Clijsters Back in French Open Women’s Preview; American Tennis Pile-on
by Jeremy Davis | May 20th, 2011, 12:44 pm

In light of world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki’s inability to win a Grand Slam title, and the Williams sisters on the sideline, the 2011 French Open women’s draw is WIDE OPEN. No Americans are in that wide open window, but we’ll talk about that later.

Kim Clijsters is back from injury and seeded No. 2. It will be interesting to see if the Belgian can quickly up her game to the physical and mental rigors of the red clay. Clijsters will start against Belarus’ Anastasiya Yakimova, and is looking at a possible third-rounder against No. 25 seed Maria Kirilenko, and fourth round against No. 7 Maria Sharapova, facing a Russian “Maria” onslaught.
The top-seeded Wozniacki will start against the ageless Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm, who The Woz struggled to beat in three sets a couple years ago at Wimbledon. Wozniacki’s tough road to the semis would likely include face-offs against No. 28 Daniela Hantuchova, No. 13 Svetlana Kuznetsova, and No. 8 Sam Stosur or No. 17 Julia “Gorgeous” Goerges.  A couple seeds in the top quarter have tough starts: No. 19 Shahar Peer vs. Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (the more names, the tougher the player), and No. 8 Stosur vs. Czech Iveta Benesova, who played the Aussie tough the other week in Rome. And Stosur will be feeling the pressure to defend big points.

Defending champ Francesca Schiavone is the No. 5 seed and Vera Zvonareva the No. 3 seed in the second quarter. Schiavone starts against American Melanie Oudin (6-16 win-loss this year and has never won a match at the French), and Zvonareva against Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino. Neither player has a particularly difficult draw and they should emerge to play each other in the quarters — but since this is the 2011 WTA tour, that will probably not happen.

Other first-round matches of interest in the second quarter are No. 26 Nadia Petrova vs. Anastasia Rodionova, and No. 18 Flavia Pennetta getting a dose of Americana, opening against Varvara Lepchenko, then likely playing another American in the second round in the form of Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

The third section of the draw is a bit of a snoozer. No. 4 Victoria Azarenka and No. 6 Na Li are the top seeds slated to meet in the quarterfinals. Also in the mix are No. 20 seed and former French Open champ and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, who is playing like none of the previous-mentioned labels; and No. 9 Petra Kvitova, the only other player in this section to possibly make some noise.
Clijsters is making a French Open appearance for the first time since 2006.

For a preview of how the American women will do without the Williams sisters this year, just check the major news wire headlines like “US braced for French Open mauling” and “At French Open, U.S. players are nearly irrelevant,” and you get the picture.

The WTA says the 2011 French Open is the first time in the Open Era that there are no seeded American women. And 32 women are seeded in the draw. The top-ranked American is Mattek-Sands at No. 36.

So an American won’t be raising the trophy this year in Paris, but keep an eye on Clijsters, who has shown the ability and confidence late in her career to come off the couch from injury and drink everyone’s milkshake.

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12 Comments for Clijsters Back in French Open Women’s Preview; American Tennis Pile-on

Cheri Britton Says:

I disagree with your analysis of the third section as being ‘a bit of a snoozer’. Try catching 40 winks when Petra Kvitova, the Juan Martin Del Potro of the women’s game, is whacking 100mph ground strokes at you!

Also Dominika Cibulkova doesn’t exactly caress the tennis ball, or Ana when she’s playing well.

I expect the eventual winner to come from this section. For my money, the best players in the world at the moment are Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka, and as Kvitova has beaten both Azarenka and supposed favorite Clijsters recently, she’s my pick.

My possible long shot for the tournament would be Svetlana Kuznetsova, if she gets a few victories under her belt and remembers what winning is all about. She’s won the tournament before, she’s as good as anyone on her day, and no one expects anything of her this year.

Kimmi Says:

hoping for a new winner. kvitova win would be great..georges too. sharapova, why not. go kim…

can woz get her first?

ah, i have so many to cheer. hope we get some great matches.

dari Says:

Yeah, this would be the first one for everybody I’m cheering: woz Maria Kim gorgeous, even would be nice to say AI get a big trophy again.

Kimberly Says:

Maria and Vika are my first two choices. But def prefer Maria a hundred times

Omair Says:

Jermy! kim is seeded to play mash in the quarters nt in the fourth round. and i don’t know how the absence of williams has mad eit open since none of the Wiliams has made it to the semis since 2003. Furthermore, wozniaki has not a tough road at least to the quarters.
I would lime to see kim holding the trophy. Lets see how it turns out to be….

Cherry Says:

It’s good to know that Clijsters is back. This will be a very good tournament for sure.

grendel Says:

Yes, so Sharpie seeded to meet Clijsters in quarters. Curiously, the Sharp signalled out Kim as a potential winner whilst Kim returned the favour, mentionning the Sharp when asked who etc.

Kvitova due to meet Cibulkova in 2nd round – repeat of tourney before last – so 1 of my favourites goes out early. Winner meets Na Li in the 3rd. Hope it’s Kvitova, and that she wins thru to play Azarenka in quarters for another repeat of same tourney.

jane Says:

Kimberly is there a link to the TX women’s bracket pool? If so, could you (re)post it?? With thanks!!!

dari Says:

Ah! Forgot about vika- she kinda is still relegated to hard court in my mind, but had a good show on clay this season. I’d take her, too!
Yeah, if you’ve got that women’s bracket link I will do

Kimmi Says:

Kim says her injury was not due to wearing high heels!

“A lot of people thought I was in high heels, but I was in bare feet, because I couldn’t dance in my high heels,” said the Belgian. “So then I landed on another girl’s foot and I twisted my ankle. Then while I’m walking off, limping, somebody stepped on the outside of my little toe as well, and I still have a problem there. I was having a really good time until then!” she grinned.

Kimmi Says:

is today’s title first on red clay for wozniacki? congrats to her. i am sure she was delighted to see peng on the other side of the net…

Good luck to her at the AO!

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