Seeds struggles on seventh day of Roland Garros.

The first Saturday of the French Open saw some top players struggle why others soared into the last 16.

Fourth seed Petra Kvitova was first onto Chatrier and in the first continued to cruise as she has been doing throughout the entire tournament, as her big game fired winner to race to claim the set 6-2. In the second set her 109th ranked Russian opponent Nina Bratchikova was able to expose the flaws in the Czech’s game, especially her movement. Bratchikova was enjoying her equal best run a major, matching her third round result from the Australian Open this year, but was unable to carry her momentum into the third set as Kvitova returned her first set form blasting the 26-year-old off the court 6-1 in the third.

Matching her third round results from the last two slams, American Christina McHale pushed defending champ and seventh seed Li Na all the way in their third round match, before succumbing to the pace of shot from the Chinese veteran. On a surfaces that suites her game so well, McHale was able to get a break in the eighth game of the first set and then serve it out 6-3. From then on in however it was all Li Na as she crafted points beautifully, denying McHale the opportunity to join the last 16 with compatriots Sloane Stephens and Varvara Lepchenko. Li Na raced thorugh the final sets to post a 3-6 6-2 6-1 victory. While the former Uzbekistanian Lepchenko upset 2010 champion and last years runner up 8-6 in the final set of their third round meeting

The seventh section of the draw featured Serena Williams and ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki, and produced for us the surprising fourth round clash between Arantxa Rus and Kaia Kanepi. Rus, who famoulsy saved two match points to defeat Kim Clijsters in the second round of last years French Open survived the test of 2011 form clay-courter and 25th seed Julia Goerges, who complained about a lack of light in the final set and took medical time out(s) to prolong the match hoping for it to be delayed until tomorrow unfortunately  for the German her  questionable tactics were not successful as she fell 6-7 6-2 2-6 to the young Dutch woman. Kaia Kenepi’s biggest opponent in her match against former world number one Wozniacki was her own brain as she let slip match points for a 6-1 6-2 victory and was eventually able to nudge out a 6-1 6-7 6-3 win against her Danish opponent, he bought her gamesmanship to the court in what has been dubbed a “McEnroe-esque” performance, complaining of line calls as early as the second point of the match.

Maria Sharapova continues to roll through her increasingly easier draw defeating 2011 surprise packet Peng Shuai 6-2 6-1.

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The city of Lights: Roland Garros draw break down and predictions

ImageFinally the second slam of the year has arrived! And boy do things look different from four months ago in Melbourne! The most notable change is Caroline Wozniacki, from top seed in the past seven slams now seeded, and ranked, 9th in the world. Serena Williams has turned her season around from its dire start, brought upon her by an ankle injury in Brisbane. Kerber now sit among the world elite in the top 10, rising from her ranking in the 90s just before last years US Open. Now lets get the prediction show on the road! 

First Quarter:

Lead by top seed and Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka, the first quarter is pretty lacklustre. You would assume that Dominika Cibulkova is all that stands between Azarenka and her maiden Roland Garros semi final, and you could be very correct in assuming that. I’m thinking that Azarenka could possibly be challenged by dangerous Canuk, Aleksandra Wozniak in round 3 and her round 4 and quarter final opponents are anyone’s guess! Ekatarina Makarova or Chanelle Sheepers are probably the most likely candidates for that quarter final appearance in my eyes, as I can see US Open Champ Sam Stosur falling early to someone the likes of Scheepers or Nadia Petrova 

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Predicted Quarter Final: [1] Victoria Azarenka vs Chanelle Scheepers 

Second Quarter:

The second quarter, in my eyes, is the most interesting and possibly difficult to predict, with top players scatted all of the place we could see some classic early match ups if we keep our fingers crossed, with the likes of Aga Radwanska, Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic, Sara Errani, Angie Kerber, Flavia Pennetta and Marion Bartoli. Its pretty much anyone’s quarter and will most likely comedown to, who wants it more? There are also some looming dark horses throughout the quarter who could cause some upsets. I’m fairly confident Venus Williams will be able to raise her level to be able to make it into the quarters and her opponent could be decided by the Kerber/Pennetta thrid round match up!

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Predicted Quarter Final – Venus Williams vs [10] Angelique Kerber 

Third Quarter

Featuring defending champ Li Na and Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova the third quarter is also one of great interest. The two top seeds in the quarter could both face tough early challenges from the likes of Sorana Cirstea, Christina McHale, Mona Barthel, Urszula Radwanska and Monica Niculescu which have the potential to cause some early upsets and spice up the draw a little. 2010 Champion Francesca Schiavone and 2010 dual grand slam runner-up Vera Zvonareva I see getting ready for Wimbledon early, as I predict first round upsets for both at the hands of Kimiko Date Krumm and Timea Babos respectively. 

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Predicted Quarter Final – [7] Li Na vs Yanina Wickmayer 

Fourth Quarter:

The fourth quarter is clearly lead by title favourite Serena Williams, who incidentally has not lost a match on clay – green, blue or red – all year, and the draw Gods have been relatively kind on the younger Williams sister who could and should advance into the quarter final stage without too much trouble. Of course one of the two player to take a set off Williams this clay season, Caroline Wozniacki, could be a hazard for her in the fourth round if Wozniacki were to survive her tricky draw, and with a touch and go ankle. The lower section of the final quarter features Stuttgart and Rome champ Maria Sharapova, however on unfavourable conditions I could see Sharapova bombing out early to a clay court specialist like Polona Hercog, or even a player like Pavlyuchenkova or Kirilenko if the are inspired enough.

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Predicted Quarter Final – [5] Serena Williams vs [2] Maria Sharapova 

Quarters

[1] Victoria Azarenka vs Chanelle Scheepers 
I don’t think this one needs that much explaining…Vika in 2

Venus Williams vs [10] Angelique Kerber 
 
Quarterenus could show up again for the fourth time this year and I think that Kerber will be too consistent for Venus Williams, if its dry and the courts are playing fast Venus could sneak this one out but I wont hold be breath…Kerber in two tight sets 

[7] Li Na vs Yanina Wickmayer
 
Li Na has been pretty quietly been having a nice year and I think that she is more than capable of making the semis here, and really if she plays her tennis she can, Yanina could prove difficult though…Li in two easy sets after dropping a tight first set 

[5] Serena Williams vs [2] Maria Sharapova
 
See Madrid 2012…Serena in two 

Semis 

[1] Victoria Azarenka vs [10] Angelique Kerber 
Kerber would need to produce one of the performances of her life to pull this off, could she? Yes she could but will she? I don’t think so, Vika should be able to make back to back slam finals but anything is possible…Vika in two tight sets 

[7] Li Na vs [5] Serena Williams
Potential to be the match of the tournament, Li always raises her game against the top player and can see this being   a classic, I hope my expectations don’t get ruined by a total white wash, once again more finger crossing is needed! My prediction is Serena in three tight sets after saving some match points ala ’05 AO SF and ’09 Wimby SF, book it

Final 

[1] Victoria Azarenka vs [5] Serena Williams 
 
“When I play my best, I’m very hard to beat” – Serena Williams. Serena in two tight sets, much closer than Madrid something like 7-5 7-6 

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Kerber, Goerges set for Rome battle

ImageGermany is rapidly becoming to dominating force of women’s tennis with three players inside the top 15 and another two inside the worlds top 30. Two of the German stars, Angelique Kerber and Julia Goerges will face off in the third round of the Rome Premier 5 tournament, both advancing with straight set victories. 

Following a sluggish start to the tournament, Kerber was eager to have an easier ride in the second round as she rapidly races towards the worlds top 10. Up against American Vania King, who is enjoying one of her best seasons to date, Kerber was not broken once in the match which she prevailed in 6-3 6-2 in 78 minutes. 

Compatriot Julia Goerges also enjoyed a solid win, over 7th seed Marion Bartoli. Goerges dropped one less game than Kerber, winning 6-3 6-1, and needed the same amount of time to dispatch her opponent. Goerges is looking to regain the form she found during the clay season last year and bring her ranking back nearer the world elite.

Coming into the tournament world number three, Agnieszka Radwanska had only lost six matches all year, all of which came at the hands world number one Victoria Azarenka. Petra Cetkovska was keen to break this streak and improve her head to head to 4-0 against the Pole, and that she did prevailing in three tough sets 6-4 4-6 6-1. 

Other results saw home favourites advance to the third round with a straight set win over American teenager Sloane Stephens while Sorana Cirstea made light work of Sofia Arvidsson. 

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