Roland Garros WTA awards: Clay Queen, Cinderella, Underachiever, Headcase, Biggest Choker


Women’s Tennis Blog’s contributor Omair is known for his statistical approach to tennis, but now he’s summing up the claycourt season, awarding the WTA players titles based on their performance at Roland Garros 2012. Do you agree with Omair’s titles? Feel free to comment!

Maria Sharapova – CLAY QUEEN

Having won Stuttgart and Rome, Sharapova was 11-1 on clay coming into the French Open, and she made it 18-1, her lone loss coming at the hands of Serena Williams on the blue clay of Madrid.

Sara Errani – CINDERELLA

Although Errani was the claycourt wins leader entering the French Open, she had never been beyond the second round of the tournament in her last four attempts, had been past the third round of a Grand Slam only once in the last eighteen majors (quarterfinals at this year’s Australian Open) and was 0-28 against Top 10 players. It all changed at this year’s Franch Open, she not only reached her first Grand Slam final, but in doing so recorded her first two victories over Top 10 players. Although she fell short to Sharapova in the final, she had a great run to the championship match.

Samantha Stosur – UNDERACHIEVER

Stosur’s game is best suited to clay and she is a great claycourt player as is evidenced by her record at Roland Garros – she has been to the semifinals or better for three of the past four years, including this year’s semifinal. She is one of the fittest athletes on the Tour at the moment, and with her game she no doubt was an underachiever.

Petra Kvitova – HEADCASE

Petra Kvitova made it to her first Roland Garros semifinal, losing in straight sets to eventual champion Maria Sharapova. Kvitova has the most complete game of all the players on the Tour at the moment, but the problem with her is that she is very unpredictable, one moment she will be going winner after winner, and the other moment she will fail to put a ball inside the court for a long time. In her semifinal match she let a bad call get to her and lost her cool completely and won only two points after that.


Li Na has one of the most beautiful games one can imagine to watch, when on fire, but unfortunately she too is a headcase and a choker. You remember what happened at the Australian Open, right? Li was the defending champion at Roland Garros, she won a routine first set over Yaroslava Shevedova in the fourth round, but after that she only managed to win two games in the next two sets, and got bageled in the third set.

Yaroslava Shvedova, Varvara Lepchenko, Sloane Stephens and Dominika Cibulkova – OUTSTANDING PERFORMERS

Shvedova came through qualifying, ousted defending champion in the fourth round and was only two games away from blowing the reigning Wimbledon champion off the court in the quarterfinals, before her wheels fell off. Varvara Lepchenko, outlasted last year’s finalist and 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone in the third round before losing to Petra Kvitova in the fourth round. Stephens made it to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time before she ran into Samantha Stosur in the fourth round. Cibulkova played a great match in sending world No.1 Victoria Azarenka home in the fourth round but she ran out of fuel against Stosur in the quarters.


Virginie Razzano defeated the tournament favorite Serena Williams in the first round, handing Williams her first ever loss in the first round of a Grand Slam. She was mere two points from defeat in the second set but slowly clawed her way back to give us a stunning shock and a major upset.

Serena Wiliams, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska – BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE TOURNAMENT

Serena Wiliams was the favorite to win the Roland Garros title and had not lost a match on clay this year, but it all changed in her first-round match against Razzano, and the rest is history. Azarenka for most part of the year had not lost to anyone, but lost in the fourth round at Roland Garros, considering that she was the No.1 and in-form player, seeing her go home before the semis was a dissappointment. Radwanska for the most part of the year had not lost to anyone but Azarenka, and won Brussels coming into the French Open, but her loss in the third round where she failed to win more than three games against Kuznetsova, was a disappointment.


Angelique Kerber making it to her first Roland Garros quarterfinal, Kaia Kanepi beating Caroline Wozniacki to make it to the quarterfinals, Arantxa Rus defeating Julia Goerges in the third round, Petra Martic beating Marion Bartoli in the second round and then Anabel Medina Garrigues in the third round before falling to Kerber in the fourth round, and Klara Zakopalova making it to the fourth round where she fell to eventual champion Sharapova in three sets.

Which titles would you give to WTA players based on their Roland Garros performance? (photos: © Neal Trousdale)


  1. Great post. Just a small correction, Kerber made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Errani.

  2. I’m a bonafide Sharapova fan, but let’s wait a couple of more seasons before we call her a “clay queen,” although you seem to just be referring to this season. Obviously she’s improved, and made a project of doing so…but let’s see.

    Meanwhile, I suppose you could say Aga was a disappointment, but personally I’m surprised she’s climbed as high as she has. I don’t see her going any further. She strikes me has mainly about defense and caution, and I don’t think that will carry you to the top echelons. Speaking of Sharapova, I’ve seen few matches where the loser so outplayed the winner as between MS and AR in Miami this year.

  3. Ok, I have nothing against Sharapova but I wouldn’t call her clay queen either. She got lucky at Roland Garros because her path to the final was cleared for her but its not her fault that it went that way either. Like I said she got lucky this time around, so we’ll see next year if she deserves this title.

  4. Interesting article. I would put Errani into the outstanding performance category.

    Maria had a great season on clay however I agree that in Roland Garros her journey was trouble-free because her biggest rivals got beaten by someone else.


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