Friday, May 29, 2015

Six days in, and Fighting Italians have made themselves at home in Paris

Yesterday's epic French Open performance from the great Francesca Schiavone would have given us all enough Fighting Italian spirit to last us for quite a while, but today, Flavia Pennetta--one of the comeback specialists of the WTA--efficiently took tournament contender Carla Suarez Navarro out of the competition. And while it may be true that the 8th-seeded Spaniard played far below her best level--just leave it to Pennetta to be there to clean up.

Pennetta (or "Pennahta," as a commentator called her yesterday) is already into the round of 16, while both Schiavone and 2012 runner-up Sara Errani have made it to the third round. Next up for Schiavone is Andreea Mitu, one of the great stories of the 2015 season, and next for Errani is Andrea Petkovic. As for Pennetta, she will face the formidable Garbine Muguruza, who showed the exit to 11th seed Angelique Kerber today. It was Muguruza who ended the run of another Fighting Italian, Camila Giorgi, and she had a lot of help from the anxiety-prone Italian.

Alize Cornet won her third round match today, and the crowd was treated to a full helping of the victorious version of Alize!, the Opera. (It isn't as good as Bartoli Theatre, but it's good.) For her troubles in defeating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, the dramatic (why is it that when Alize does it, it's hilarious, and when a certain German does it, it makes me leave the room?) Frenchwoman will face Elina Svitolina, and that will be no small task for either of them. In fact, I consider that match a must-see.

Tomorrow, we'll see another Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka match, and I just have a feeling that this one will be less dramatic than the others. Sloane Stephens will face the Bulgarian Woman Of Mystery, who--having run out of other tricks--has now added "advance in the French Open" to her repertoire of oddities. Pironkova has a very, very good and very tricky serve, but it isn't always available to her. If it is tomorrow, the match should be fun.

Petra Kvitova will play Irina-Camelia Begu, who could give her headaches. Madison Keys takes on the Queen of Mexico, and Kiki Mladenovic must face Alison Van Uytvanck, and that's another match I really want to watch.

Also advancing to the round of 16 today were 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic, Ekaterina Makarova (she had to defeat her doubles partner, Elena Vesnina), Lucie Safarova, and defending champion Maria Sharapova.

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