Kim Clijsters In, But is She?

Caroline Wozniacki is the top ranked woman in the world, but nobody feels more pressure to win this Grand Slam tournament and get that monkey off her back the Caroline. Kim Clijsters is seeded second but her health remains a big issue. The Belgian has not competed in a month and has arm trouble and ankle problems. Only Clijsters knows what is ahead for her at Roland Garros. If she is 100 percent, she would be the favorite.

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

The top female tennis players in the world grace Roland Garros for the next two weeks and there is room for plenty of upsets. Like the Men’s Draw, top seeded Caroline Wozniacki will have a rocky road to the finals.

In the Dane’s quarterfinal bracket, are veteran Shahar Peer (19), former French Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, hard playing Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, up and coming Julia Goerges, Tsvetana Pironkova and last year’s runner-up, Samantha Stosur. If form holds Wozniacki would meet 40-year old Kimiko Date-Krumm in the first round, an easy second round match and Daniela Hantuchova (28) in the third round. Most likely she will face Kuznetsova in the fourth round but don’t count out France’s Aravane Rezai. Then, she should meet Stosur in the quarters but Stosur will have trouble playing through Pironkova and Germany’s Julia Goerges, who downed Wozniacki in the finals at Stuttgart.

3rd seeded Vera Zvonareva might make it to the semis, but she faces big challenges from a number of dangerous players including defending champion Francesca Schiavone (5). Zvonareva has not been in top form this season. However, Nadia Petrova (26), Alisa Kleybanova (23), Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Flavia Pennetta (18), Jalena Jankovic (10) and Shuai Peng (29). Overall this is a weak bracket. The most likely survivors are either Jalena Jankovic or the hard-hitting Pavlyuchenkova.

Fourth seeded Victoria Azarenka has her own health concerns after retiring in the quarterfinals against Sharapova in Rome. How well her right elbow has healed will determine her fate. If she is in form, the native of Belarus is a formidable opponent. She may run into former Roland Garros Champion Ana Ivanovic but that seems the only potential problem en route to the quarters. 6th seeded Na Li has been off form of late and clay is not her favorite surface. She will probably have a marathon match with Dominika Cibulkova but the always dangerous left-handed Czech Petra Kvitova looks like the most likely quarterfinal match for Azarenka. That will be a match between two 6’ beauties who belt the ball. Watch for Kvitova to pull the upset.

Maria Sharapova

Second seeded Clijsters may have drawn the most difficult bracket. Her quarterfinal opponent should be Maria Sharapova whose win in Rome was quite sensational. Before Clijsters gets to the quarters, she will face Maria Kirilenko (25) and Andrea Petkovic (15). Clijsters faces Melanie Oudin in the first round. Watch out for Petkovic. The German knows no fear and has a big game along with her good foot speed.

Sharapova will have to play through Yanina Wickmayer in the third round and Aggie Radwanksa in the fourth round. Sharapova is competing ferociously. She appears hungrier than those competitors. A Clijsters – Sharapova would be a spectacular quarterfinal and might determine the winner of the French Open.

Look for Kvitova to pull upsets and face the Sharapova-Clijsters winner in the semis. Pavlyuchenkova or Jankovic will succumb to Wozniacki at the top of the draw. I like Kvitova to capture the 2011 French Open.


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