Monday, June 05, 2017

2017 FRENCH OPEN: Women's Quarterfinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the women's quarterfinals at the 2017 French Open. Last year I correctly predicted 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 4 of 4 men's quarterfinalsThis year I have also predicted the men's quarterfinals.

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) Samantha Stosur (AUS) [23] vs Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [11]. Ostapenko is a hard-hitting 19-year-old who eliminated a probably injured Samantha Stosur in the 4th round to reach her first career quarterfinal. There she will face former World #1 Caroline Wozniacki who has been playing excellent tennis all year but has been unlucky in the multiple tour finals she has been in. Wozniacki delivered a rare double bagel in her 2nd round match and outlasted 2009 French Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 4th round to reach her 9th career quarterfinal. Surprisingly these two have already met 3 times in the last year, including twice on clay and the younger player has won every time. Can Woz turn things around this time? I think the person who can play the most nerve-free tennis will win, and there youth usually has an advantage. PREDICTION: Ostapenko.

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) [13] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [4] vs Venus Williams (USA) [9] Timea Bacsinsky (SUI) [30].  This should have been a marquee showdown between two major champions but both stumbled on their way to this quarterfinal berth. Kiki Mladenovic took out the defending champion in yet another dramatic 3-set battle, again utilizing the partisan French course to power her to her best ever showing at her home slam. For the second year in a row, Bascinszky took out Venus Williams in the 4th round of Roland Garros, although this time it was a 3-set thriller, where the Swiss player's movement and unorthodox game befuddled her more powerful opponent, leading to double-break advantages in all three sets they played. Last year, Mladenovic won the women's singles title here with fellow quarterfinalist Caroline Garcia but has recently strongly criticized her former partner for ending their partnership with a text. It would be quite a drama if one or both of them ended up in the singles final this year. PREDICTION: Mladenovic.

Elina Svitolina (UKR) [5] vs Simona Halep (ROU) [3].  This showdown is the most anticipated match of the clay court season. These are the two best players on the surface this year, and most analysts believe whoever wins this match has probably the best chance to win the 2017 Roland Garros title. The two met in the final of Rome, which Halep was on the way ti winner when she injured her ankle which made her questionable to even appear in Paris. Halep has not looked hampered by injury in her first 5 rounds, and demolished a very good clay court player in the 4th round (Carla Suarez Navarro) to get here while Svitolina had to come back from a beak down in the final set repeatedly to gut out a win 4-6 6-3 7-5 over Petra Martic. Svitolina is probably the mentally tougher player but I think Halep should have enough confidence to prevail, although if it gets deep in the third set, I would give Svitolina the edge. PREDICTION: Halep

Karolina Pliskova (CZE) [2] vs. Alize Cornet (FRA) Caroline Garcia (FRA). Karolina Pliskova is the highest ranked player remaining in the draw, and is two wins away from grabbing the World #1 ranking from Angelique Kerber. Despite having one of the most powerful serves on tour for year, Pliskova had never advanced past the 3rd round of any major tournament before the 2016 US Open where she reached the final by beating both Williams Sisters before losing to Kerber. Caroline Garcia is finally starting to realize her potential by reaching her first major quarterfinal. To get there, she had to dispatch a countrywoman, which she did in pretty convincing fashion by overpowering Alize Cornet. Whether Garcia can reach her first major semifinal may depend on the order of play on Wednesday, and whether she is the only French hope remaining for the title this year. Head-to-head the two are matched 2-all with Garcia winning their one clay court meeting. However, I think that if the two play their best tennis (which probably won't happen) Pliskova should prevail.  PREDICTION: Pliskova. 

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