Preview for the women’s side of Roland Garros 2011

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Roland Garros 2011 has been awaited as a big occasion for world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki to win her maiden Grand Slam, or as a venue where Kim Clijsters will reassert the dominance of the “old generation”, or maybe as an unexpected place for Maria Sharapova to remind us what she’s made of. Let’s not forget defending champion Francesca Schiavone and an always-lurking possibility of an emergence of a lesser known player or new player in the limelight such as Petra Kvitova and Julia Goerges.

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki will play Kimiko Date Krumm in the first round, and then has possible matches against Daniela Hantuchova and the 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. In the quarterfinals the Dane could face last year’s runner-up Samantha Stosur. But let’s not overlook that world No.18 Julia Goerges, who largely owes her fame to the two recent victories over Wozniacki, is in the same quarter of the draw.

Third seed Vera Zvonareva is in the second quarter, as well as defending champion Francesca Schiavone, who failed to impress in the clay lead-up to the French Open but this week in Brussels she reached the semifinals where she lost to Wozniacki. The Italian’s first opponent will be Melanie Oudin. Jelena Jankovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Flavia Pennetta, Alisa Kleybanova and Nadia Petrova are also in this quarter.

In the third quarter of the draw is the 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic, as well as Li Na and younger guns such as Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova. Kvitova defeated Azarenka in the Madrid final, but this time just one of them can go further than the quarters. However, before that encounter, the ninth-ranked Kvitova has to beat Li, while Azarenka has Ivanovic on her way.

Second seed Kim Clijsters hasn’t played any tournaments on clay this season because of her wedding injury, but that should not be much of a problem for the Belgian, even though she’s actually making her first appearance at Roland Garros in five years and will have her ankle taped heavily. The biggest name in Clijsters’ quarter is seventh seed Maria Sharapova, who is actually not a good mover on clay, but her recent victory at the Premier-level tournament in Rome and her status of an established champion make her a hot contender. The most interesting first-round match-up in this quarter is between seed No.15 Andrea Petkovic and Bojana Jovanovski.

This is just a short overview, you’re more than welcome to add your thoughts about the draw in the comments!

Reminder: our reader Marine made a French Open prediction guest post here last month. (photos: Ralf Reinecke, © Neal Trousdale, Stephane Martinache)


  1. Once again, there is no clear winner at RG. Caroline’s game has few flaws for winning slams and isn’t that good on clay, Kim is not that ready and I don’t know about her motivation ahead of Wimbledon, it’s just impossible for Francesca to repeat last year luck with draw, Stosur is far from last years form. Sure, Azarenka, Kvitova, Petkovic and Goerges are in good form, but I don’t think they have it in their heads. Maria is playing well and has a Slam-winner head, and she could go far, unless she gets to play against a player that really knows how to play on clay, ’cause she just isn’t a good mover at all on this surface. As for my girls, I just don’t know what to say. These days you just never know. If they both reach last 16, I’d be more than pleased, but I’m not that sure about that. And too bad Bojana is drawn against Andrea, she could do something, but still Andrea is in great form and I’d guess it will all be in her hands and, mostly, head (Andrea’s).

  2. Mirjana, I agree with what you said, it’s very unpredictable, but somebody has to win 🙂 Someone will win, but it can be literally anyone. Personally, I’d like Ivanovic to win, in the final against Sharapova. 😀

  3. Hahaha that would be a beautiful match, in several reasons. 😀 But right now mostly Ana is spoiling the image.:/ Someone has to win, I just hope that that someone wins due to her great wins and game, not mostly luck with the draw.

  4. @ marija:

    Good analysis of the draw.

    @ mirjana: i think wozniaki will go all the way to the semis. furthermore, i think clijsters can move past maria cause she really knows her game and she has been a finalist here at RG and had almost won it against Davenport(if i am not wrong) in 2001. If clijsters gets to the quarters, where her possible opponent will be maria, clijsters will have played 4 matches and will have enough confidence and practice on clay to move maria around and give her trouble. but again that depends on how her ankle is working out to be….

    As far as other contenders are concerned, alot has been said about azarenka, but i dnt think she will go all the way. she is not that strong physically. her body has never supported her at big occasions. and for ivanovic and kuznetsova, they both have been badly out of form.

    Kvitova, i think has got what it takes to win the slam and i think she will be able to overcome Li Na (who like maria has no feet for clay) and azarenka. She is tough physically and mentally. but we have t see how her injury that she sustained at the challenger works out. I will be happy to see georges and china’s peng shuai go deep in the draw.

    As for Stousr, well on a given day, she can for sure beat anyone, lets see how things come out for her and the reigning french open champion Schiavone.

    Hoping for a real deserving champion.
    Btw Schiavone’s last year’s success was not by luck but due to the superb way she had played at the Roland Garros.though she could not carry that form. but she did play great.

  5. Marija, don’t read the third quarter analysis of the article mentioned by Alex!!! You won’t like it.

  6. Well, the writer of the article did say she wanted Ana to prove her wrong, and tbh, I think its a correct aussumtion to make.

  7. @ alex: well i dont think that was a really deep and detalied analysis. But there were some bold predictions there.

  8. Mirjana, that would be a beautiful match, but it’s far from a realistic option, since they are both in the same half of the draw. At best they can meet in the semis.

    Alex and Gregoire, I follow that blog and I know Emily from the beginning of her blogging. I will read her analysis later, now I’m in some rush…

    And about not looking at the draw, I think it can be useful to make a strategy, but not let the draw paralyze you.

  9. Having mentioned my predictions 🙂 I have to say that now I’d take Ana Ivanovic off that list and put Sharapova in her place. The situation in Ana’s team is pretty bad. In fact, she doesn’t really have a proper team. She seems to have a real issue with co-operation with coaches and plays way too few tournaments to get her in the rhythm. I don’t want to doom her chances here but I don’t see her going past QF and she certainly won’t be a serious threat to Caro in her current form. I think that her game has started to fall apart again. As for Caro, I’m not worried about her chances. Her preparation has been really good so she has a good chance now to win RG. I don’t believe much in Kvitova or Goerges because they don’t do well against the majority of the competition.

  10. I’m also worried about Ana. She is playing a lot better than in 2009 and begining of 2010, but she lacks concentration and consistensy which a good coach/team would definitely fix.

  11. This one is impossible to predict. I want Sharapova or Clijsters to win and I think Jankovic, Azarenka and Goerges could go far. Otherwise, I’m excited to see how it’s going to unfold.

    Marija, that would be a great final… especially since it’s been over three years since they played the Australian Open final! 🙂

  12. And we didn’t have to wait too long to see Ana going early. Having watched the match against Larsson I think she’s getting very close to her worst form. She started off a bit tentatively, then played great and totally lost the plot in the final set. I expected her to lose early but in the first round? Come on! She needs to get a coach like Guthard again if she doesn’t want to end up outside top 50 like last season.

  13. Marine, Ana is devastated! I don’t know what to say. This really is horrible, she’s in a maze and she can’t find a way out, and her team neither, obviously.


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