Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Which Ic?

It seems almost inevitable to me that one of the Serbian players, Jelena Jankovic or Ana Ivanovic, will be in the French Open final. If someone had asked me a few weeks ago, I would have said Jankovic, but times have changed. For one thing, Ivanovic surprised me by winning the German Open, proving that she has conquered the clay surface. More important, however, is that in order to get into the final, Jankovic has to defeat her nemesis, world number one and defending champion Justine Henin, whom she has never beaten.

Of course, if Jankovic were to finally defeat Henin and Ivanovic were to defeat Maria Sharapova, the two Serbians would face each other in the final. Ivanovic has won their last two matches, meaning that Jankovic is now left in a draw with a player she has never beaten and a player she has trouble beating. The two women play very different styles of tennis, and Richard Pagliaro, writing for Tennis Week, has done a nice analysis of their contrasting games.

It's still all up for grabs, though. I expect Ivanovic to beat Sharapova, but Sharapova has surprised the hell out of me so far, and you just never know. As for Jankovic, I would love to see her defeat Henin, but the semifinals of the French Open is not likely to be the place where she does it.

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