WTA FRENCH OPEN PREVIEW – THE REAL DARK HORSES

by Karen

As a top player in a Grand Slam there are a few players who you don’t want to see on your side of the draw early.  These are the players with weapons in abundance but for one reason or another have never been able to keep the ball in the court for a 2 week period.  Some, like Stosur and Kuznetsova have been here before and were able to keep it together over a 2 week period and actually lift the trophy.  Can they do it again? 

Then there are the ones from whom much is expected.  They can pull an upset but can they back it up?  We speak of players like Jelena Jankovic, Sara Errani and Carla Suarez-Navarro.  Then there are the zoners.  The ones who take it to a  top player just before they find their grooves and we have all kinds of chaos in the draws.  In this we have to put people like Camila Giorgi, Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens.  

Then we have the quiet ones.  The ones who not much is said about them but they can be dangerous.  Aga Radwanska, Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic.  Apart from Petkovic, neither Radwanska or Kerber have made any noise during this season and especially on clay.  Can they find some form during the French Open and become part of the conversation. 

Finally, there are the ones who play to the crowd.  They have the weapons and they are rounding into form.  They are mostly home grown talent who will get the crowd behind them.  I speak of Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia.  Both women have posted excellent results this year, and both have won titles this year.  Garcia is for me the player from this group who will make the most noise.  Watching her play Fed Cup against the United States in the US and the way she handled her nerve during those matches made many sit up and take notice.  In addition, her match against Serena Willliams at the Sony Open this year showed us just how truly talented this young French woman is. 

Alize Cornet, who is defending her Strasbourg title this year seems to have tapered off a bit from her run of play earlier in the season.  She will without a doubt use the crowd at Roland Garros to her advantage if she faces a top player early in the draw. 

Only time and the draw will tell. 

ODDS AND ENDS

I watched Sloane Stephens’ match this morning against Julia Georges.  Sloane who was the top seed via wildcard lost 6-3, 6-2.  She did not get a break point on George’s serve for the whole match and the closest she got was to deuce. She made some really bad errors at key points in the match.  Rumour has it that her coach Annacone will be joining her to prepare for the French Open. Let us hope that he can get her back on track as she seems to have lost her way entirely.  Maybe her mother needs to have her move out and become responsible for paying her rent and paying the people around her.  Only then will Sloane have to start taking responsibility for her performance.  

I am anxiously awaiting the draw for the second Grand Slam of the year.  I am sure that everyone is waiting with their draw sheets to see what the round of 16s and quarters will look like this year.  I will say that there will be a lot of deaths by suicide pool this year. 

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