Sunday, May 24, 2009

Roland Garros 2009

Women's Draw
Defending Champion: Ana Ivanovic

Quarter 1

Debuting as the top seed in a Slam, Lil Sis Dinara has made great strides the past couple of weeks in claycourt tuneups. She is definitely ripe for a major win, with two finals appearances in the past 12 months. However, the 'can-she-do-it?'' mentality can not be ignored. Her draw is littered with the dangerous Jie, Indian Wells winner Vika, and defending champion Ana. I'm betting once she survives these two tests, another final show is in the offing.

QF Match: Dinara vs Vika

Quarter 2

I would like to call this section the 'free-for-all' part of the draw. Venus' path to the final 8 is brutally difficult, plus we're playing on clay, which has never really been her strong point. She opens with Bethanie, then potentially takes on Sabine, followed by specialist Gisela, a resurgent Amelie, or last week's finalist, Alona. Either way, it's a grind through and through.

Nadia, also in a renaissance, while compatriot Vera looks like she has fully recovered from that ankle injury of hers. And did I mention someone named Maria Sharapova is unseeded in the draw? Two QF spots definitely up for grabs here with no clear favorites.

QF Match: Alona vs Nadia

Quarter 3

It would've been so easy to pick Jelena Jankovic here, if only her recent results were good. Her grinding and retrieving skills would have been fit for the red dirt, but her coach gave up all of those skills for muscle an power instead. She will be facing Caroline, my favorite rising player of the moment. Clean striker plus an excellent cross-corut drop volley. She's a looker too :)

The lower section of the draw features players I can't just reliably put my betting horse on. Daniela, Elena D, Marion and Francesca. Depends on breakfast, but it's hard to predict if any of these talented players will bring their A-game to Paris. I'll pick Elena (again!) just for sheer favoritism.

QF: Caroline vs Elena

Quarter 4

Serena hobbles into Paris, but don't let that stop her from trying to capture the title here - it's the only Slam she has won once (4xAO, 2xW, 3x US). She believes she's the best player on tour, and rankings don't really matter. It's a less humble Nadal-fortitude, but the right one. She doesn't play for show, but plays to win. She'll have to summon up all her magic to create a fantastic run in the City Of Lights, and her draw is far from easy. Flavia lurks in 4R, and perhaps an upset by Chinese Shuai is not too improbable.

My pick for RG 2009? Svetlana Kuznetsova. It's hard to put money on here (see reference to the rest of the Russian Squadron), but it's about time to pay respect to her excellent claycourt skills, plus she finally won a title in Stuttgart. That should count for something.

QF Match: Svetlana vs Flavia


Men's Draw
Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal

Quarter 1

The introductions should sound like this: In the red corner, undefeated in Paris, with only 5 losses on clay, stands Rafael Nadal. His quest for 5 straight wins is definitely the talk of this season. He however, was not gifted with an easy draw. He gets Ferrer and Verdasco in the quarters. Then again, this is clay, and he is Nadal. Should be an easy pass into the second week.

Lone unseeded 2008 QFinalist Gulbis has had a trashy year following, and though I will be cheering for him, I don't expect that he'll get past the second round yet again.

QF Match: Nadal vs Verdasco

Quarter 2

Murray has go to be the biggest question mark to tennis quadrumvirate this Grand Slam. Nadal and Djokovic have turned out consistent results, and Federer comes from a spirited win in Madrid. Murray, whose been the star to watch since late last year, was nowhere to be found. So, where does that place him in Paris? In a really dodgy part of the draw - he faces claycourter Chela in the opening round, then Tipsarevic in or Montanes further on. It could be the on/off Gonzalez or usually off Safin later on, or French favorite Simon. Murray shouldn't really worry about the 4R/QF, it's either he goes home early, or he makes it to the semis, where Nadal awaits.

QF Match: Cilic vs Youzhny

Quarter 3

In the light of Murray's rise to #3, and Federer's slump *at* #2, it was DJokovic who was forgotten. Lo and behold who has put up a consistent (runner-up) charge this summer. Two RUs, 1 title and 1 SF. I'mm definitely impressed on how he's built up the endurance and resistance to last that long on the dirt, plus his very close SF loss in Madrid puts him in this Slam's short list. His draw is relatively easy, and wait for the fireworks to come on the second week.

QF Match: Monaco vs Djokovic

Quarter 4

As mentioned above, what does Federer's win in Madrid do? It puts the rivalry back into full swing, it puts Roger as part of the contender's list, but it doesn't change the fact that Nadal is heads-and-shoulders above the competition. Federer better save energy for that SF clash with Djokovic, and his relatively easy draw makes tennis fans salivate for that encounter. Hopefully that winner of the duel wins the whole tournament.

Oh by the way, given Roddick's good form on clay recently, I expect him to win 2 matches on clay - something he's never done since 2001.

QF Match: Melzer vs Federer

3 talkbacks:

feedalvin said...

You're 1 out of 8 sa men's, and 2 out of 8 sa women's draw... Najinx mo yata:P

monsterboy said...

3 naman sa womens....

But yes, you're right - it's a disaster! Pero baka manalo ako ng Fantasy League, hahaha.

feedalvin said...

ah onga, nakaabot pala sa qf si Vika (yup, close din ako sa kanya haha)

You still organize the FL's? Di na ako nakakapunta sa All Tennis All The Time lately eh