2013 Women’s French Open Tennis Championship Preview

2013 Women’s French Open Tennis Championship
Sunday, May 26 – Saturday, June 8, 2013, TV: ESPN2, NBC, Tennis Channel
Roland Garros – Paris, France
Playing Surface: Red Clay
All odds courtesy of Bovada
Defending Champion; Maria Sharapova

Serena is the consensus favorite to win the 2013 French Open.
Serena is the consensus favorite to win the 2013 French Open.

In Women’s tennis, the French Open is usually the most unpredictable of the four majors because there isn’t really a dominant clay player like Rafael Nadal on the men’s side of the draw. Clay is by far the slowest playing surface and it negates the power advantage that players like Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka have on other players. Before Maria Sharapova won it last year the last 4 women’s champions at the French won their first and only major so far, Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Francesca Schiavone, and Na Li.

Here is a look at some of the contenders and their odds to win courtesy of Bovada.

Serena Williams (10/11)

The 31 year old Williams is playing some of the best tennis of her brilliant career. She is 36-2 this season with wins at Brisbane, Charleston, Miami, Madrid and Rome (the latter two on clay). She became the oldest player ever to reach #1 in the world in February. She was also the runner up at Doha.

Williams had 15 major titles, but only one at Roland Garros in 2002. She hasn’t made it past the quarters here since then, including an embarrassing first round loss last year. Williams lost in the quarters of the Australian Open this year, after severely spraining her ankle in the first round.

Williams is the #1 seed at Roland Garros. Other seeded players in her section include #26 Sorana Cirstea, #19 Anastastia Pavlyuchenkova, #15 Roberta Vinci, #10 Caroline Wozniacki, #22 Ekaterina Makarova, #29 Varvara Lepchenko, and #8 Angelique Kerber. Her section is tough but manageable. Vinci, Wozniacki, and Kerber would seem to be the toughest challeges. Williams could face either #4 Agnieszka Radwanska or #5 Sara Errani in the semifinals. Both of those could be  tough for Serena. As much as I want to pick her to win, I can’t at her weakest grand slam event. She is the favorite for a reason though, so bet against at your own peril.

Maria Sharapova (9/2)

The 26 year old Sharapova, from Russia is 30-4 this season with titles at Stuttgart and Indian Wells. She lost to Serena in the finals at Miami and Madrid.

Sharapova won the French last year to complete the career grand slam with one of each. She lost in the semifinals at this year’s Australian Open.

Sharapova is the #2 seed at the French. Seeded players in her section include #7 Petra Kvitova, #25 Lucie Safarova, #18 Jelena Jankovic, #9 Samantha Stosur, #16 Dominika Cilbulkova, #17 Sloane Stephens, and #28 Tamira Paszek. Kvitova, Stosur, and Stephens seem to be the toughest challengers for Sharapova. If she survives her section, Sharapova could face #6 Na Li or #3 Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals.

Victoria Azarenka (7/1)

Azarenka, 23 from Belarus, is 22-2 this season with titles at the Australian Open and Doha. Azarenka lost to Serena in the finals at Rome. Azarenka has battled nagging injuries all season including an ankle injury that has affected her since February. Azarenka has 2 Australian Open titles but has never made it past the quarters at the French.

Azarenka is the #3 seed at teh French. Seeded players in her section include #6 Na Li, #27 Yaraslava Shvedova, #23 Klara  Zakopalova, #12 Maria Kirilenko, #13 Marion Bartoli, #21 Kirsten Flipkens, and #31 Alize Cornet. Unseeded Kaia Kanepi and Francesca Schiavone are also dangerous. With the nagging ankle injury and a tough section, I don’t see Azarenka making it out of her section into the semifinals.

Na Li (12/1)

Li, 31 from China, is 21-6 this season with a title at Shenzhen. She lost in the finals of the Aussie Open and at Stuttgart. Li has also battled an ankle injury this season. Li won the French Open in 2011 but lost in the fourth round here last year.

Li is the #6 seed at the French. She is in the same section as Azarenka, If Li is healthy she could certainly make the semifinals at least.

Sara Errani (22/1)

Errani, 26 from Italy, is 31-13 this season with a title at Acapulco. She also has runner-ups at Paris and Dubai. Errani and he partner Roberta Vinci are the #1 doubles team in world. Errani moved into the top 5 rankings as a singles player for the first time earlier this month.   Errani lost in the finals at the French Open last year to Sharapova.

Errani is the #5 seed at the French. Seeded players in her section include #4 Agnieszka Radwanska, #30 Venus Williams, #24 Julia Goerges, #14 Ana Ivanovic, #14 Nadia Petrova, #20 Carla Suarez-Navarro, and #32 Sabine Lisicki. If Errani can survive a tough section, she is my pick to win it all for her first grand slam singles title. Errani could face Serena Williams in the semifinals.

Samantha Stosur (25/1)

Stosur, 29 from Australia, is 14-11 this season. She has yet to make it past the quarters of any event this season.  Stosur has battled injury all season and could struggle in Paris. Stosur won the US Open in 2011 and has made it to at least the semifinals at the French in 3 of the last 4 years, including a semifinal appearance last year.

Stosur is the #9 seed and in in Sharapova’s section. I don’t see Stosur making it out of that section given her struggles this season.

Petra Kvitova (40/1)

Kvitova, 23 from the Czech Republic, is 25-12 this season with a title at Dubai. She was the runner up at Katowice. Kvitova won Wimbledon in 2011, and made it to the semifinals at the French last year.

Kvitova has a good shot at making to the semifinals as the #7 seed. She is in Sharapova’s section.

Other contenders and their odds are Radwankska, Ivanovic, and Kerner (all 66/1), Jankovic and Kuznetaova (both 80/1), Wozniacki and Stephens ( both 125/1), Schiavone, Laura Robson, Maria Kirilenko, and Roberta Vinci (all 150/1), Bartoli and Venus Williams (both 250/1), and Melanie Oudin (1000/1).

It should be an exciting two weeks, and the French Open is always filled with upsets.


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