Schiavone Finesses Anastasia, Bartoli Leads Crowd Cheering

French Open 2011
By Hiland Doolittle, May 31st, 2011

Defending Champion Francesca Schiavone is tough as nails.  The thirty-year old showed no sign of nerves as she came back from an opening set loss to down Russian teenage sensation Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 1-6, 7-5, 7-5.  Anastasia carried the play for much of the match but the stubborn Schiavone is playing with desperation in her effort to retain her title.

If the young Russian did not present enough of a challenge, Marion Bartoli will bring the full package to the court.  Her fan support was thunderous today.  Bartoli’s win over former French Open Champ Svetlana Kuznetsova came on a blustery day but thrilled the packed house.  Bartoli is now the last French player in either draw.

Marion out-performed the veteran in the clutch points.  She drew confidence from the immense crowd support in winning 7-6 (4), 6-4. In her two hour match, Kuznetsova had six double faults and 33 unforced errors.  Bartoli was nearly flawless with one double fault and just 21 unforced errors.

Schiavone will be a tough match for Bartoli.  Bartoli has good foot speed but nothing to match Schiavone.  Both players have equal serves.  Schiavone brings the entire court into play as she moves well laterally or vertically.  She even charges the net on occasion.

The other semifinalists will be determined tomorrow when 6th seed Li Na takes on 4th seeded Victoria Azarenka in a match that features Azarenka’s power and full court play against Li’s tireless defensive game.  Viki is known for her temperamental play and Li tends to sap opponents of energy.  If Azarenka holds it together, she should win this match and be favored to win the title.

Tomorrow’s other prime match pits fan favorite Maria Sharapova against had-hitting German Andrea Petkovic.  This should be a match of high profile payers who are offense minded.  “The shorter the point the better” is the philosophy these payers share.  Obviously, it has worked so far in this event.


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