Shahar Peer


World #1, if far from best, Caroline Wozniacki (below).

It isn’t often that mystical clay court seasons just line up by the grace of gods, and the stars align to make the typical one-hander who likes to see entertaining, shot making tennis genius and the validation of such genius.  Well, there was 09 of course, when Roger completed the career slam.  We mean, the way Nadal got upset by Soderling, out of nowhere, meaning that the attacking player, the magnificent artist, the man himself, Roger Federer, was going to get the RG crown and the career slam.  And by the way.  We don’t throw the word slam around.  We are tennis purists.  There are career slams, and there are calendar slams.  You win them all in your career or you win them all in calendar order.  Since nobody ever wins them in calendar order to the point that it is rarely a discussion, you have a few slam conversations going on, but not many.

Might Clijsters get it?  Those looking at the woeful women’s tour and Clijsters fans had to think, with her flakiness, and the God awful women’s top 20 right now, that she can’t be counted on to play for too many more majors, but she could have been counted on heavily at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year.  Ah well.  There are the injuries that we are hearing will limit her.  We see a good chance for Clijsters to win these tournaments if she is healthy, and here’s why:  Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Justine Henin are all not playing, Kuznetsova is playing as bad as she has ever, career, Sharapova is not all the way back, and there are questions as to her ability to ever return to the top of the game, and then…we mean, we could go all day.  That’s why another clay court season for the shot mking purist was last season, on the women’s side, with Francesca Schiavone winning her first major title.  I love Schiavone–the top one-handed female until Justine Henin hopefully returns, and she has great flair, but in a healthy field, we doubt highly that we are all suffering a Schiavone-Stosur finale.  These are girls that the Williams sisters, Henin, and several others trounce on a regular basis.  In fact, Venus Williams has never lost to Schiavone in 8 meetings.   Stosur?  Must we really?  A representative top ten of the most talented women in the world, regardless of who is shuttered off in a Belgian bowling alley and who, unfortunately, cut her foot and went through so many sins with recovering from that.

We are not trying to denigrate Francesca.  In fact, we’d love her to repeat.  Considering the shoddy field again.  We have got to look at a woeful top 20 right now.  Former champ Ana Ivanovic, whose game we actually don’t quite terribly mind, is outside the top 20, which says a lot about her plight, and you’ve got one of the least talented and diverse top 20’s there has ever been.  Kaia Kanepi?  Shahar Peer?  Petkovic?  Bartoli?  Radwanska?  Pavlyuchenkova?  Please don’t get us started about Jelena Jankovic, who feel is the most incomplete player in the women’s game.  Besides being an advertisement for how not to play, she hits most of her shots off of her back foot, can not take an overhead out of the air, can not make a volley, and has no serve.  This women’s game is an insult, and perhaps then we shouldn’t take as such an insult the fact that America got dusted in Fed Cup two weeks ago, but we still do.  Pitiful.

If Clijsters doesn’t play, then we’d count 5 players when healthy and right, and maybe a sixth–Ana Ivanovic as being bigger favorites going into Roland Garros than the current field.  BTW, we count Dementieva in that group.  A lot is on injuries, obviously, but we can’t tell you we are happy a Dementieva or a Henin stepped away from the game in their prime.  You watch a Justine Henin match?  Listen, she may have cheated against Serena, but her matches were beautiful things.  Her backhand is text book.  She is a beautiful shot maker and she lit the game up for almost 2 years.  It was pretty to watch.  So we aren’t too happy, and we won’t be next Thursday when the draws come out for Roland Garros.  That Stosur was such a big favorite last year, and looks so strong again?  We apologize, but we don’t feel this caliber of player deserves to win a major.  Winning a major is special.  Will we see it from Wozniacki?  When she pulls it off with those putrid vollies, and her go is death game.  And you know what?  We like her next week.  What does that say?  Because we despise her style of play.  But this is France, and the most vile style usually wins out.

Except when Roger won it.  And the time Mac had Lendl 2 sets and a break.  Kuerten?  Here’s the thing.  He didn’t have near the shot making ability on other surfaces, so we didn’t go crazy when he won here.  We rooted for Courier and against Agassi, and f0r Federer a boatload of times, and when we were young we watched a lot of guys who we didn’t have business winning majors win this thing.  But that’s the French Open, for the women especially, and it looks like we may get a very shaky champ again, which speaks volumes about the women’s game.  If Clijsters can go hard, she is going to have a great shot to pull off the career slam, because she’s the only one around with the focus and the talent.  And so you know, we hate her counter punching style, but will concede she goes for more winners now and is easier to watch.  You see, the French Open, on special occasion, has not been the home of the shittiest tennis champion of them all.  The years when a Navratilova or a Williams or a Graf didn’t win.  The years when it was the Moyas, Andres Gomez’s, Chang’s, and Costa’s.

Would those guys, any of them, win a real major on a court that required brilliance and not doggedness?  We think not.  So here’s to our Roland Garros wishes that if a shitty woman has to be champion, let it be Schiavone, because little girls around the world may model their game after hers, and so that she can build a little legacy for a one-hander, even though she hasn’t ever beaten Venus Williams.  Because that’s a lot better than one of these hacks like Wozniacki, Jankovic, and Radwanska.  Either of those three would horrible for the game.   Zvonareva?  You know we love her, and we like the way she’s went deep at majors lately, building a resume, but we’d say she has a much better chance on Wimbledon’s lawns than on the disgusting mud at Roland Garros.

Tomorrow on the women’s side in Rome:

Wozniacki:  – 200 (bet 200 to win 100)

Sharapova:  +160 (bet 100 units to win 160, plus the initial wager) 

And:

Li Na:  + 170 (bet 100 units to win 170)

Stosur:  – 220 (bet 220 units to win 100, plus initial wager)

Here’s what we think.  Even though we hate Wozniacki, she has the game for clay, if not really any true talent tennis or weapons, and Sharapova doesn’t.  It might help Maria that Azarenka retired today, allowing her to conserve energy, but we’d have to to go with Wozniacki, who is the better mover and the better clay mover.  Mark our words.  You rarely see a match won on clay on a given day by the player who doesn’t use his feet best.  In that vain, we’d have to take the exercise and conditioning freak, Stosur, who is now building quite a little resume for herself on clay, and she’s another poorly talented but favored woman of Roland Garros nontheless.  And the loss last year?  There are Australians we know who lost their shit over it.

We’re not ready to pronounce Sharapova completely dead yet, but without the lights out serve, she really isn’t gonna hurt too many people, and RG has never been her thing.  So we are thinking Wozniacki/Stosur on Sunday, and when we see the odds, we”ll give you our thoughts.  But we aren’t buying at these rates.  The biggest favorite is Stosur at – 220?  If you are going to do something, you shoud be buying dogs.

Then there’s the men where there figures to be a compelling day of tennis, even for clay.  Lines have been shifting the last few hours, as Nadal and Djokovic are becoming bigger favorites.  As of now:

Nadal:  – 1200  (wager 1200 to win 100 plus your initial wager)

Gasquet:  +700 (wager 100 to win 700)

And:

Djokovic:  – 700

Murray:  + 450

Without getting too into the RG breakdown, we’d like to give you our quick thoughts.  Much better values in the dogs once again, especially on the men’s side.  Personally, we have seen a lot of lines, and Andy Murray is probably a plus 450 2 or 3 times only in about the last 3 years.  This guy is a very good player, and the difference in odds is steep considering the match will probably be won over a couple points.  And Nadal/Gasquet?  That’s a match where you have a guy who has never beaten the other guy, and the other guy is on his favorite surface where he rarely loses.  Gasquet just does not match up with Nadal very well, never did.  Doesn’t serve well enough.  That about covers it.  Very talented player, but nearly enough weapons.  But the little extra rest a loss for either favorite might do could go a long way in what could be very close matches, ones the odds don’t seem to respect.  We wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a long day of tennis tomorrow.  And we again hope for a classic day of clay court tennis.

Djokovic goes for his 36th straight…vying to also set up a meet with Nadal, who he could conceivably beat two weeks in a row.

Catch it on TTC.

Crack (http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, http://www.crackbillionair.com)

Venus Williams (above), a finalist last year and 5 time champion, won her first round match today at Wimbledon.

Venus Williams looked in fine form this morning in defeating Rossana De Los Rios of Parauguay, 6-3, 6-2 in 1 hour and 4 minutes.  Williams out winnered De Los Rios by the amazing count of 31 to 4, but considering that this is her favorite tournament on her best surface, the result is no surprise.

Perhaps the biggest news on the women’ side, if also not the biggest surprise, was French Open champion Francesca Schiavone’s opening round loss to Vera Dushevina, 6-7 (7-0), 7-5, 6-1 in almost 3 hours. 

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/francesca-schiavone-2010-french-open-champion/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/serena-survives-marathon-in-madrid/

Schiavone, like Federer, saw her seed higher than her world rank, presumably in deference to her French Open win, but the problems she has always had on grass persisted–namely her lack of power on serve.  Schiavone managed only 3 aces in 174 minutes and only won about 54 % percent of the points on her serve.

Fourth seeded Jelena Jankovic took out young Brit Laura Robson, the 16 year old already playing in her 3rd Wimbledon, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in 1 hour and 37 minutes.  Though Robson struggled mightily on 2nd serve, she played high risk, high reward tennis, and struck 45 minutes as opposed to only 20 unforced errors.  Robson represents the best hope for the British Isles on the female side in some time, and has much career ahead of her.

Young American 33rd seed melanie Oudin looked strong in her win over Anna-Lena Groenfeld, 6-3, 6-0.

American upstart Alison Riske of Pennsylvania, who made the semi-finals of her first ever pro level tour event, losing to Maria Sharapova two weeks ago, could not defeat Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer for a 2nd time this month, falling 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

American Varvara Lepchenko notched another major victory, winning her opening match 6-4, 7-5 over Lucie Hradecka.

Justine Henin, after a 2 year absence from SW-19, won in her return, 6-3, 6-4 over Anastasija Sevastova.  Wimbledon is the only major that Henin has not won.  Fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters, who missed Roland Garros due to injury, won easily over Italian, Maria Elena Camerin, 6-0, 6-3.

Nadia Petrova, who shocked Venus at Roland Garros, won her opener, 6-4, 6-3 over German Tatjana Malek.

Shahar Peer easily over fallen star Ana Ivanovic, 6-3, 6-4.

Unlikely French quarter-finalist Yaroslava Shvedova over Polona Hercog, 6-1, 6-4.

German Angelique Kerber over India’s Sania Mirza, 6-4, 6-1.

Ekaterina Makarova, fresh off her win at AEGON last week, over Agnes Szavay 6-4, 7-6 (2).

Australian Jarmila Groth, a surprising participant in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, won her first match, 6-4, 6-3 over Renata Voracova.

American Bethanie Mattek-Sands fell to 2004 quarter-finalist, Karolina Sprem, 6-3, 6-4.

American Shenay Perry found a way in an extended third set, defeating Anastasiya Yakimova, 6-2, 4-6, 9-7.

Other winners included Vera Zvonareva, Alona Bondarenko, Kristina Barrois, Marion Bartoli, Kristen Flipkens, Alicia Molik, Andrea Hlavackova, Petra Martic, Aleksandra Wozniak, Alya Kudravtseva, Yung-Jan Chen, Maria Kirilenko, Alisa Kleybanova, Greta Arn and Tsvetana Pironkova.

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Serena Williams (above).

Victorious Samantha Stosur (above).

Serena dominated Shahar Peer this morning, 6-2, 6-2 in 1 hour and 5 minutes, advancing to the quarter-final round at Roland Garros for the 7th time in 10 years, where she will face Samantha Stosur, the 7th seed and heavy under dog today who just sent Justine Henin packing.  Stosur broke Henin in the 9th game of the 3rd set, and then served out the match, winning 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 in 1 hour and 46 minutes for the biggest win in her career.  And you know what?  We kind of called it.  On both counts.

(1) Serena vs. (18) Shahar Peer

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Serena should win fairly handily, though Peer’s playing great tennis.  This is a very interesting matchup, especially on Peer’s end.  I hear that in Israel everything stops when she plays, like in Japan, when Ichiro has an at bat, and there are televisions on showing her playing literally everywhere.  That’s enormous pressure.  Serena seems to be in top condition, though she did have a mental lapse for an entire set in round 3 versus Pavlyuchenkova.  Serena seems to want this title though, even if she has to go through Henin and Jankovic before even playing the final.  A victory in this major would give her 2 legs of the slam, with the hardest one for her already under her belt.  Serena is playing for history.  I hate to jinx it, but history might be in trouble.

(22) Henin vs. (7) Stosur

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Not so fast, Henin bandwagon.  Stosur is going to come to play.  You wouldn’t think Paris was best suited for an Aussie, but Sam is best here on the red clay.  Henin has played well overall, but people aren’t quivering in fear like they once were.  And Henin had a tough weekend courtesy of Maria Sharapova.  I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that the classy Australian can take the Belgian waffle.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/mondays-round-of-16-action-at-roland-garros-lady-pics/

Serena’s match stats:

 
 
     Williams (USA)   Peer (ISR)
 
         
  1st Serve % 24 of 40 = 60 % 43 of 65 = 66 %
 
  Aces 6 0
 
  Double Faults 1 4
 
  Unforced Errors 20 21
 
  Winning % on 1st Serve 18 of 24 = 75 % 19 of 43 = 44 %
 
  Winning % on 2nd Serve 9 of 15 = 60 % 9 of 18 = 50 %
 
  Winners (Including Service) 24 10
 
  Receiving Points Won 37 of 65 = 57 % 13 of 40 = 33 %
 
  Break Point Conversions 6 of 15 = 40 % 2 of 4 = 50 %
 
  Net Approaches 4 of 5 = 80 % 4 of 5 = 80 %
 
  Total Points Won 64 41
 
   Fastest Serve Speed 202 KMH 172 KMH
 
   Average 1st Serve Speed 172 KMH 158 KMH
 
   Average 2nd Serve Speed 138 KMH 138 KMH

Stosur/Henin match stats:

 
 
     Henin (BEL)   Stosur (AUS)
 
         
  1st Serve % 45 of 81 = 56 % 44 of 81 = 54 %
 
  Aces 4 2
 
  Double Faults 7 7
 
  Unforced Errors 29 33
 
  Winning % on 1st Serve 32 of 45 = 71 % 29 of 44 = 66 %
 
  Winning % on 2nd Serve 14 of 29 = 48 % 21 of 30 = 70 %
 
  Winners (Including Service) 14 26
 
  Receiving Points Won 31 of 81 = 38 % 35 of 81 = 43 %
 
  Break Point Conversions 3 of 7 = 43 % 4 of 6 = 67 %
 
  Net Approaches 6 of 8 = 75 % 15 of 19 = 79 %
 
  Total Points Won 77 85
 
   Fastest Serve Speed 179 KMH 188 KMH
 
   Average 1st Serve Speed 163 KMH 168 KMH
 
   Average 2nd Serve Speed 141 KMH 146 KMH

For Henin, the loss broke a string of 24 straight victories at Roland Garros.  The loss must be a huge disappointment, coming at what has become her most successful venue.  But for Henin, Wimbledon is around the corner–the only major she has not won.

Stosur and Serena will now meet in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.  Serena and Venus will play their quarter-final doubles match today against Radwanska/Kirilenko on court 1.

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

 

Will the last remaining American male, Robby Ginepri (above), be waiving goodbye to Paris tommorow?

Court Philippe Chatrier

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Robby Ginepri vs. (3) Novak Djokovic

This is a tough ask for Ginepri, on top of the tough ask he improbably pulled off on Saturday, topping former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in 5 sets.  Ginepri’s fitness after a 5 set match is not a question.  This one should come down to a big talent mismatch, as the others in this head to head have.  The Djoker is 4-0 lifetime, and has yet to lose a set to Ginepri, ever.  He even handed Ginepri the most lopsided loss in his career at Roland Garros way back in 2005, 6-0, 6-0, 6-3 in just 1 hour and 18 minutes.  This match is Djokovic’s to lose, but it’s hard to pencil in the Serb because of his poor conditioning and always say quit attitude.

(1) Serena vs. (18) Shahar Peer

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Serena should win fairly handily, though Peer’s playing great tennis.  This is a very interesting matchup, especially on Peer’s end.  I hear that in Israel everything stops when she plays, like in Japan, when Ichiro has an at bat, and there are televisions on showing her playing literally everywhere.  That’s enormous pressure.  Serena seems to be in top condition, though she did have a mental lapse for an entire set in round 3 versus Pavlyuchenkova.  Serena seems to want this title though, even if she has to go through Henin and Jankovic before even playing the final.  A victory in this major would give her 2 legs of the slam, with the hardest one for her already under her belt.  Serena is playing for history.  I hate to jinx it, but history might be in trouble.

(24) Thomaz Bellucci vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

One previous encounter, which Nadal won in straights, but Bellucci took a set to a tie-breaker, and kept Rafa on court for almost 3 hours.  Bellucci has had a checkered clay court season, and though he is 22-12 on the year, he hasn’t reallly put much of a win streak together, hasn’t won a tournament, and hasn’t beaten anyone of note.  And David Ferrer completely smoked him a couple of weeks ago, a bad sign for the Brazilian in a matchup against Nadal.  For Nadal, it will be 3 best of 5 set matches in four days, and cumulative toll has always brought his level down some, with his creaky knees.  It would be nice if Bellucci took a set from Nadal, who is yet to lose one at Roland Garros this year.  And in a perfect world, Bellucci would take 3.

(4) Jelena Jankovic vs. (23) Daniela Hantuchova

Jaja versus Dani Hani…what can we say?  Hantuchova is usually loathe to win a big match, and the surface suits Jankovic to a tee, she of the Gael Monfils school of hard court sliding.  I wish I felt DH had a shot, and I know she will get opportunities because of Jankovic’s horrendous serve, but Hantuchova doesn’t seem mentally tough enough to pull it off. 

Court Suzanne Lenglen

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(22) Jurgen Melzer vs. Teimuraz Gabashvili

I saw both of these players up close and personal at the US Open in 2008.  Melzer, I thought was overmatched, but scratched out an incredible 5 set win versus Feliciano Lopez.  Gabashvili was also overmatched, and played steady, but lost to Stanislas Wawrinka (by the way, we sat next to Stan’s wife–much fitter than Mirka if you were wondering).  Gabashvili has sort of caught lightning in a bottle here, while Melzer, has steadily improved to the point where he is taking out very legitimate clay courters (David Ferrer).  Melzer has arrived.  I like him tomorrow, big.  It is very unlikely that Gabashvili will have another incredible day on his serve, which carried him against Roddick.

(22) Henin vs. (7) Stosur

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Not so fast, Henin bandwagon.  Stosur is going to come to play.  You wouldn’t think Paris was best suited for an Aussie, but Sam is best here on the red clay.  Henin has played well overall, but people aren’t quivering in fear like they once were.  And Henin had a tough weekend courtesy of Maria Sharapova.  I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that the classy Australian can take the Belgian waffle.

(7) Fernando Verdasco vs. (19) Nicolas Almagro

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Let’s hope Verdasco wins.  It would set up a very interesting quarter-final between him and Nadal, who he is very tired of losing to.

Jarmila Groth (Aus) vs. Yaroslava Shvedova (Kaz)

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Watch this match between unheard ofs, in which one will become a major quarter-finalist become the match of the day.  I wish I could tell you something about these two, but I can’t muster much.  Shvedova has a higher profile than Groth, ranked # 36 in he world.  But Groth has 2 things going for her.  She beat Shvedova at Wimbledon in 2008 in what has been their only match to date.  And Groth is hotter.

Groth (above).

All in all, I thought the Sunday RO16 matchups were way more interesting and competitive than tomorrow’s will be, but at least we don’t have to watch NBC edit our sport tomorrow.

–Crack (http:crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Despite dropping the second set 6-1, Serena won today, playing singles matches on consecutive days.  She defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 29th seed 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 in 1 hour and 48 minutes.

 
 
     Williams (USA)   Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
 
         
  1st Serve % 53 of 78 = 68 % 47 of 82 = 57 %
 
  Aces 5 2
 
  Double Faults 6 4
 
  Unforced Errors 27 18
 
  Winning % on 1st Serve 36 of 53 = 68 % 30 of 47 = 64 %
 
  Winning % on 2nd Serve 10 of 19 = 53 % 12 of 31 = 39 %
 
  Winners (Including Service) 34 22
 
  Receiving Points Won 40 of 82 = 49 % 32 of 78 = 41 %
 
  Break Point Conversions 5 of 11 = 45 % 3 of 8 = 38 %
 
  Net Approaches 14 of 20 = 70 % 11 of 15 = 73 %
 
  Total Points Won 86 74
 
   Fastest Serve Speed 196 KMH 183 KMH
 
   Average 1st Serve Speed 169 KMH 172 KMH
 
   Average 2nd Serve Speed 131 KMH 140 KMH

Serena will next play 18th seed Shahar Peer, who ran her record to 7-2 versus French woman Marion Bartoli, the 13th seed.  In what could be a lucky result affecting Venus Williams, sizzling hot French woman Aravane Rezai, who looked like a terrible matchup for Venus based on the Madrid final, was stopped in the conclusion of her third round match with Nadia Petrova, 10-8 in the 3rd.  Petrova and Venus will square off in the round of 16.

This afternoon, Serena and Venus, the top ranked doubles team, will face Hantuchova/Wozniacki.  Hantuchova is into the round of 16 in singles, defeating Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, 7-5, 6-3 earlier this morning.

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Court Philippe Chatrier

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(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

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(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…

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(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),

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)