Court Philippe Chatrier
(1) Serena vs. (29) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
(15) Arevane Rezai and (19) Nadia Petrova to complete their suspended match, picking up at 7-7 in the 3rd. We know that Venus Williams will be pulling hard for Petrova, because Rezai smoked Venus in the Madrid final, and comes into Roland Garros at # 19 in the world, up 25 spots from # 44, where she ended 2009. Rezai was playing average tennis, but caught fire in Madrid, and has now won 8 straight matches to raise her record in 2010 to 18-11.
(31) Victor Hanescu vs. (3) Novak Djokovic
(28) Lleyton Hewitt vs. (2) Rafael Nadal…the 2 major champions will meet at Roland Garros for the 3rd time in 4 years. Hewitt, who is 4-5 lifetime versus Nadal got totally dusted by Rafa last year in the 3rd round, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. The last time Hewitt beat Rafa was at Queens Club in 2006 in a match where Nadal retired after the 2nd set. Otherwise, Hewitt’s last victory over Nadal was way back in 2005, but this is a marquee matchup nontheless.
(12) Sharapova vs. (22) Henin…Sharapova is playing on her worst surface, and the clay is slowing down her already vulnerable serve, while Henin has looked really good in her comeback on the dirt so far. Both players are confident, coming in each with tournament victories, but Sharapova will not be able to blow Henin off the court with big serves and forehands as she has done on hards on the big stages in Flushing and Melbourne. Henin is 6-3 vs. Maria lifetime and has never lost to her on clay.
Court Suzanne Lenglen
(6) Dandy Andy vs Teimuraz Gabashvili…with a win, Roddick equals his career best at Roland Garros–his trip to the 4th round last year. Roddick may have to play a near impossible opponent in the round of 16–clay court specialist David Ferrer. A tall order. It would be interesting to see that match come off, as a gauge for Roddick, who has improved greatly under his superb coach, Larry Stefanki.
(18) Shahar Peer vs. (13) Marion Bartoli…the hope of a nation, Israel’s Shahar Peer, takes on the unorthodox French woman, Marion Bartoli, who is the highest ranked player in the men’s or women’s game, and one of the only, who hits with 2 hands on both sides. The clay should benefit Bartoli’s 2-handed style, giving her more time to set up her shots, but Bartoli is plagued by weight issues, which would detract from her ability to have success on a clay court. Peer leads the head to head 6-2, and has a victory over Bartoli at the French Open (2005).
(7) Verdasco vs. (30) Kohlschreiber…we love Kohlschreiber’s one hand backhand and fluid game, and he has shown the ability to slay giants on the big stage, defeating Andy Roddick in Melbourne in 2008 and Djokovic here last year. Verdasco is the clear favorite on paper, but Kohlschreiber is an excellent clay courter in his own right. He destroyed David Ferrer at the World Team Championships in Germany on red clay, 6-0, 6-1 in 2008.
(4) Jelena Jankovic vs. (27) Alona Bondarenko…I’ll say it. I can’t stand Jankovic. I hate her game. She has a terrible serve, and is too busy playing every tournament she can to actually practice the shot. So all her matches are these break laden, moon ball fests, and it pains me that she is a top player. But notice how she has hovered around the top 5, and has logged weeks at # 1, and has never won a singles major. Because eventually, in a major, you are going to play somebody who can handle a 67 MPH second serve. Will she finally get on the board and win a major, or will she never? I’m going to vote never. In tennis, you are only as good as your second serve.
Other notable matches…
(22) Jurgen Melzer vs. (9) David Ferrer…wouldn’t Roddick love an upset here? You know what? It’s possible. Melzer is no quit player, and a very good clay courter in his own right. Put it this way: if Ferrer mauls Melzer, Andy’s in big trouble.
(16) JCF vs. Robby Ginepri (USA)…Ferrero is one of the best clay courters around and also, a former French champion. at one point this year, he had a 17 match win streak on clay. Ginepri shows up to this one already happy, but for a horrible, boring, bland grinder, he’s done a lot with his game since coach Jose Higueras resurrected his career. I think Ginepri could play well tomorrow, and I will root for him, though he is probably my least favorite American.
(1) Bryan bros vs. Melo/Soares (Brazil)…ddon’t know much about Soares, but Marcelo Melo is a pretty decent doubles player, especially on clay. The Bryans have played extremely well of late. But nothing would surprise me.
(23) Hantuchova vs. (16) Wickmayer…Hantuchova has had a very disappointing career in my mind, for a talented, and pretty girl. She was a top ten player for along time, but has only won 3 tournaments in her career, and she’s 27. I’d like to see Wickmayer, a tall girl with a big arsenal to out slug DH.
(14) Ivan Ljubicic vs. (24) Tomaz Bellucci…Ljubicic is back from the dead, resurrected by legendary Aussie Bob Brett, but he just got finished with a 2 day marathon with an extended 5th set vs. Mardy Fish. Bellucci has the legs and the classic retriever’s game. I like the Brazilian.
(1) Serena/Venus vs. Hantuchova/Wozniacki…this matchup features one player on each team who has a match earlier in the day (Serena, Hantuchova). That’s old time tennis. Venus and Serena are pissed they didn’t win the Frenchh last year, and if they win it this year, they will have won four straight majors. A win tomorrow would give them 21 straight match wins in majors.
Enjoy your tennis (even though it’s clay),