Saturday, June 2, 2018

A week later, and the draw looks--kind of empty

Top of Moulin Rouge
Defending champion Alona Ostapenko is out of the French Open (remember that?!). Kiki Mladenovic is out. Schmiedy and Alex Krunic are out. Former champion Sveta Kuznetsova is out, as are Laura Siegemund and Dominika Cibulkova. Victoria Azarenka, Venus Williams and Jo Konta are all out. Former champion Francesca Schiavone is gone, as is Anastasija Sevastova. And former finalist Sara Errani.

And that was just the first round.

In the second round, we lost Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, CoCo Vandeweghe, Ash Barty, former finalist Lucie Safarova, Ekaterina Makarova, Carla Suarez Navarro, and Alize Cornet.

The third round was also brutal, as we might expect. Out of competition are Daria Gavrilova, Kiki Bertens, Julia Goerges, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, and Petra Kvitova.

Not all of these players were seeded (most were); a few were just players I expected (and hoped) to see stick around longer. Some were suffering the effects of injury, illmess and absence. A few were probably tired.

Four who went out in the third round--Bertens, Pliskova, Svitolina, and Kvitova--were considered contenders for the title (I also thought of Goerges as a dark horse). Of those, the one for whom the loss may be the most bitter (though Kvitova's 6-7, 6-7 loss had to hurt) is Svitolina. Her curse at the majors continues, just when most of us thought it would finally be lifted, championship or not.

I can't watch all the matches I want to because I can't get up at 4 a.m. But I do get up early, and it angers me that on this weekend, I still can't watch what I want to watch because NBC has the broadcast rights after a certain time of day. I was lucky enough to find a good livestream of the Halep vs. Petkovic match, but I was unable to watch any of the Kerber vs. Bertens match, which I waited all day to see.

Here is the round of 16 draw:

Simona Halep (1) vs. Elise Mertens (16)
A lot of this will be about Mertens' serve, which--when it's "on"--is deadly. As good a returner as Halep is, if Mertens gets into a fancy serving zone, she can be very big trouble. 
Angie Kerber (12) vs. Caroline Garcia (7)
I didn't get to see Kerber's match today, as I angrily mentioned, but my understanding is that she's continuing her comeback mission quite nicely. It should be a good match.

Garbine Muguruza (3) vs. Lesia Tsurenko
The Spaniard seems to always play under the radar, kind of quietly drifting through the draw until someone upsets her--or until she leaves the blood of seven players on the courts. So far, so good. Tsurenko is one of the surprises of the tournament. She's already taken out two seeded players, CoCo Vandeweghe and Magdalena Rybarikova. It would take some real "muguing around" on the former champion's part, however, for her unseeded opponent to advance.

Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova (28)
The insults are already flying, and I'm already feeling ill. I really don't want these two to play each other because, as I Tweeted earlier today, I'm sick to death of the fan and commentator narratives about their match-up.

Barbora Strycova (26) vs. Yulia Putintseva
How can it be anything but entertaining? For those who like their tennis spicy, it's a dream draw.

Madison Keys (13) vs. Mihaila Buzarnescu
Buzarnescu, so far is the story of the tournament. Prior to now, she had never won a main draw match at a major. Her career, similar to that of Laura Siegemund's, was derailed by injury, so she became a serious student. And now, she's taken out 4th seed (and predicted, by many, to be the 2018 champion) Elina Svitolina. Can she keep it up?

Anett Kontaveit (25) vs. Sloane Stephens (10)
Kontaveit is scary-good on clay. This season, she's been on an upset rampage that would impress anyone, and has already beaten five top-10 players. Her fifth victim was the season's hottest clay court player (how odd it sounds to say that), Petra Kvitova. Kontaveit beat Kvitova in two tense tiebreak sets, so she doesn't seem to be having any problems in the nerves department.

Daria Kasatkina (14) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (2)
Kasatkina, despite being a very good clay court player with a lot of potential (and one very nice clay court title--Charleston, 2017) has yet to break out in a way that would send her up the next rung of the tour ladder. But the ability is there. The Russian is strategic and clever, but Wozniacki has seen it all, and has run it all down.


colt13 said...

Pretty good analysis.

If Mertens plays her best, she should win, as it is easier for her to win points. Thing is, she has to win the first set, as Halep will run away with it otherwise.

Diane said...

Totally agree.

And what happened to Anett? I haven't heard, but still suspect illness.