Tuesday, May 31, 2011

French Open: Fourth Round Report

As I type this, the top five seeds are still alive in the draw. Of course 4th seed Andy Murray still has not officially moved on from the fourth round as he is currently 2-sets all with 15th seed Viktor Troicki and will play a one-man-takes-all set. Other top seeds such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Robin Soderling notched straight-set and relatively drama-free wins. Nadal beat veteran Ivan Ljubicic while Federer took down countryman and 14th seed Stan Wawrinka. Djokovic and Soderling defeated a pair of Frenchmen, 13th seed Richard Gasquet and 18th seed Gilles Simon.

The only Frenchman left in the draw, 9th seed Gael Monfils, made it worthwhile for his country though as he pushed 7th seed David Ferrer to five sets and winning 8-6 in the dramatic final set after blowing three prior match points earlier on. Fabio Fognini also made a valiant effort against another Spaniard Albert Montanes winning 11-9 in the fifth set after sustaining a muscle injury late in the final set severely hampering his movement. Despite his win, he had to default on his next match giving his opponent, Djokovic, a free ride into the semifinals. Finally, Juan Ignacio Chela also won in five sets against Alejandro Falla.

Quarterfinal Preview
Rafael Nadal vs. Robin Soderling
Andy Murray or Viktor Troicki vs. Nicolas Almagro Juan Ignacio Chela
Roger Federer vs. David Ferrer Gael Monfils
Novak Djokovic d. Mikhail Youzhny Fabio Fognini

As you can see, my predictions were a bit off only getting the usual suspects correct. Now depending on the result of Murray-Troicki, there'll either be all top four seeds in the quarters or there'll be two Serbians. Either way, it's fascinating. Djokovic continues his unbeaten run this year, but it's Federer who probably has the more impressive record of making his 28th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal. In the end scheme of things, I'm still predicting a Nadal-Djokovic final with the Spaniard winning.

Not even sure where to start with the women. How about the fact that the top three seeds are gone with 3rd seed Vera Zvonareva going down to 14th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova? Truly that was the one lone "upset" in terms of the lower ranked player beating a higher one. Perhaps 6th seed Li Na winning against 9th seed Petra Kvitova could be looked at as an upset based on the forms these ladies have shown the past few months, but give all credit to Li Na for gutting this one out. 15th seed Andrea Petkovic continues her meteoric rise reaching the quarters.

The rest of the field look at once expected and at the same time completely surprising. There's Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli who has never done so well here, but move on after Gisela Dulko retired from their match. There is the pair of former French Open champions in 5th seed Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova taking out 10th seed Jelena Jankovic and 28th seed Daniela Hantuchova. And finally, there's 7th seed Maria Sharapova outlasting 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Quarterfinal Preview
Caroline Wozniacki Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Sam Stosur Marion Bartoli
Francescha Schiavone vs. Vera Zvonareva Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Victoria Azarenka vs. Petra Kvitova Na Li
Maria Sharapova vs. Kim Clijsters Andrea Petkovic

Clearly, I messed up in my predictions, so moving on. Who is the favorite now? I don't even know. I'd probably give the edge to the former slam champions especially as they've all looked pretty good the past week or so. If Sharapova does manage to win here though, she completes a Career Grand Slam. As for the others, they can most definitely win as well and crazier things have ALREADY happened so I wouldn't be surprised about ANYTHING. Right now, I'm rooting for Svetlana.

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