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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Urszula Radwanska: Past the Second Round Again

I only learned now that Urszula Radwanska is the older sister of Agnieszka Radwanska.  She has been playing in Wimbledon since 2008 and this year, it's her fourth time to get past the first round, as she routed American Edina Gallovits-Hall (#301) 62 61.  Urszula is currently ranked at #107, that's why she's featured here.

She will next meet Samantha Stosur of Australia (#22), so it's still a big if, if she can finally break through the second round on her fourth try!

Su Wei Hsieh: Past the First Round for the Fourth Time

Su-Wei Hsieh has had more success in the ladies' doubles than in the singles, with two grand slam titles to her name, including the 2014 Wimbledon crown.  She has now been past the first round of the singles for the fourth time today, as she won over Estonian Kaia Kanepi (#50) 64 61.

She has actually reached the third round before, as well.  It's going to be tough going though for Hsieh, as waiting for her in the second round, is in-form player Lucie Safarova (#6).

Silvia Soler-Espinosa: Yet Another Second Round Appearance in Wimbledon

Journeywoman Silvia Soler-Espinosa enters the second round of Wimbledon for the fourth time in a row.  She is featured here because she is currently ranked #102, and we are featuring players ranked outside the top 100, who reaches the second round or further of Wimbledon 2015.

Silvia defeated another veteran journeywoman in Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria, 26 62 75.  Will this be Silvia's chance to break into the third round?

Well, French Open sensation Timea Bacsinszky is waiting for her.  We'll see how Silvia fares.

Kristyna Pliskova Gets A Little Bit of Spotlight

Much of the spotlight between the Pliskova sisters has been on her other sister, but since Kristyna wins her first round match here in Wimbledon, and is currently ranked at #134, she gets a bit of news space in my blog, for up-and-coming players.

Kristyna won over compatriot Tereza Smitkova 36 75 75 and is set to meet Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round.

This is her second appearance in the second round of Wimbledon.  She was also here in 2012.

Jana Cepelova Posts Another Giant Kill

Outside of the spotlight of the grand slams, Jana Cepelova of the Czech Republic, currently ranked #106, defeated Serena Williams in the Family Circle Cup last year.  Here in the much bigger stage of Wimbledon, Jana shows that that victory was not a fluke, as she slew #3 player Simona Halep 57 64 63.

She will meet another Romanian in the second round, Monica Niculescu (#48), who is another tricky and crafty player.

Jana has reached as far as the third round here in Wimbledon.

Wimbledon 2015: Timea Bacsinszky an Unlikely Favorite

With the early exit of Simona Halep, her side of the draw is thrown into disarray and frankly, there is no clear favorite anymore to reach their semifinal slot.  I was betting on both Angelique Kerber and Timea Bacsinszky to be the ones most probable to take her place.  Interestingly, when I did their head-to-heads, Timea has an edge at 1-0.  

However, I do not know how well Timea plays on grass and if she can duplicate her feat at Roland Garros, but anyhow, since all these are based on an objective head-to-head, I pick Timea Bacsinszky to take the semi-final slot on her side now that Simona Halep has exited.

Svetlana Kuznetsova and Camila Giorgi are the other dark horses on this side of the draw.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wimbledon 2015: Petra Kvitova Still On Track for Another WImbledon Crown

I've always noticed that Petra Kvitova tends to find her game every time she's playing on grass, especially here on Wimbledon.  It's like she finds her killer instinct in full swing every time she's on a grass court.  

There are many worthy nemesis on her side of the draw, including last year's finalist, Eugenie Bouchard, but Genie has been underwhelming this grand slam season.  On paper, Alize Cornet and Casey Dellacqua are the other two players who have a chance at the semi-final slot for this side of the draw.

Petra's probable semi-final opponent could be Simona Halep, while either Maria or Serena should await her in the final.  This looks like a strong semi-final and final line-up for me.

Wimbledon 2015: Simona Halep Wants To Do Well in Wimbledon

Simona Halep is in one of the most crowded draws in this year's Wimbledon and just by virtue of reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year, I pick her as the player who should reach the semifinals among this very talented crop of players.

There are also so many crafty Germans in this side of the draw, including former finalist Sabine Lisicki, who should be one of Halep's challengers.  Angelique Kerber is another player who should give Simona a fight for that semifinal slot. Camila Giorgi is the other player who I think has a chance for a semi-final appearance.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Wimbledon 2015: Maria Tackles Tricky Opponents on Her Side of the Draw

Just like Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova's last two Wimbledons were not so good, falling to opponents who were better than her on the day.  However, Maria's current draw gives her a lifeline and a good chance of getting the semi-final slot.

She does have some possible tricky opponents which include the player who defeated her in the last French Open, Lucie Safarova. Andrea Petkovic and talented upstart Karolina Pliskova, are the other two.  Maria might have to come up with a Plan B this time, especially with Lucie, who has exploited the weaknesses in Maria's game, the last time they played.

Wimbledon 2015: Serena Halfway Through A True Grand Slam

Serena has just won the Australian and the French Open, so the idea of her winning Wimbledon this year seems very appealing as it would allow her to finally get a true grand slam (she has done it before but not in one specific year).

Problem is, Serena has lost in the earlier rounds the past two Wimbledons to players who were not even in the top 10 and just had a better day in the office than her.  To make matters most challenging, she is in a very tough draw!  There are five grand slam champions on her side, which includes her sister Venus, Francesca Schiavone, Victoria Azarenka, and Ana Ivanovic.

There is a possible match-up between her and sister Venus as well.  However, I pick Victoria Azarenka as her most likely biggest challenge.  All three women - Venus, Victoria and Ana - also have won over her before - so Serena has to watch her back to make sure she reaches the finals.

Wimbledon 2015: A Great Chance to Lift Another Grand Slam Trophy for the Maestro

Now that the maestro is in his favorite surface and that he won a warm up tournament leading to this year's Wimbledon, everyone is abuzz again of Roger Federer's chances of adding another grand slam to his already impressive collection.

His chances have been helped by fate putting him in a side of the men's draw where he can and should get the semifinal slot. He has had a more emphatic grass season than the other three guys he might meet prior to that semifinal, Gilles Simon, Tomas Berdych and Feliciano Lopez.

It's what happens after the semifinal where everything becomes more interesting - as possible opponents include Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, who I think are the other two most likely in-form top players right now in the men's draw - and who have the credentials to succeed in grass. 

Wimbledon 2014: Andy Murray A Fighting Chance for Second Wimbledon Title

Now that Rafael Nadal is not in the top 8 in the rankings, I'm sure everyone else in the draw, especially the top 4, are waiting in bated breath, on which side of the draw that he falls.  Even though Nadal has not been playing at a very high level, things could be different on the exact day that he meets a top opponent in his side of the draw.

In the last French Open, it was Novak Djokovic who had to neutralize Nadal at an earlier round of the grand slam. This time around, it's going to be Murray's turn.  David Ferrer is also on Nadal's side of the draw, but David is not really known to be a grass court specialist. It would be a great match-up if Nadal does face Murray in the quarterfinals.  However, this time around, even with the lopsided head to head, Murray should win this time.

The other dark horse could be Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wimbledon 2015: Milos Raonic Rises From Injury

I'm just happy that Milos Raonic is healthy and competitive again. With Stan Wawrinka as the other top 10 player in his side of the draw, I would say that this side of the draw is the weakest among all the four groups, in terms of grass court credentials - in short, I'm saying that anybody who wants to be in a grand slam semi-final in this side of the draw - this is your chance!
Well, Stan's grass credentials are iffy, although he reached the QFs last year, and is riding on a high from Roland Garros. Let's see if he makes a successful transition which Roger and Rafa have done before. Stan has yet to prove his consistency, unlike the other two.

Milos is coming from an injury, and although he performed well in the grass season, admittedly, the grand slam is another whole level of competition, so, we'll see soon enough if he's really ready to be battle-scarred. He is my pick though to grab the semi-final slot in this side of the draw.
My dark horses would be Richard Gasquet and Fernando Verdasco.

Wimbledon 2015: Novak Djokovic Searches for Third Wimbledon Crown

It is not uncommon for some of the top players to not play in any tune-up tournaments leading to a grand slam, especially during Wimbledon season when its lead-up is just very short. And I guess, Novak Djokovic wanted to have sometime out of the spotlight after losing in the French Open final.
He does appear to be more relaxed now, more confident, I just hope fatherhood hasn't dulled his killer instinct, especially during the most crucial moments of a championship game. That we would know once again as I still pick him to be the player to beat on his side of the top upper half of the draw.
Probably, his most difficult possible match-up would be against Kevin Anderson, who played well this grass season. Kei Nishikori still has to prove himself in grass. Other possible tough opponents for him would be two Aussies, veteran Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic. Anyhow, Novak should get the semi-final berth on his side of the draw.

Players to Watch: Hyeon Chung of South Korea

It has been a while since a male Korean player was in the top 100.  Hyung Taik Lee was the last one I remember and he reached as high as #36.  This time, there is a good buzz around Chung Hyeon, who, from out of nowhere, is already at #78!  To think he wasn't even in the main draw of the French Open, just over a month ago.  Just shows to you how rapid his rise has been!  

Yes, he's in the main draw of Wimbledon!  I do hope they show his match on cable!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fantasy Tennis: Top 32 Pairs for 2015 Women's Doubles World Championships

Here are the top 32 seeds for the 2015 Women's Doubles World Championships -

#1 Petra Kvitova / Lucie Safarova (CZE) - 9
#2 Maria Sharapova / Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) - 12
#3 Serena Williams / Venus Williams (USA) - 17
#4 Angelique Kerber / Andrea Petkovic (GER) - 24
#5 Carla Suarez Navarro / Garbine Muguruza (ESP) - 30
#6 Simona Halep / Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) - 32
#7 Karolina Pliskova / Barbora Strycova (CZE) - 34
#8 Ana Ivanovic / Jelena Jankovic (SRB) - 36

#9 Sara Errani / Flavia Pennetta (ITA) - 43
#10 Timea Bacsinszky / Belinda Bencic (SUI) 48
#11 Madison Keys / Coco Vandeweghe (USA) - 52
#12 Sabine Lisicki / Mona Barthel (GER) - 63
#13 Svetlana Kuznetsova / Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) - 68
#14 Camila Giorgi / Roberta Vinci (ITA) 71
#15 Samantha Stosur / Casey Dellacqua (AUS) - 74
#16 Varvara Lepchenko / Madison Brengle (USA) - 75

#17 Elina Svitolina /Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) - 83
#18 Peng Shuai / Zheng Saisai (CHN) - 92
#19 Zarina Diyas / Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) - 108
#20 Dominika Cibulkova / Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) - 108
#21 Carina Witthoeft / Julia Goerges (GER) - 109
#22 Magda Linette / Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) - 115
#23 Francesca Schiavone / Karin Knapp (ITA) - 116
#24 Lucie Hradecka / Tereza Smitkova (CZE) - 117

#25 Alexandra Dulgheru / Monica Niculescu (ROU) - 121
#26 Elena Vesnina / Daria Gavrilova (RUS) - 123
#27 Alison Van Uytvanck / Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) - 124
#28 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova / Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) - 136
#29 Ajla Tomljanovic / Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) - 137
#30 Tsvetana Pironkova / Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) - 142
#31 Victoria Azarenka / Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) - 152
#32 Kurumi Nara / Misaki Doi (JPN) - 153

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fantasy Tennis: 2015 World Mixed Doubles Championships

The Spanish pair of Garbine Muguruza and Rafael Nadal are the 2015 World Mixed Doubles champions!


(3) Carla Suarez Navarro / David Ferrer (ESP)
(7) Garbine Muguruza / Rafael Nadal (ESP)


Agnieszka Radwanska / Jerzy Janowicz (POL)
(3) Carla Suarez Navarro / David Ferrer (ESP)

(7) Garbine Muguruza / Rafael Nadal (ESP)
(5) Serena Williams / John Isner (USA)

Agnieszka Radwanska / Jerzy Janowicz (POL)
(8) Alize Cornet / Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
(3) Carla Suarez Navarro / David Ferrer (ESP)
(6) Eugenie Bouchard / Milos Raonic (CAN)
(4) Timea Bacsinszky / Roger Federer (SUI)
(7) Garbine Muguruza / Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Belinda Bencic / Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
(5) Serena Williams / John Isner (USA)

Second Round

Agnieszka Radwanska / Jerzy Janowicz (POL)
Andrea Petkovic / Benjamin Becker (GER)
Maria Sharapova / Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS)
(8) Alize Cornet / Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
(3) Carla Suarez Navarro / David Ferrer (ESP)
Caroline Garcia / Gilles Simon (FRA)
Samantha Stosur / Bernard Tomic (AUS)
(6) Eugenie Bouchard / Milos Raonic (CAN)
(4) Timea Bacsinszky / Roger Federer (SUI)
Angelique Kerber / Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
Heather Watson / Andy Murray (GBR)
(7) Garbine Muguruza / Rafael Nadal (ESP)
(2) Petra Kvitova / Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Belinda Bencic / Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
Sara Errani / Fabio Fognini (ITA)
(5) Serena Williams / John Isner (USA)

First Round
#1 (7) Ana Ivanovic / Novak Djokovic (SRB) #26 (63) Agnieszka Radwanska / Jerzy Janowicz (POL)
#12 (45) Lucie Safarova / Lukas Rosol (CZE) #17 (57) Andrea Petkovic / Benjamin Becker (GER)
#14 (47) Venus Williams / Jack Sock (USA) #24 (62) Maria Sharapova / Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS)
#8 (37) Alize Cornet / Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) #32 (91) Zarina Diyas / Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
#3 (16) Carla Suarez Navarro / David Ferrer (ESP) #28 (67) Mirjana Lucic-Baroni / Marin Cilic (CRO)
#11 (44) Caroline Garcia / Gilles Simon (FRA) #18 (57) Madison Keys / Sam Querrey (USA)
#15 (48) Samantha Stosur / Bernard Tomic (AUS) #22 (59) Kristina Mladenovic / Gael Monfils (FRA)
#6 (19) Eugenie Bouchard / Milos Raonic (CAN) #29 (68) Flavia Pennetta / Andreas Seppi (ITA)
#4 (17) Timea Bacsisnzky / Roger Federer (SUI) #25 (62) Kurumi Nara / Kei Nishikori (JPN)
#10 (39) Angelique Kerber / Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) #19 (58) Karolina Pliskova / Jiri Vesely (CZE)
#16 (48) Heather Watson / Andy Murray (GBR) #21 (58) Tsvetana Pironkova / Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
#7 (31) Garbine Muguruza / Rafael Nadal (ESP) #31 (85) Dominika Cibulkova / Martin Klizan (SVK)
#2 (8) Petra Kvitova / Tomas Berdych (CZE) #27 (66) Elina Svitolina / Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)
#9 (37) Belinda Bencic / Stan Wawrinka (SUI) #20 (58) Jelena Jankovic / Victor Troicki (SRB)
#13 (46) Sara Errani / Fabio Fognini (ITA) #23 (61) Alison van Uytvanck / David Goffin (BEL)
#5 (19) Serena Williams / John Isner (USA) #30 (75) Casey Dellacqua / Nick Kyrgios (AUS)

Fantasy Tennis: Top Seeds for the World Mixed Doubles Championships

Here are the top 32 seeds for the World Mixed Doubles Championships

#1 (7) Ana Ivanovic / Novak Djokovic (SRB)

#2 (8) Petra Kvitova / Tomas Berdych (CZE)

#3 (16) Carla Suarez Navarro / David Ferrer (ESP)

#4 (17) Timea Bacsisnzky / Roger Federer (SUI)

#5 (19) Serena Williams / John Isner (USA)

#6 (19) Eugenie Bouchard / Milos Raonic (CAN)

#7 (31) Garbine Muguruza / Rafael Nadal (ESP)

#8 (37) Alize Cornet / Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)

#9 (37) Belinda Bencic / Stan Wawrinka (SUI)

#10 (39) Angelique Kerber / Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)

#11 (44) Caroline Garcia / Gilles Simon (FRA)

#12 (45) Lucie Safarova / Lukas Rosol (CZE)

#13 (46) Sara Errani / Fabio Fognini (ITA)

#14 (47) Venus Williams / Jack Sock (USA)

#15 (48) Samatha Stosur / Bernard Tomic (AUS)

#16 (48) Heather Watson / Andy Murray (GBR)

#17 (57) Andrea Petkovic / Benjamin Becker (GER)

#18 (57) Madison Keys / Sam Querrey (USA)

#19 (58) Karolina Pliskova / Jiri Vesely (CZE)

#20 (58) Jelena Jankovic / Victor Troicki (SRB)

#21 (58) Tsvetana Pironkova / Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)

#22 (59) Kristina Mladenovic / Gael Monfils (FRA)

#23 (61) Alison van Uytvanck / David Goffin (BEL)

#24 (62) Maria Sharapova / Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS)

#25 (62) Kurumi Nara / Kei Nishikori (JPN)

#26 (63) Agnieszka Radwanska / Jerzy Janowicz (POL)

#27 (66) Elina Svitolina / Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)

#28 (67) Mirjana Lucic-Baroni / Marin Cilic (CRO)

#29 (68) Flavia Pennetta / Andreas Seppi (ITA)

#30 (75) Casey Dellacqua / Nick Kyrgios (AUS)

#31 (85) Dominika Cibulkova / Martin Klizan (SVK)

#32 (91) Zarina Diyas / Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Fantasy Tennis - 2015 Women's Afro-Europa Cup

Sharapova RUS 1
Safarova  CZE
Sharapova RUS 1
Suarez Navarro ESP Kerber GER 8
Kerber GER 8
Sharapova RUS 1
Kvitova CZE 3
Kvitova CZE 3
Zahlavova Strycova CZE
Kvitova CZE 3
Lisicki GER Radwanska POL 6
Radwanska POL 6

Sharapova RUS 1
Wozniacki DEN 4
Ivanovic SRB 5
Muguruza ESP
Muguruza ESP
Cornet FRA Cornet FRA
Makarova RUS 7
Cornet FRA
Halep ROU 2 Ivanovic SRB 5
Svitolina UKR
Halep ROU 2
Jankovic SRB Ivanovic SRB 5
Ivanovic SRB 5

Fantasy Tennis - 2015 Men's Afro-Europa Cup

Djokovic SRB 1
Lopez ESP
Djokovic SRB 1
Bautista Agut ESP Ferrer ESP 8
Ferrer ESP 8
Djokovic SRB 1
Nadal  ESP 3 Nadal ESP 3
Gulbis LAT
Nadal ESP 3
Karlovic  CRO Cilic CRO 7
Cilic CRO 6
Nadal ESP 3
Murray GBR 4 Federer SUI 2
Tsonga FRA
Murray GBR 4
Dolgopolov UKR Dolgopolov UKR
Wawrinka SUI 7
Murray GBR 4
Federer SUI 2 Federer SUI 2
Dimitrov BUL
Federer SUI 2
Benetteau FRA Berdych CZE 5
Berdych CZE 5

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Stan Wawrinka's New Girlfriend

I was surprised to find out that Stan Wawrinka's new girlfriend is Donna Vekic!  She's one of the new up-and-coming players and she's definitely hot as well!

Stan Shows That He's the Man in Roland Garros 2015

Stan Wawrinka gave a sensational performance today to win the 2015 French Open title! I knew he was playing really well this tournament but I thought Novak's earlier matches were more clinical and straightforward, and like everyone else, thought that the stars had aligned for Novak to win this, with Nadal out of the way.

Well, with this win, Stan erases all doubts that he is a one slam wonder, and to win it on clay, shows that he can adjust his game to suit any surface.

Interestingly, among the top male players, Stan also has the most interesting lovelife! It's not good etiquette though for bloggers like me to write about it, especially that I'm not a gossip blogger.

Even then, it also shows that when one is in love, being inspired can certainly help one win a slam! And the girl was in his box huh!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Novak and the Men He Has to Subdue

Of all the four men left in the men's draw in this year's French Open, only one, Novak Djokovic, has ever been in an FO final.  Novak did it twice in 2012 and last year.  I don't think he's going to be the bridesmaid again since everything points to him to win this year's tournament.

Well, that will still depend on how much the remaining men in the draw want the title as well. Andy Murray looks very solid as well and should give Novak a tough match.  On the other side of the draw, Tsonga and Wawrinka, are both playing really well, and are playing very aggressive as well, so whoever makes it to the finals, will have just as good a chance at the title.

It's also one of those rare occasions that the top 4 are not in the mix at the semi-final level, as Stan and Jo-Wilfried have been known to join in the mix of the final four once in a while. 

Lucie Safarova in the Game of Her Life!

When I saw Lucie Safarova win against Maria Sharapova in their 4th round match of this year's French Open, I had a feeling her game was up to something.  It's not easy to defeat Maria and to do it in 2 sets and committing fully to her game plan and executing it perfectly was not easy to do.  

Today, in her semi-final against Ana Ivanovic, you could see that Lucie was implementing the same game plan, but since this game was now for a place in the final, there was much more at stake, and both players were really feeling the nerves and the pressure, especially when the scores were reaching their completion.

In the end, Lucie held her nerve better than Ana, and even if the last few games were a bit topsy turvy and had double faults, there were still brilliant rallies from the two ladies.  

With the way she's playing, Lucie has a good chance of winning her first grand slam title.  She just has to control her nerves especially when the score is almost near the finish line.  As of this writing, Serena and Timea are still playing, and both are playing very well, so Lucie has to bring her A-game to the court on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

And Then There Were Four!

I noticed an interesting trend in the women's game, especially during the grand slams.  Last year, in all the four grand slams, two of the four women in the semi-final round were ranked outside the top 8.  That rarely happened before 2014.  

The trend continued this year when in the Australian Open, Ekaterina Makarova and Madison Keys reached the semi-finals when both were not in the top 8 seedings.  So it's no surprise that in this year's French Open, another two women, way out of top 8, Lucie Safarova (#13) and Timea Bacsinszky (#24), made it into the semi-final round.

I think it just shows how competitive and deep the women's bench is nowadays, that even someone ranked in the 90s, Alison van Uytvanck, can make it into the quarterfinals! So if you're a top 10 player and you're not having a good day in the office, you might just be booted out!

Anyway, Serena Williams may be on track to get her 20th grand slam title in this year's French Open.  If she does, she'll just be two titles away from Steffi Graf's record.  The thing with Serena though is that there are certain players who have defeated her in a grand slam setting (Alize Cornet, Garbine Muguruza and Sloane Stephens) - and these players are not even in the top 10.

So, any of these three women left in the draw can take a page from the women who have won over Serena in the past few slams and find out how they defeated her.  I guess that would be a wise thing to do.

Based on how they play though, I think Ana Ivanovic has the best chance to defeat Serena since Ana is also a former French Open champion and she has the necessary skills and experience to win over Serena.  Being in a grand slam finals is by itself such a grand occasion that it can easily fluster someone who's not used to it.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Novak's Road to the French Open Title Now Begins!

Everyone who knows their tennis can readily confirm to you that this year's French Open men's title is all in Novak Djokovic's racquet.  It's really for him to lose!  The king of clay, Rafa Nadal, is struggling to find his form that gave him a mind-boggling nine FO title.  Roger isn't really that comfortable on clay and although Andy Murray, is finally finding his footing on this surface, his new found confidence might not be enough.

It is but fitting that the #1 seed should have the hardest draw of players to beat, especially if that #1 player wants to win his first Roland Garros title.  Novak's mountain to climb starts in the quarterfinal stage where he meets Rafa Nadal, who has been quietly dispatching all his opponents in 3 straight sets.  

It's definitely the match to watch in the QF round, much like a championship match that happens two rounds earlier.  Whoever wins this match will most likely go on to win the title - that is, if they don't expend too much energy finding a way to beat each other!  Because if they do spend, like 5 hours on court, it's really going to be a free for all in the next two major rounds!

Lucie Safarova Defeats the Queen!

I admit I love Lucie Safarova!  I was virtually cheering for her as she mightily defended and aggressively played against Maria Sharapova in their 4th round match today.  It's not that Maria did not play well, it's just that Lucie finally had the belief that she could climb that mountain and defeat a grand slam defending champion!

One of the commentators, former player, Anne Keothavong, complimented her, saying that she was the David Ferrer of women's tennis, not exactly in the top four, but one of those journeywomen who can upset the top seeds if they do not watch their backs!

I think I saw her play Sharapova last year, in the US Open, same round, and Lucie almost won!  She did everything right, but you know Maria, she will never let go until the last point.  You have to really beat her!  And I guess, with Lucie concentrating on her game plan, and executing it well, she gets to her first Roland Garros quarterfinal!

Garbine Muguruza Looks Like a Champion to Me

I know the finals is still a few days away but the way Garbine Muguruza is playing shows that she is a very good bet to be one of the finalists in this year's French Open.  I could actually sense the desperation in Flavia Pennetta's body language as she tried everything in the book to make a win against this youngster during their 4th round match today - this is considering that Flavia is a really experienced player and a former top 10 player at that.

I guess what Garbine has to do now is to have the belief that she deserves to be in the last few rounds of a grand slam.  She has the game, she has the aggressive play, she has all the weapons that a grand slam champion has.  She has one ace on her sleeve.  She was the one who ousted Serena Williams (who in my book should be Garbine's finals opponent if Serena wins over Petra) from the French Open last year - and that should be a confidence booster!

Female Breakthrough Player 2015 French Open - Donna Vekic

Croatian player Donna Vekic, currently ranked #165, is the female breakthrough player for this year's French Open.  This award is given to the lowest-ranked player (preferably outside the top 100), who goes deepest into the grand slam (usually 3rd or 4th round). Donna Vekic had wins over France's Caroline Garcia and Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski.  She lost to Ana Ivanovic in the third round.

2015 French Open Male Breakthrough Player - Andrey Kuznetsov

Russian player, Andrey Kuznetsov, currently ranked #120 in the world, is the Male Breakthrough Player for the 2015 French Open.  He reached the 3rd round where he lost to Rafael Nadal (#6).  He won over veteran Jurgen Melzer (#110) in the second round and Malek Jaziri of Tunisia in the first round.

The Male Breakthrough Player is the lowest ranked player (preferably out of the Top 100), who reaches the deepest round in a grand slam.  Andrey reached up to the third round in this year's Roland Garros.