Get Inside!

Welcome to Inside the Baseline, your place for all things WTA tennis. Check in for the latest information on your WTA stars, including tournament previews, results and season outlooks. All website content will be subject to the author's views and opinions, but debate and discussion are more than welcome on each post's comment boards. Enjoy.

For more information, be sure to follow us on TWITTER.
While you're at it, follow the blog author, Kedzie Teller as well.

To contact me directly, please feel free to email at
Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 30, 2011

French Open: Vika Leads Pack into Week 2

We've seen it all in Paris this year: celebratory dancing, stretcher exits, crowd-igniting comebacks and even a world no. 1 wiped in the third round—but through it all, tenacious Victoria Azarenka has been chewing her way through opponents and leads the elite eight into week two at Roland Garros.

The hard hitting 21-year-old is the only woman left in the field who has not dropped a set, but she'll have to keep the wheels turning full blast if she wants to claim her first grand slam. She faces Li Na in the quarterfinals and either Sharapova or Petkovic after that, assuming she survives Na. But the Chinese world no. 7 and Australian Open runner-up won't be an easy match, especially considering her stunning win over Petra Kvitova in the round of 16. When Na finds her range, it's her whipping short forehand and cross court backhand that deliver lethal damage, but Azarenka's raw athleticism and big-babe shotmaking will surely match up.

Sharapova is still in the hunt for her first French Open title, a milestone that would finalize her Career Slam. But in order to realize that dream, Maria has to take down Andrea Petkovic, the erratic, though entertaining, German who toppled Maria at the Australian Open. Sharapova has had a few dodgy moments in her latest matches (were all those errors necessary against Radwanska, Miss Sharapova?) but she has proved to us again and again that in big moments, she can still win clutch points. If anything, we're guaranteed some good screaming and a nice moonwalk if Petkovic finds her way through.

Perhaps the most interesting match will come from young-gun Pavyluchenkova and last year's champion, Schiavone. I'm not lying when I say I expected an early exit from good ol' Francesca. Yes, she played beautiful tennis last year and had her moment in the spotlight, but I did not see her repeating that journey again. So far, I've been proven wrong. Her last match, against slowly improving though continuously losing Jelena Jankovic, was her best performance yet and showed moments of clay court brilliance, but she'll need to do even better to stifle the heat coming from the on-point Pavs. Pavlyuchenkova is coming off an impressive victory over no. 3 Zvonareva and is playing quite impressively herself. It's going to be a battle between the youngest and oldest players left in the draw, and while my money is on youth, Schiavone has done well to beat my expectations.

The last quarterfinal is between two-handed home crowd favorite, Marion Bartoli, and former French Open champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova. Bartoli overwhelmed hotshot Julia Goerges in the third round and had Dulko retire in the round of 16. Meanwhile, Kuznetsova had the task of beating Hantuchova, the woman who crushed world no. 1 Wozniacki one match before. Though Bartoli played some tremendous tennis in her final set against Goerges, I haven't seen anything that tells me she can beat Kuznetsova. But then, the Russian has a reputation for choking... It's really a toss-up of who comes to play.

For full fourth round results, check Day 8 and Day 9.

-Kedzie Teller, ITB Senior Editor


Post a Comment