Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Don't you just love it when the first round is over?

There's that feeling of "settling in." The French Open (or whatever, but the French is my favorite) is real and in progress. And we always learn some things. For example, today, we learned that Genie Bouchard is as much of a mess as she was the last time we saw her. Bouchard, who has obviously lost muscle weight, wasn't moving at all like she did last year, and she made careless errors that appeared to be coming from a much less experienced player. I'm calling this as "beyond slump."

We learned, also, that Bouchard's opponent, Kiki Mladenovic, is still battling the demon of nerves. Mladenovic, who led 5-0 in the second set, had to serve for the match three times before she won it. That's okay, perhaps, against an opponent who isn't doing much right, but against someone who is prepared, one missed chance could be the end for the Frenchwoman.

We learned other sad things: Jelena Jankovic lost her first round in straight sets. Aga Radwanska continues to fall into a shocking downward spiral. And Caroline Garcia needs to enroll quickly (with countrywoman Mladenovic) in an anti-anxiety program.

We also discovered that defending champion Maria Sharapova is sick. And while her respiratory problem may be "just a cold," (or not) there's no such thing as "just a cold." A cold can be debilitating.

Petra Kvitova made it clear in her press conference that she wasn't exactly brimming with confidence about this French Open. When another player says that, it may be a case of hustling the press (which is so easy to do, it isn't sporting), but when Kvitova says it, you know she means it. Not good.

This is also a good time to take a look at potentially dangerous clay court floaters who won't be floating--Venus Williams, Kiki Bertens, Anna Schmiedlova, Mona Barthel, Roberta Vinci, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. They're all out, as of round 1.

Finally, we know what kind of entertainment round 2 could bring. The completely enigmatic Julia Goerges will get a chance to mess with Caroline Wozniacki (or not), rising stars Belenda Bencic and Madison Keys will meet, rising stars (giving the benefit of the doubt to the Italian) Garbine Muguruza and Camila Giorgi will also meet (my don't-miss match), and Daria Gavrilova will get a crack at Sabine Lisicki.

And on a sentimental note--even though we all probably know the outcome--those grand veteran warriors, 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone, will play each other for a spot in the third round. Kuznetsova and Schiavone played the longest women's match in the Open Era in the round of 16 the 2011 Australian Open, and it was also one of the greatest matches I can recall seeing--ever.

No comments: