Saturday, 24 May 2014

Roland Garros day 1: Veterans still have the edge

Roland Garros schedule of play:

Match focus:

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Zhang Shuai

Radwanska faces the highest ranked player who's not seeded, but she shouldn't worry. Zhang's game doesn't suit clay and Radwanska should be able to get the job done in second gear. The Chinese had a good run in Rome, but it was due to the incompetence of Kvitova that led her there. Looks like the Chinese's losing streak in Grand Slams is set to continue here.

Pick: Radwanska in 2 sets

Belinda Bencic vs. Venus Williams

Belinda Bencic sets up an intriguing match against Venus Williams, as she tries to prove to the world that she can beat quality players consistently. Venus didn't play much in preparation for Paris, and lost to Suarez Navarro in Rome. She will be eager to peak here against Bencic, who is still rather young to be winning these type of big matches. Venus just needs to keep herself healthy for the whole match. Bencic can claim a set, but Venus will emerge to winner (if she stays healthy).

Pick: Venus Williams in 2 sets

Ajla Tomljanovic vs. Francesca Schiavone

Former champion Schiavone is at risk of going out in her opening round against the upcoming Tomljanovic. The Croatian has been enjoying her best year on tour, and is playing with no points to defend. Francesca loves this event though, having won here in 2010 and reaching the finals in 2011, so she will fight to the bitter end. Ajla's game is not really clay court tennis, so the advantage goes to Schiavone. The deciding factor will be the Italian's stamina. Let's hope Francesca doesn't run out of gas.

Pick: Schiavone in 2 tight sets

Daniela Hantuchova vs. Jovana Jaksic

Daniela is not enjoying her best tennis, bounced out of warm up clay events by lesser known opponents. It remains to be seen if the younger Jaksic can defeat the experience Slovak, but I doubt so. Daniela is picking her tournaments wisely and looks to peak in the bigger events. Jovana's game is pretty raw, so Daniela is at an advantage here. She just needs to play aggressive and smart tennis and not go for the kill too early. Jovana still has a lot of maturing to do in my opinion.

Pick: Hantuchova in 2 sets

Sure win bets: Serena Williams, Yvonne Meusburger, Angelique Kerber, Carla Suarez Navarro, Garbine Muguruza
Upset alert: Varvara Lepchenko, Tsvetana Pironkova, Maria Kirilenko, Olga Govortsova, Kaia Kanepi

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