Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Roland Garros day 5: Anyone's title now

Upset of the previous day:

Garbine Muguruza def. Serena Williams 6-2 6-2

Shocking the tennis world with her early exit, Serena Williams was powerless to stop the sublime Garbine Muguruza from upsetting the world number one. The Spaniard hit her balls with conviction, stayed with Serena in the rallies, and forced the American to come up with the answers. Serena didn't. Well, Serena had an off day but she always fights to her last breath when she's not playing well. Garbine was superb in not letting up and calmly closed the match out with a service hold to love. Serena said that Garbine could win the tournament playing like this. Maybe not. However, the tennis world better take serious notes about this Spaniard who's bound to be one of the top players. For Serena, she'll be back with a vengeance on grass. Look out.

Schedule of play:

Match focus:

Sloane Stephens vs. Polona Hercog

Sloane Stephens survives Peng, showing the fight that she's capable of. The American has made it a habit of performing well in Slams, and I think she will continue the trend here despite barely winning any matches before Paris. Polona has a handy clay court game, but her iffy mental strength will cause her problems. Stephens may be pushed, but she will eventually win the match.

Pick: Stephens in 3 sets

Camila Giorgi vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova

Former French Open champion Kuznetsova seems to be forgotten by the majority. The Russian has had solid results coming into the tournament and will be a dark horse for the title given how the draw has collapsed. She will have to deal with hard hitting Giorgi first. The Italian's game is not really suited for clay, but she powers her way to wins nevertheless. Kuznetsova's clay game should be enough to make Camila overhit and commit the errors. Experience will prevail here.

Pick: Kuznetsova in 2 sets

Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor vs. Magdalena Rybarikova

Rybarikova had a lucky first round, drawing a virtual bye in Urszula Radwanska. She will not be so lucky against the in-form Maria-Teresa. A recent titlelist in Portugal, the Spaniard is realising her potential by upsetting Klara in her first round. Armed with a gigantic forehand and growing up on the red surface will give Torro-Flor the advantage. Magdalena's game will be more suited for grass, which I'm sure she's already looking forward to.

Pick: Torro-Flor in 2 sets

Elina Svitolina vs. Ana Ivanovic

Ana Ivanovic came out of the Garcia challenge unscathed, with the Frenchwoman imploding. She will need to be careful of Svitolina though, as the Ukrainian is capable of fearless hitting. Ana's form is picking up, and will be an obvious pick for the second week. Can she keep up that intensity throughout 7 matches to win the title again? I doubt so. But she's making progress, and that should be commended given how much she struggled with her confidence for the last 5 years.

Pick: Ivanovic in 2 sets

Sure win bets: Jelena Jankovic, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep, Sara Errani, Ekaterina Makarova
Upset alert: Magdalena Rybarikova, Alison Riske, Yanina Wickmayer, Kirsten Flipkens

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