Friday, May 23, 2008

French Open first round--where danger lurks

A glance at the French Open draw shows me that a few seeded players could have some trouble in the first round.

Nadia Petrova, for example--who we once thought might win the French Open--plays Aravane Rezai. I expect Petrova, seeded 25, to win, but the big-hitting Rezai, if she is having a good day, could cause her some trouble. Likewise, number 16 seed Victoria Azarenka plays Edina Gallovits, who played extremely well in Charleston, giving Agnieszka Radwanska a real run. Gallovits also has some fine doubles skills that will come in handy. And finally, there is the vulnerable sixth seed, Anna Chakvetadze, who will face Nuria Llagostera Vives. Llagostera Vives is small, but she knows her way around a clay court.

Of all the first round matches, however, the one I think may prove to be the most competitive does not include any seeded players. Sara Errani will play Gisela Dulko, and I predict a fine match. Errani is a grinder and can hang out at the baseline for hours, getting balls back. Dulko has clay court finesse, and a lot more power than people perceive. In Charleston, she served superbly to win her first round, but lost her serve in her second round. If she had retained it, there is a fair chance that her opponent--the eventual champion, Serena Williams--would have made an early exit from the tournament. Service game aside, Dulko made things quite difficult for Williams.


Todd Spiker said...

A very odd-looking draw, and not just because Henin isn't there, either.

You wouldn't think it would happen without the former #1, but the draw is still strangely divided. Essentially, all the Russians are in the top half, while the Williams sisters and the Serbs are in the bottom.

Diane said...

I noticed that, too. Strange.