  Earlier this year at Indian Wells, Carlitos beat Mackie 6-3, 6-3.

Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Botic van de Zandschulp – Medvedev needs to win at least two matches this week to ensure he maintains his No.1 ranking.  He’s 2-0 against van de Zandschulp, taking seven of their eight sets contested, all on hard courts.


Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Major Champions Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka Square Off

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Andy Murray practicing this past week in Cincinnati (twitter.com/cincytennis)

For the second consecutive week, a combined ATP Masters/WTA 1000 event is being staged in North America.  This week, it’s the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The singles draws in American’s heartland are loaded: the ATP draw features 14 of the world’s top 16, while the WTA draw features all 16 top-ranked players.

 

Most notably, Serena Williams will play what is assumedly the next-to-last event of her career, and will face reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the first round.  And Rafael Nadal will play his first match since withdrawing from the Wimbledon semifinals due to his ongoing left foot issues.

Monday’s action is headlined by Major champions Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, who will play each other for the 22nd time. 

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Monday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Stan Wawrinka (PR) vs. Andy Murray – Third on Center Court

Their rivalry dates all the way back to 2005, when Wawrinka defeated Murray in Davis Cup.  Their most prominent encounter took place in the 2017 Roland Garros semifinals, when Stan outlasted Andy in a five-setter that lasted over four-and-a-half hours.  And neither man has been the same since that grueling battle.  Just weeks later, Murray’s hip problems derailed his career, while Wawrinka would undergo knee surgery.  Both men have now battled multiple serious injuries over the last five years.  Overall Andy is 12-9 against Stan, and 8-4 on hard courts.  Murray has gritted his way to 22 victories this year, while Stan is only 3-7 since returning from foot surgery this spring.  Based on current form, as well as Murray’s history at this event, where he is a two-time champion, the Brit is the favorite on Monday.


Matteo Berrettini (12) vs. Frances Tiafoe – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court

Berrettini returned from surgery on his right hand in June, and promptly went on a 12-match win streak.  However, he unfortunately missed Wimbledon due to testing positive for COVID-19.  And last week in Montreal, Matteo lost in the opening round, though that one-sided loss to Pablo Carreno Busta doesn’t look quite as bad after Pablo’s fantastic run to his first Masters 1000 title concluded on Sunday.  Meanwhile, it’s been a disappointing year for Tiafoe, who is only 20-17 and has suffered some painful losses.  At Wimbledon, he lost a four-and-a-half hour fourth round match to David Goffin despite having a two-sets-to-one lead.  And just last week in Montreal, Frances was up 4-0 in the third over Taylor Fritz before losing the last six games of the match.  Their only previous meeting occurred four years ago on clay in Rome, where Matteo was victorious in his home country in straight sets.  Can Tiafoe avenge that loss in his own home country?  Frances often excels during night matches in the United States, with his five-set win over Andrey Rublev at last year’s US Open serving as a prime example.  But Matteo has been the much stronger performer for a few years now, and his potent serve/forehand combo makes him the favorite.


Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Amanda Anisimova vs. Daria Kasatkina (9) – Anisimova has reached the second week of every Major this season, while Kasatkina has won 18 of her last 24 matches, which includes a title run this month in San Jose.  Amanda leads their head-to-head 2-0, and dominated Daria 6-2, 6-0 at the beginning of this year.

Jil Teichmann vs. Petra Kvitova – Teichmann was a surprise finalist here a year ago.  Kvitova is only 17-15 this season, though she did win a title on grass in June.  They’ve played three times since last year, with Jil claiming two of those three matches.

Denis Shapovalov vs. Grigor Dimitrov (16) – Shapovalov has now lost nine of his last 10 matches dating back to May.  Meanwhile it’s been over four months since Dimitrov has won more than two matches in a row.  Grigor is 2-1 against Denis, and 2-0 on hard courts.

Sloane Stephens (WC) vs. Alize Cornet – It’s been a streaky season for Stephens, with nine of her 11 victories coming at just two events.  Cornet has achieved two noteworthy results this season: reaching her first Major quarterfinal in Melbourne, and ending Iga Swiatek’s 37-match winning streak at Wimbledon.  This is their first career meeting.


Monday’s full Order of Play is here.

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