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Friday, May 30, 2014

Serena's Early Exit Opens the Door For Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic has already reached the semifinals here in Roland Garros three times.  Last year, she reached the quarterfinals.  So, with the early exit of Serena Williams, it opens the door for Jelena to get the semifinal slot on her side of the draw.

On paper, her most likely semifinal opponent is Simona Halep, who has never reached the semis or further in any grand slam, so Jelena is really tipped as a heavy favorite to get the finalist slot on this side of the draw.

She may meet fellow Serbian Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals, who is also on this side of the draw, and who is also hungry to get another French Open title.

Sara Errani and Andrea Petkovic are the likely opponents of Jelena before she reaches the semi's.

Simona Halep Must Show That She's A Contender

Simona Halep has quietly climbed the WTA rankings these past few months, and even without any major grand slam breakthrough, she has reached #4 in the rankings already.  Now, she has to prove that she deserves that rank by making a major breakthrough her in Roland Garros, at least, on her side of the draw.

Ranking-wise, she is the favorite to win and on paper, Petra Kvitova should be her toughest opponent.  However, based on FO history, Ana Ivanovic, who is in this side of the draw, should take advantage of the lack of major clay courters on their side of the draw.  

Her other potential tough opponents also include Sloane Stephens and Petra Kvitova.

The Early Exit of Radwanska Opens the Door for Angelique Kerber

As Agnieszka Radwanska is shocked by Ajla Tomljanovic today, her side of the draw opens a bit and allows former quarterfinalist here, Angelique Kerber of Germany, a good chance of taking the semifinal slot for this section of the draw.

However, she still has to defeat Daniela Hantuchova (#31) of Slovakia in the third round and possible opponents include Eugenie Bouchard of Canada (#16) and Carla Suarez Navarro (#15) - all potential semi-finalists as well.  All these four women can take the semifinal slot for this side of the draw.

Claire Feuerstein: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Claire Feuerstein of France (#120) reached the second round of the 2014 French Open.  She defeated Olga Govortsova of Belarus (#105) in the first round 75 61.

Then, she lost to Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia (#31) in the second round 61 64.

Julia Goerges: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Julia Goerges of Germany (#107) defeated Michelle Larcher de Brito of Puerto Rico (#117) 62 63 in the first round of the 2014 French Open.

She loses to Eugenie Bouchard of Canada (#16) in the second round 62 26 16. She has reached the third round here the past two years.

She was ranked as high as #18 in 2012.

Timea Bacsinszky: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland (#112) reached the second round of the 2014 French Open after defeating Maryna Zanevska of Ukraine (#136) 61 64 in the first round.

She lost to Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain (#15) in the second round 75 16 64.

Taylor Townsend: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Third Round of the 2014 French Open

Taylor Townsend of the US (#205) reaches the third round of the 2014 French Open.  She defeated compatriot Vania King (#65) in the first round 75 61, then she edged Alize Cornet of France (#21) in the second round 64 46 64.

She will meet former French Open semifinalist Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain (#15) in the third round.

Tamira Paszek: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Tamira Paszek of Austria (#155) reached the second round of the 2014 French Open by defeating Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium (#93) 62 76(5).

She lost to Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia (#10) in the second round, 36 46.

Pauline Parmentier: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Third Round of the 2014 French Open

Pauline Parmentier of France (#145) shocks Roberta Vinci of Italy (#20) in the first round 36 63 62. Then she continues her winning ways, overcoming Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan (#69) in the second round 16 63 63.

Her next opponent is just as tricky, Mona Barthel of Germany (#74), who is an up-and-coming rising star.

Kristina Mladenovic: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Third Round of the 2014 French Open

Kristina Mladenovic of France (#103) reaches the third round of the 2014 French Open after shocking everyone by defeating Li Na of China (#2) in the first round 75 36 61 and Alison Riske of the US (#45) 76(5) 36 63 in the second round.

She will next meet German Andrea Petkovic (#27) in the third round.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tobias Kamke: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Tobias Kamke of Germany (#106) reached the second round of the 2014 French Open by defeating Miloslav Mecir of Slovakia (#211) 75 76(2) 76(1).

He lost to Marin Cilic of Croatia (#26) 36 63 36 06 in the second round.  He reached as high as #64 in 2011.

Diego Sebastian Schwartzmann: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Diego Sebastian Schwartzmann of Argentina (#109) reached the second round of the 2014 French Open by defeating Gastao Elias of Portugal (#178) 64 62 75.

He lost to Roger Federer of Switzerland (#4) in the second round 63 64 64.  He reached as high as #105 last year.

Facundo Bagnis: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Facundo Bagnis of Argentina (#143) reached the second round of the 2014 French Open by defeating Julien Bennetteau of France (#45) 61 62 16 36 1816 in the first round.

He lost to Ernests Gulbis of Latvia (#17) inn the second round 62 75 60.  He has reached as high as #112 in the world.

Aleksandr Nedovyesov: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan (#101) reached the second round of the 2014 French Open by defeating Somdev Devvarman (#96) of India 57 63 76(4) 63.

He lost to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic (#6) 67(4) 64 75 63.

He reached as high as #72 last month.

Pablo Cuevas: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay (#136) reached the second round of the 2014 French Open by defeating Matthew Ebden of Australia (#73) 61 62 63.

In the second round, he lost a tight five set match to Fernando Verdasco of Spain (#25) 64 76(6) 57 46 36.

Cuevas ranked as high as #45 in 2009.

Simone Bolelli: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Italian player Simone Bolelli (#150) reached the second round of the 2014 French Open by defeating fellow Italian Andrea Arnaboldi (#173) 64 64 62.

However, in the second round, he lost to Spaniard David Ferrer (#5) 62 63 62.  He has reached as high as #36 in 2009.

Axel Michon: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Axel Michon, currently ranked #206 in the world today, defeated Bradley Klahn (#71) of the US in the first round of the 2014 French Open 61 67(4) 75 61 64.

However, he lost to Kevin Anderson (#20) of South Africa 62 63 62 in the second round.

Andreas Haider-Maurer: Player Ranked Outside the Top 100 Who Reached the Second Round of the 2014 French Open

Andreas Haider-Maurer, currently ranked #104, reaches the second round of the 2014 French Open for the second time by defeating Daniel Brands of Germany (#131) 46 46 62 63 64.

Unfortunately, he lost to Ivo Karlovic of Croatia (#37) in the second round 75 63 64.  He ranked as high as #70 in 2011.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My French Open Memories

Today is the start of the 113th edition of the French Open and I was lucky to be there in the 102nd edition! Di pa ako marunong mag-French nuon so I experienced several times being snubbed by the snooty Parisian. 

At that time, I really thought I could go back the year after and the next, but since Roland Garros and Wimbledon are so close together, I had to choose only one of them, since it would be too expensive to stay in Paris and London for a month!

If only I had Janet Napoleses' millions, I wouldn't have to think twice!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

French Open 2014 Leading Female Contenders - Li Na

Although Li Na is in a difficult side of the draw, I still pick her to be dominant and get the semifinal slot of her side of the draw.  Her trip to the quarterfinals may not be as difficult as the others for the lack of marquee names but she may have to defeat Sara Errani or Jelena Jankovic to get to the semi's.

She has been performing well of late and thrives well in the limelight of a grand slam.  She could be one of the few women who can really challenge Serena Williams for the title.

French Open 2014 Leading Female Contenders - Ana Ivanovic

If I were a heterosexual male tennis fan, Ana Ivanovic would easily by my apple of the eye!  Not only could she pass for a ramp model, she is also a Grand Slam winner!  

Now that she has been playing well for the past few months, her name is once again on the radar, and since her grand slam win came in Roland Garros in 2008, and her luck to be on the easiest side of the 2014 draw - may help her get the semifinal slot - and maybe even more!

She may meet some very strong opponents though like Petra Martic, Lucie Safarova, Simona Halep and Svetlana Kuznetsova along the way, but I still pick her to be victorious in all those encounters.

Her most likely semifinal opponent is just as tough - 2014 Australian Open champion and former French Open champion - Li Na.

French Open 2014 Leading Female Contenders - Agnieszka Radwanska

Every Grand Slam, the fans of Agnieszka Radwanska are rooting for her to finally break the glass ceiling and win her first grand slam title. She's probably the best player in the women's tour now who doesn't yet have a grand slam title.
Will she be able to do it in Roland Garros this year? Well, she has a very good draw and I pick her to get the semi-final slot in her side of the draw.
She may meet some very tricky opponents though like Francesca Schiavone, Carla Suarez Navarro and Angelique Kerber - but knowing how cool and tenacious Agi is, I still pick her to be Serena's most likely opponent on their sides of the draw.

French Open 2014 Leading Female Contenders - Serena Williams

It looks like the French Open title for 2014 is for Serena Williams to lose.  She played really well this season by winning the Rome title, so it looks like she really wants to defend this title.

However, this is also the surface where she has lost in the first round - and  add to that the fact that she has probably the toughest draw among the top contenders - and as early as the second round, she may already meet some of the more talented and proficient clay court players. 

Her prospective opponents may include Garbine Muguruza, Roberta Vinci and Zheng Jie.  Maria Sharapova is also in her side of the draw - so it's really going to be war on Serena's side of the draw!

Friday, May 23, 2014

French Open 2014 Leading Male Contenders - Novak Djokovic

After being defeated by Rafa Nadal in the semi's of last year's French Open, I'm sure Novak Djokovic is raring to prove he still has what it takes to win in clay, something which he showed in the Rome Open two weeks ago.

He might have to do just that since Rafa will most likely be his finals opponent.  However, he also faces a parade of very talented players before he reaches that stage - most likely Kei Nishikori and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - and both are no pushovers on clay. Roger Federer will also most likely be his semi's opponent - so his work is cutout for him, if he wants another title.

French Open 2014 Leading Male Contenders

It's not like Roger Federer needs another Grand Slam title but the birth of another set of twins, a good run in Monte Carlo and a relatively easy draw, could help him achieve that. 

I pick him though to get the semifinal slot in his side of the draw as Tomas Berdych and Ernests Gulbis are his most likely difficult opponents before the semi's, then, he will most likely have to defeat Novak Djokovic then Rafael Nadal, if he wants Grand Slam title #18.

French Open 2014 Leading Male Contenders

For some players, so much can happen in one year. Stan Wawrinka reached the 4th round of the French Open last year, which is a respectable finish for a top 20 player, Stan's rank last year, but after making a breakthrough in Melbourne this year and ranked already very near the top, it would seem that Wawrinka's ascendancy has been meteoric.
Well, it does help that Stan has a relatively easy draw in the French Open this year, something which he should exploit to the hilt. His toughest opponents could be two Frenchmen Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet and Spanish player Feliciano Lopez.
Rafael Nadal will most likely be his semifinal opponent and it would be interesting if he can do what he did successfully in the Melbourne final again here in Paris.

French Open 2014 Leading Male Contenders

I wouldn't be surprised if Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic contest the French Open title this year as they have been the most consistent among all the players this clay season.

However, they both have the toughest draws as well, which is fitting I guess, since those who bid for the French Open title should meet the strongest opponents, at least on clay.

The two other Spanish players, Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer, who are themselves masters of clay, are in Nadal's side of the draw and he will most likely face both of them before the semi's.  And Stan Wawrinka, who did well in Monte Carlo, and broke through with a Grand Slam title earlier this year, should be his opponent in the semi's.

Even in the earlier rounds, Rafa has to work hard, as Paul-Henri Mathieu and Vasek Pospisil, both very talented players, are most likely opponents.

So it's going to be a tough fortnight for Rafa who might really have to fight if he wants a ninth French Open title.

Friday, May 9, 2014

WTA European Continental Rankings: as of May 10, 2014

This rankings are going to be used for my yearly fantasy tennis by continents.  For the continent of Europe and Africa, it will be held in November 2014.

Here are the top 32 players for the continent.  Four players from Africa will also be considered.  If none enter the top 28, they will occupy #'s 29-32.

Also, 4 players allowed to be entered per country.

#1 Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)

#2 Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

#3 Simona Halep (ROU)

#4 Petra Kvitova (CZE)

#5 Jelena Jankovic (SRB)

#6 Angelique Kerber (GER)

#7 Maria Sharapova (RUS)

#8 Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)

*********************************************************
#9 Sara Errani (ITA)

#10 Ana Ivanovic (SRB)

#11 Flavia Pennetta (ITA)

#12 Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)

#13 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)

#14 Sabine Lisicki (GER)

#15 Roberta Vinci (ITA) 

#16 Alize Cornet (FRA)

***********************************************************

#17 Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)

#18 Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)

#19 Kaia Kanepi (EST)

#20 Lucie Safarova (CZE)

#21 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)

#22 Sorana Cirstea (ROU)

#23 Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)

#24 Andrea Petkovic (GER)

*************************************************************

#25 Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)

#26 Klara Koukalova (CZE)

#27 Elina Svitolina (UKR)

#28 Garbine Muguruza (ESP)

#29 Channelle Scheepers (RSA)

#30 Ons Jabeur (TUN)

#31 Chanel Simmonds (RSA)

#32 Madrie Le Roux (RSA)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Felicidades Kei Nishikori!

Felicidades Kei Nishikori for winning this year's Barcelona Open! Amazing! Everyone's challenging the clay courters this year! 

The clay court season (Monte Carlo - Barcelona - Rome) used to be a Nadal-Nadal-Nadal affair in years past but now, guys whom I never expected to excel in this surface are winning the major events!! Imagine, Wawrinka won Monte Carlo (and he's not even acknowledged as a clay court specialist)!

Excited na tuloy ako to see who'll win Rome and of course - Roland Garros!