Friday, May 31, 2019

Everyhing feels crazy, and yes--it's the French Open

I love the French Open. It's in Paris, and it's played on clay courts. What's not to like, other than the official app? The French Open is my favorite major because I like to watch players compete on clay, which is somewhat of a neutralizer and therefore encourages more creative players to shine.

I always expect the unexpected at Roland Garros, and I always get it. Unfortunately, this year, some of the unexpected involves injury and illness, and that's never a good thing. I'm especially sad that Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova had to withdraw, and that Kiki Bertens had to retire because of what sounds like a wicked viral illness (or food poisoning). I picked Bertens as the most likely player to win the event.

So we lost Maria, Petra and Kiki, and we also lost Caroline Wozniacki, Bianca Andreescu, 2017 champion Alona Ostapenko, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Angie Kerber, recently injured, went out in the first round.


But even with the injuries and Bertens' illness (still the biggest shock, for me), there's already a lot of shaking up of the draw. Today, 2nd seed and Rome champion Karolina Pliskova was upset in the third round by Petra Martic. Martic, back from her own injury woes and better than ever, can beat almost anyone on clay on a given day, and she eliminated Pliskova in straight sets.

Both of the French hopes--a back-on-track Kiki Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia--are gone. 

Hsieh Su-Wei is gone, as are Maria Sakkari, Dasha Kasatkina, Aryna Sabalenka, Elise Mertens, Belinda Bencic, and Elina Svitolina. Still standing are defending champion Simona Halep, world number 1 Naomi Osaka, 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza (def. Svitolina), 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens, Anastasija Sevastova, Madison Keys, Ash Barty, and Serena Williams.

Tomorrow, the third round will be completed. Halep will face Lesia Tsurenko, who had to fight for over three hours in a two-day span to defeat Aleks Krunic 5-7, 7-5, 11-9. Williams will face countrywoman Sonya Kenin, and Osaka will compete against Katerina Siniakova, who upset Sakkari.

And speaking of Siniakova--she and partner Barbora Krejcikova, the top doubles seeds, were upset in the first round, making their 2019 season even more miserable than it already was. At this point, I'll be surprised if this team holds together much longer.

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