Women’s French Open Draw Wide Open

May 24, 2009

With all the talk over the past few weeks about Nadal’s drive to make it five, there has been very little said about the women’s side of the tournament.

And while there is no doubt that the men’s side is the more interesting of the two at the moment, the French Open is the major that the Williams sisters have the greatest trouble winning, and this along with there being no real standouts makes for a fascinating fortnight.

The Williams’ Record At Roland Garros Is Not Great

Between them Venus and Serena Williams have won a total of 17 Grand Slam singles titles…but just one of those was at the French Open in 2002 when the pair met in the final, with Serena claiming victory on the day.

This is obviously their least favourite major, and for the rest of the field this will be an encouraging thought.

The Rest Of The Field Is Vastly Inexperienced

Of the current top 15, there are just two women apart from the Williams sisters who have won a major – defending champion Ana Ivanovic and Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. The only other major winners in the tournament are Amelie Mauresmo and Maria Sharapova.

Mauresmo’s form has been less than spectacular, and Sharapova might have been considered a chance if she had been able to make her comeback from injury a few months ago as opposed to a few weeks ago.

Ana Ivanovic has steadily dropped in the rankings ever since her French Open win last year, and while she is talking up her chances here after the appointment of a new coach, I seem to remember her talking up her chances a few months ago in Melbourne as well, so I’m not yet sold on her being a threat over the next two weeks.

That leaves Kuznetsova, and she has actually been in fairly decent form this year, She defeated Safina in the final at Stuttgart, before Safina got her revenge in the very next tournament where the two met in the final at Rome.

The New Guard

There have been a number of young women players who have made steady progress through the rankings this year, and will be looking at the French as their big opportunity to register their first win on the sports biggest stage.

Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki has been a consistent performer this year, and those results have seen her move into the top ten for the first time in her career in the past couple of weeks.

She won the ITF event in Charleston and was beaten in the final at Madrid by Dinara Safina in her last hitout before arriving in Paris. She probably has not yet shown she can consistently win big matches, but she is definitely a player who is improving all the time

Victoria Azarenka from Belarus is another player who has been extremly consistent this year, probably even more so than Wozniacki. Apart from an early exit last week in Madrid she has managed to reach the semi’s in all but one of her past 5 tournaments

Dinara Safina Fairly Hot Favourite

If there is a favourite it is most definietly the formerly erratic, but now surprisingly consistent Russian, Dinara Safina.

Since her capitulation in the final of the Aussie Open against Serena Williams, she has bounced back strongly and has continued to be the woman to beat in almost every tournament played.

She has won two titles and was the beaten finalist in a third with all three of those tournaments being played in the past month on clay.

In other words – her form is good.

I think she’ll finally get her first Major title at Roland Garros. She has been dominant from the very start of the clay court season, with perhaps only Kuznetsova showing any sort of form that might trouble her at all.

Who do you think will win?


Written by: Crooksy

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