Saturday, June 5, 2021

Five unseeded players to compete in French Open round of 16

It was an exhausting first week, marked by injuries, withdrawals, upsets--and some really good tennis. And still standing, after three rounds, are five players who are unseeded. They are: Sloane Stephens, Barbora Krejcikova, Marta Kostyuk, Tamara Zidansek, and Sorana Cirstea. Four of them will be competing against other unseeded players, though one tends to place an asterisk next to Stephens' name; she may be unseeded, but she's still Sloane Stephens.

Two of those players have had especially good seasons. Krejcikova, long a doubles star, has made good on her goal to bring her singles level up, as has her doubles partner, Katerina Siniakova. Usually, one member of a doubles team decides to focus on doubles and the team either breaks up or plays fewer events together, but these two--so far--are doing it all. For her part, Krejcikova upset fifth seed Elina Svitolina to advance to the final sixteen.

The other player who has had a "long time coming" boost this year is Cirstea, who recently won her first singles title in thirteen years, and then immediately went on to be a tournament runner-up. 

Three former finalists, Stephens (2018) Marketa Vondrousova (2019) and Sofia Kenin (2020), are in the round of 16 draw, as are two former champions--Serena Williams (2002, 2013, 2015) and Iga Swiatek (2020).

One-quarter of the draw is occupied by players from the USA--Stephens, Kenin, Williams, and Coco Gauff (Gauff's third round match against countrywoman Jen Brady came to an end when Brady retired with a foot injury). 

Last year, Paula Badosa reached the round of 16, in which she was defeated by clay court specialist Laura Siegemund. Badosa, who won a grueling three-hour contest against Ana Bogdan in the third round, is most likely engaged in heavy recovery work--both physical and mental--so that she can be reasonably fresh for her next match.

Here is the round of 16 draw:

Ons Jabeur (25) vs. Coco Gauff (24)
Sloane Stephens vs. Barbora Krejcikova
Sofia Kenin (4) vs. Maria Sakkari (17)
Marta Kostyuk vs. Iga Swiatek (8)
Serena Williams (7) vs. Elena Rybakina (21)
Vika Azarenka (15) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (31)
Tamara Zidansek vs. Sorana Cirstea
Marketa Vondrousova (30) vs. Paula Badosa (33)


colt13 said...

This is pretty balanced. Swiatek is the favorite as of now, but almost anybody could win.

Diane said...

e said...
It’s so rare for a WTA player to win the same major two years in a row, but if anyone can do it, it’s Swiatek. She’s had to struggle a bit, which could make her really dangerous in the second week, now that she may have gotten her bearings. Sloane’s looking pretty dangerous, too.