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2013 French Open Preview

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2013 French Open Preview


WHAT’S INSIDE LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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THE FIGHTING FRENCHMEN

p.8-12 THE FRENCH OPEN SEMIFINAL TO DIE FOR

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NO GIMMICK: WILSON SPIN EFFECT

p.22-24 ATP PREVIEW

p.26-30 WTA PREVIEW

p.31-36 CLOSING SHOTS

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2013 French Open Preview

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Editors

Theodore L. LePak ted@tennisnow.com Erwin Ong Blair Hemley

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Letter from the Editor

Writers

Erik Gudris

Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams’ appearance on our covers was a no-brainer. Their names have been everywhere this clay court season. Both have lost just two matches this year, and, of course, the King of Clay will be gunning for an astounding eighth French Open title. Who can dethrone Nadal at Roland Garros? Only one player comes to mind: world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. If the clay season has provided any indication of the action we can expect to see in Paris, then we are in for one crazy fortnight. Big upsets, breakout performances, and very dirty shoes will be coming our way shortly.

Chris Oddo

Blair Henley

blair@tennisnow.com

In this edition, we focus on what the Frenchmen are bringing to their home Grand Slam, we showcase Wilson Spin Effect Technology, and we dream about a semifinal match to die for between Nadal and Djokovic. We also feature draw previews and predictions for both the men and the women. We hope you enjoy this preview, and we can’t wait to report all the action to you during the event on TennisNow.com!

Design

Alberto Capetillo Juan Esparza

Photography

Alexander Duff www.Astutephoto.com

Theodore LePak Editor, Tennis Now Magazine Ted@tennisnow.com

TennisNow

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The Fighting Fren ch m en: On the 30th anniversary of Yannick Noah’s French Open victory in Paris, six seeded Frenchmen hope to make some history of their own. ­– Erik Gudris While every player competing at a Major feels a certain amount of pressure to do well, there’s always an added weight of expectation on those playing at their “Home Slam.” While some seem to thrive on having the eyes of their nation watching their every move, others wilt and fade away in the early rounds only to say they’ll be back next year. That blessing and burden is very much the case for those Frenchmen competing at Roland Garros this year. And it is even more poignant in some ways as this is the 30th anniversary of Yannick Noah’s thrilling title run in 1983. Noah captivated all of France with his victory, but he would be the last French man to hoist La Coupe des Mousquetaires. This year six Frenchmen have earned seeds in Paris in hopes of breaking a 30-year drought. Here’s a look at each one and what they will bring to the terre battue of Roland Garros.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Best Result: Quarterfinals 2012

Of all the French players, Tsonga is still the one with the best outside chance at possibly making the final four at Roland Garros. He nearly toppled Novak Djokovic last year during their quarterfinal battle that saw Tsonga hold four match points in his hands. With a big all-court game and an athletic daring that always delights the French crowd, Tsonga knows he will be expected to at least live up to his top eight seeding and possibly go further than ever at the event. Tsonga has the game, but does he truly believe he can find a way into the finals?

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Richard Gasquet Best Result: Fourth Round 2011, 2012 With one of the most stylish one-handed backhands in the sport, Gasquet possesses the swoon-worthy Gallic flair his nation loves. Though tagged as being mentally fragile when it matters most, Gasquet appears to have turned a corner in that regard and is now a tougher foe to face in tight matches. As the eighth seed at the French Open, Gasquet has a real chance to make the quarterfinals for the first time. At age 26, he now seems poised to maximize his potential.

Gilles Simon Best Result: Fourth Round 2011 Like his compatriots Tsonga and Gasquet, Simon has struggled in the past on his nation’s biggest stage. With a steady backcourt game that forces his opponents to play just one more shot, Simon can rally with the best of them. He may not possess the style or power of his fellow Frenchmen, but Simon certainly can make life difficult for any player not ready to grind it out with him.

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Benoit Paire Best Result: Second Round 2012 Perhaps the most surprising and intriguing player on the ATP Tour right now, Benoit Paire has emerged from the cult status shadows to spotlight status this season. Though he seems to take a nonchalant approach to his tennis, Paire’s potent two-handed backhand is truly one of the best in the game. Add in a big serve and a penchant for unpredictability on every point and it’s clear to see why Paire is quickly becoming a fan favorite. Whether the affable Paire can handle the increasing attention of being a seeded player for the first time at a Major is anyone’s guess. But if “La Tige” makes a run this year, it will be a true French delight.

Jeremy Chardy Best Result: Fourth Round 2008 After a standout junior career, Chardy appeared poised for bigger things when he reached the fourth round of Roland Garros at age 21. But multiple setbacks almost relegated him to “what might have been” status. Chardy turned things around last year culminating in a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open in January. Now near his career-high ranking, Chardy may not have the name recognition as some of his more famous French counterparts. But flying under the radar is what Chardy does well, and another run at a Major is not out of the question.

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Julien Benneteau Best Result: Quarterfinals 2006

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The French veteran, who is still in search of his first ATP title, has the game to upset almost anyone on a given day. With his throwback style that often finds him closing out points up at the net, Benneteau might struggle to reach the second week this year. However, he will give the Parisian locals much to cheer about with his appealing all-court game.


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The French O

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Open Semifinal to Die For ­– Chris Oddo

Does the fact that Novak Djokovic is the consensus underdog heading into the French Open make him more dangerous? If you take away Rafael Nadal’s four wins over Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros, tennis’ most enticing rivalry would stand even at 15 wins apiece. But you can’t take away the past, and as much as Novak Djokovic would love to unlearn everything he’s experienced first-hand about how difficult it is to compete against Rafael Nadal on his beloved terre battue, there is no escaping it. The French Open is Nadal’s Grand Slam, played on Nadal’s clay, and when the king sets his sights on the Coupe des Mousquetaires, well, let’s just say that only a superhuman effort (see Robin Soderling in 2009) will suffice. Speaking of superhuman, have you seen Nadal’s form lately? Just three short months after his return from a seven-month hiatus in which rumors swirled about his ultimate demise, Nadal appears to be as good as he ever was—if not better—on the red clay. How is it possible? There are some that think the time off might have served to give Nadal a new lease on life. “You take time off, it might hurt you, but it also gives you a new enthusiasm quotient,” Cliff Drysdale said on an ESPN conference call earlier in the week. “You really want to be on the court. You’re not tired out. It’s like picking up a new tennis racquet sometimes. A new piece of equipment gives you a new lease on life.” Could it be that Nadal’s new lease on life has made him as hungry for French Open titles as he was when he won his first title at Roland Garros in 2005? It appears to be so. Whatever

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the case, the Spaniard’s recent run of six titles and eight finals in eight tournaments has captured the imagination of tennis fans everywhere. There are comebacks, and then there is the ridiculousness of what Nadal has achieved since his return to the clay in Vina del Mar this February. “It’s rather remarkable in a number of ways,” John McEnroe told reporters on a Tennis Channel conference call on Monday. “He is the overwhelming favorite despite the fact he didn’t play for seven months. He seems like he’s just as good. That’s good for tennis because clearly we need Nadal because he’s one of the greatest players that ever lived, no doubt about it. You could make the argument that he is the greatest player that ever lived.” Nadal may indeed be the heavy favorite, and one day he might be considered the GOAT, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t have a hell of a dogfight on his hands if he should meet Novak Djokovic in the semifinals on the final weekend at Roland Garros.

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Djokovic is the only player in history to defeat Nadal in three finals on clay, and even though he was shunned in last year’s French Open final against Nadal, he did manage to reel off eight consecutive games and take his first set off of Nadal in Paris. Then, just weeks ago, he ended Nadal’s reign of terror in Monte Carlo, handing the king of clay his first loss there in over a decade and snapping his eight-year title streak. In other words, the Serb, who reeled off seven consecutive victories against Nadal in 2011, has spent some quality time in Nadal’s kitchen. Despite the fact that Nadal beat Djokovic three consecutive times on clay in 2012 (including last year’s aforementioned French Open final), the recent episode in Monte Carlo was eerily reminiscent of the Nadal-Djokovic 2011 dynamic. Djokovic played like a man possessed, sending Nadal running to and fro at every opportunity. All the while, Djokovic appeared to be impervious to Nadal’s high-bouncing topspin drives that make most of the Spaniard’s opponents cringe and cower in fear.


“Clearly we need Nadal because he’s one of the greatest players that ever lived, no doubt about it. You could make the argument that he is the greatest player that ever lived.” –John McEnroe 2013 French Open Preview

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If you had polled the tennis cognoscenti after that Monte Carlo final, a 6-2, 7-6(1) victory, most would have said that this would surely be the year that Djokovic wins the French. A month later, after some disappointing results in Madrid (loss to Dimitrov) and Rome (loss to Berdych), the sentiment surrounding Djokovic has shifted. Suddenly, we wonder: Has his workload of the previous two years been too much for him? Is his ankle, twisted so badly in Davis Cup play in early April, at 100 percent? Even if the workload has been taxing, and the ankle is not quite perfect, does it automatically spell doom for Djokovic? In short: is Djokovic’s recent run of poor play a clear signal that he’ll fall short at Roland Garros? Not necessarily. “I think mentally he’s very strong,” opined Drysdale. “If anything, losing early gives him a little more rest.” He adds: “I don’t think it hurts Djokovic. If it would have hurt him any way, it would have been mentally for him to say, ‘Oh, gee, I’m not playing as well.’ I don’t think he’s susceptible to that kind of thinking.” Chris Evert, a seven-time French Open who knows a thing or two about the mental side of tennis, also believes that Djokovic, while not the favorite, might still be in Nadal’s kitchen. “I think

Nadal looks like the favorite, but I think Djokovic can threaten him definitely,” she says. “I wonder if Nadal is a little fearful of playing Djokovic. I think that’s going to be the intriguing matchup.” Intriguing would be the understatement of the year. On paper, there is no better match in tennis. On the court, even better. With Nadal-Federer a painful reminder of where good rivalries go to die, Nadal-Djokovic, with their crazy, lung-busting rallies and their deep-seated psychological idiosyncrasies, is what the people want to see. As the tension builds over the ensuing fortnight, the desire to see these two battering rams clash head first in Paris should only grow. Djokovic, the dangerous underdog with so much talent and so much to prove, and Nadal, the rejuvenated king who will battle with all his might to hold sway over the last vestige of his shrinking Grand Slam empire, are about to embark on a wild ride. Djokovic, hell-bent on ending the empire. Nadal, determined to make it last. If it lives up to the hype, it could be one of the all-time classics. With so much on the line, and so much history between these two iconic figures, it’s hard to imagine it being anything but.

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No Gimmick:Wilson Spin Effect Technology In the months since its January release, Wilson Spin Effect Technology has made an impact on the tennis industry. Learn more about how this technology has proven its worth inside the lab and out. ­– Blair Henley Take a walk around the grounds of your local tennis center, and you’ll undoubtedly hear pros instructing their students to “brush up on the ball” or “get under it.” In other words: Hit more spin. A ball with more rotation, provided a player also has solid technique, means more clearance over the net - more room for error. While additional spin can increase consistency, it can also add dangerous kick to serves and groundstrokes (think Rafael Nadal), pushing balls outside of an opponent’s strike zone. It’s no fun to be on the receiving end of a ball with spin, so what if you could dish it out more effectively without changing your technique?

New Spin Effect Technology (SET) from Wilson helps you do exactly that – and they can prove it. Early in the development of SET, Wilson’s engineering team found that certain string compositions and patternssnapped back into place significantly quicker than others, promoting more spin on contact. In order to translate that information into usable technology, they reviewed thousands of images, incorporated the use of a “spin rig” to record spin production, and borrowed TrackMan technology from the golf world in order to quantify their progress. After over 30 string patterns were prototyped and play tested, it was determined that a more open pattern of 16 main strings and

Spin Effect Technology (S.E.T.)

Normal Spin

Enhanced spin with more string movement

Moderate spin with small string movement

16x15 String Pattern

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16x20 String Pattern


15 cross strings (different from the standard 16x19 and 18x20 layouts) created 3.3 times more string movement for 69 percent faster “snap back.” But Wilson’s Global Director of Technology, Bill Severa, says it’s not all about the string pattern. “The racket had to be reinforced differently [because] the string loads on the frame aren’t the same as a conventional string patterns,” he said. “Significant time was spent on developing a frame construction that complimented the string pattern technology.” Wilson rolled out the Steam 99S and 105S featuring SET in January following more than two years of development. Though it will take skeptics some time to warm up to a concept that simply sounds too good to be true, the response to the new frames has been overwhelmingly positive according to John Lyons, Wilson’s Global Product Director. “Our new Spin Effect racquets are creating a lot of buzz in the market,” Lyons said. “Dealers tell me that consumers have heard about the racquets and are coming in asking to demo them. Our sales have beenvery strong in the first few months, and we are getting a lot of reorders from shops that are selling through their stock.”

Wilson Marketing Manager, Tracy Singian, echoed Lyons’ remarks. “I think everyone is very surprised that there is a technology that really, truly works and has science behind it. It’s been really positive. Federer tried it - he loved the new Steam 99S.” In the months following the release of the two new Steams, TrackMan technology has proven to be a key tool in publicly validating SET’s potential to change the game as we know it. In Wilson’s golf division, TrackMan has long been used to measure the spin rate, power, speed, and the distance of a shot. Incorporating the device into a tennis ball has proven SET’s worth outside of a controlled environment.

Just ask Laura Robson. The 19-year-old British star currently uses the Wilson Blade 98 (18x20), but she got a chance to experience the Steam 99S during her downtime at the Sony Open in Miami. After a short hit using TrackMan-equipped tennis balls, Robson increased her RPMs from 1,279 to 1,358 and increased her MPHs from 84.8 to 86. “It’s awesome!” she concluded. “You can really tell the

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difference…I didn’t think you’d be able to, but you actually can.” Top 20 player Lucie Safarova gave the 99S a try while in California for the BNP Paribas Open. She, too, felt the contrast. “I just hit a few balls, but it was interesting, something different.” Though touring pros can no doubt appreciate the technology, the new Steam frames will likely be best suited to players needing the added 200 RPMs that the racquets can provide. The equivalent of lowering the net by two inches and extending the court by a foot, SET can be a game-changer for the mainstream tennis population, as Wilson Racquet Sports General Manager Jon Muir explained to KESQ in Palm Springs. “For the average club player or even the highly competitive local player in tournament, being able to get two extra inches of net clearance, seeing a ball that would go out by six inches go in because of Spin Effect Technology - that’s a big difference.” For those considering taking the Steam 99S or 105S for a test run, make sure to take Wilson’s advice on string choice. They recommend using Luxilon 4G, a relatively new polyester string

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from the company that helped popularize the industry segment. Not only do these monofilament strings provide added “snapback,” but for players working with some power of their own, 4G adds a necessary hint of control. For those concerned with the transition to a full “poly” string job, Wilson testing has confirmed that a hybrid combination with 4G in the cross strings or main strings creates the same spin-enhancing effect. So with SET providing the added spin so many players are seeking, will we see more Wilson racquets incorporating the technology in the future? Well, perhaps not surprisingly, they aren’t saying…yet. “We continue to learn more about many factors that affect spin, and you certainly could see other spin-enhancing racquets from us in the future,” said Lyons. With gimmicks galore on the racquet market today, Spin Effect Technology stands apart inside the lab and out. The Steam 99S and 105S won’t be right for everyone, but those who make the purchase will know they’re getting their money’s worth.


Roger Federer’s Diaries CLICK TO READ

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Nadal, Djokovic Headed for Semif inal Clash Fans will have to wait for the next Grand Slam final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, but if things go as planned, the two most accomplished clay court players in recent years should clash in a heavily anticipated final at the 2013 French Open. Meanwhile, Roger Federer, seeded second thanks to Andy Murray’s withdrawal, sits pretty in the other half, awaiting a possible semifinal with David Ferrer, a player that the Swiss maestro owns a career 14-0 edge against. Here’s a blow-by-blow, quarter-by-quarter of the draw, complete with picks and our forecast for the eventual champion.

­– Chris Oddo

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Novak Djokovic’s Quarter If being the top seed at Roland Garros means drawing seven-time champion and king of clay into your half, then Novak Djokovic could probably do without the top seed. But, as they say all too often in sports, it is what it is. Djokovic, in his quest for a first Roland Garros title, was going to probably have to go through Nadal anyway, so why not do it sooner rather than later?

Dimitrov, who vastly improved in 2013, could face Djokovic again in the third round in Paris, while other challenges in the Serb’s quarter could come from 12th-seeded Tommy Haas or 22nd-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov. Based on their form, 19th-seeded John Isner and 8th-seeded Janko Tipsarevic are unlikely to do any damage despite their seeds, but one never knows in Paris.

But Djokovic’s eventual place in that heavily anticipated semifinal alongside Nadal is by no means guaranteed. Remember, the Serb has lost head-scratchers in his last two events, to Grigor Dimitrov in Madrid, and Tomas Berdych in Rome.

First-Round Popcorn: John Isner vs. Carlos Berlocq, Grigor Dimitrov vs. Alejandro Falla Pick: Djokovic 2013 French Open Preview

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Rafael Nadal’s Quarter Hard, next to impossible in fact, to imagine anybody other than Rafael Nadal coming out of this section, but that doesn’t mean things won’t get interesting. The gorgeous, free-flowing backhands of 9th-seeded Stan Wawrinka and 7th-seeded Richard Gasquet are slated to confront one another in the round of 16 if the seeds hold, and, if that matchup occurs, whomever advances will face 3rd-seeded Nadal (yes, 3rd-seeded) in the quarterfinals. But 21stseeded Jerzy Janowicz is also in the mix in this section, and could face Wawrinka in the third round. Nadal will face hard-serving Daniel Brands in the first round, and that could be a tricky encounter for the Spaniard, who doesn’t like to play power servers, especially so early in draws. Up-and-coming

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Benoit Paire, Fabio Fognini and Kei Nishikori are also in Nadal’s section of the quarter, as well as the Spaniard’s old friend, Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic.

First-Round Popcorn: Benoit Paire vs. Marcos Baghdatis, Jerzy Janowicz vs. Albert Ramos Pick: Nadal


David Ferrer’s Quarter The most wide open section of the draw could prove to be the most entertaining as well, as multiple must-see first-rounders and a bevy of pedigreed claycourters inhabit the section. Ferrer looks to be the favorite, but he should sail into the quarters if he is his usual, destructive self in Paris; but there he could face challenges from 5th-seeded Tomas Berdych, 11th-seeded Nicolas Almagro, 20th-seeded Andreas Seppi, or even unseeded and very dangerous Ernests Gulbis. In the most enticing mini-section of the draw, Tomas Berdych will face form French Open semifinalist Gael Monfils in the first round. If Berdych survives, Ernests Gulbis could be waiting for him in the second round.

It’s a rough draw for Berdych, as he’ll get Spaniards Tommy Robredo and Nicolas Almagro back-to-back in rounds three and four if seeds hold. If he survives the first four rounds I wouldn’t count him out for a run to the finals.

First-Round Popcorn: Tomas Berdych vs. Gael Monfils, Feliciano Lopez vs. Marcel Granollers Pick: Ferrer

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Roger Federer’s Quarter Suddenly, with Nadal and Djokovic set to rumble in the top half of the draw, Roger Federer, verified Twitter account and all, finds himself with a golden opportunity to not only sneak deep into the draw, but also to win the tournament.

Frenchman would be a recurring theme for Federer in the middle rounds if the seeds hold. He would face 15th-seeded Gilles Simon in the round of 16 and 6th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals.

Think we’re crazy? Well, you’re not the first to have said that, but picture this: If Djokovic defeats Nadal in the semis and Federer navigates all the pitfalls in his section to find himself in the final across from the Serb, one has to like his chances of pulling the upset against the World No. 1. Yes, it would still be an upset, but it wouldn’t take a miracle, which is what would need to happen for the 17-time Grand Slam champion to get past Nadal if he faces him in the final.

The biggest question for Federer at this point has to be: Was his run to the Rome final a step in the right direction, and is he ready to peak at the right time?

The Swiss Maestro won’t have it easy though. He’ll have to face 30th-seeded Julien Benneteau in the third round if the seeds hold. Benneteau actually crushed Federer in Rotterdam earlier in the season, and if he can do it there, it’s not a stretch at all that he could beat Federer on his home soil on Federer’s least favorite surface.

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First-Round Popcorn: Benoit Paire vs. Marcos Baghdatis, Jerzy Janowicz vs. Albert Ramos Pick: Federer Semifinals: Nadal d. Djokovic, Tsonga d. Ferrer Finals: Nadal d. Tsonga


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Serena Versus the Field “It can definitely be tricky being the favorite. Fortunately I’ve been in this situation many, many, many times at many Grand Slams, so I feel okay with that.” - Serena Williams. It is very tempting to pick Serena Williams as the favorite to win the French Open. She enters Paris with a career best 24-match win streak that includes making a clean sweep of the lead-up clay court events in Charleston, Madrid and Rome. But we’ve been here before with Serena, most notably last year, when many picked her to win Roland Garros. Then the unthinkable happened when Williams lost in a shocking first round match to France’s Virginie Razzano. But since that defeat, Williams has only lost three times in 13 months. Impressive would be the best adjective to describe that accomplishment, but even that word still feels inadequate to accurately sum up Williams’ current domination of the women’s tour. Is Williams that inevitable champion of Paris? Or can anyone but herself stop her? Here’s a look at the women’s singles draw.

­– Erik Gudris

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Serena Williams’ Quarter Serena will meet Anna Tatishvili in the first round. Williams’s goal in that one will be just to get through it with less drama than she did in the same stage as last year. From there, Williams could face Italy’s Roberta Vinci in a later round. Vinci has got the guile to perhaps give Williams fits on the clay, but can she do it for a whole match is the real question. Williams’ potential quarterfinal foe could be No. 8 seed Angelique Kerber. That could be an intriguing matchup since Kerber did beat Serena last year. But Kerber herself is not 100% as she is dealing with an abdominal injury and that means she might drop out early. That could leave the door open for perhaps American Varvara Lepchenko or former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova to sneak

into the elite eight. Kuznetsova ousted Serena in 2009 during the Russian’s run to the title and is still capable of an upset if she plays her very best and Williams has an off day. But even with some potentially tricky players in her path, as long as Williams continues her fine form of late, she very likely won’t even drop a set en route to the semis.

Pick: Williams

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Agnieszka Radwanska’s Quarter No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska may have a short stay in the “City of Light”. A nagging shoulder problem coupled with clay being her worst surface makes her an candidate for an early upset. If Radwanska goes, last year’s finalist No. 5 seed Sara Errani becomes the favorite to reach the semis here. But Errani is not the only player to keep an eye on. A potential early matchup between two rising stars, Monica Puig and Madison Keys could have the winner making a run to the second week. 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic is also here with her semifinal showing in Madrid proving she’s still a threat on clay.

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No. 30 seed Venus Williams could take advantage of finding herself on this side of the draw. But Venus is still day to day with her health issues and an early loss would not be a surprise. Could this be the last time we see the former No. 1 in Paris?

Pick: Errani


Victoria Azarenka’s Quarter Three Major champions find themselves in this side of the draw. Victoria Azarenka finally got her clay court season going just in time by reaching the finals of Rome. And even though clay can trouble the former No. 1 at times, Azarenka has to like her early rounds. That includes a possible meeting with 2010 title holder Francesca Schiavone who, despite all her gutty play, appears to be in the twilight of her career. And what about No. 6 seed Li Na? She got to the finals of Stuttgart but doesn’t feel like a contender for the title this year despite her resume. Li might get a tough second rounder against resurgent

American Bethanie Mattek-Sands. That could be the real test to see how far Li is able to go in Paris. Azarenka may be the favorite to go deep here. But as we saw in Melbourne, Li Na has the ability to come out of nowhere so to speak and find herself in the finals. And “Madame Li”, as she’s known in Paris, just might do it again.

Pick: Li

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Maria Sharapova’s Quarter The women’s title at Roland Garros has only been defended 11 times since World War II. Not exactly a comforting stat for reigning champion Maria Sharapova who aims for her fifth Major.

Like her nemesis Serena, the only person who may stop Sharapova from reaching the semis is herself. And we all know how much Maria hates to lose.

Despite that ominous fact, Sharapova will likely see little resistance in her early rounds. She could face Sloane Stephens, but considering Sharapova only allowed the young American two games against her in Rome, it’s hard to see Stephens making an impact against the Russian.

Pick: Sharapova

Adding to Sharapova’s title hopes is that her section is filled with players crowned with question marks. Sam Stosur looks healthy again but is prone to an early upset. Jelena Jankovic is playing better on the clay, but her consistency is still not a given. Petra Kvitova, who made the semis last year, continues her recent trend of roller coaster three set matches thanks to her big hit or miss style of play.

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2013 French Open Preview

Semifinals: Williams d. Errani, Sharapova d. Li Finals: Williams d. Sharapova


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RANKINGS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Djokovic, Novak Murray, Andy Federer, Roger Nadal, Rafael Ferrer, David Berdych, Tomas Del Potro, Juan Martin Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried Gasquet, Richard Tipsarevic, Janko Wawrinka, Stanislas Cilic, Marin Almagro, Nicolas Haas, Tommy Nishikori, Kei Raonic, Milos Simon, Gilles Kohlschreiber, Philipp Monaco, Juan Querrey, Sam Isner, John Seppi, Andreas Janowicz, Jerzy Dolgopolov, Alexandr Anderson, Kevin

SRB GBR SUI ESP ESP CZE ARG FRA FRA SRB SUI CRO ESP GER JPN CAN FRA GER ARG USA USA ITA POL UKR RSA

12,310 8,670 8,000 6,895 6,740 4,700 4,320 3,795 3,090 2,640 2,630 2,570 2,490 2,340 2,315 2,225 1,940 1,750 1,750 1,730 1,690 1,530 1,524 1,500 1,420

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Williams, Serena USA Sharapova, Maria RUS Azarenka, Victoria BLR Radwanska, Agnieszka POL Errani, Sara ITA Li, Na CHN Kvitova, Petra CZE Kerber, Angelique GER Stosur, Samantha AUS Wozniacki, Caroline DNK Petrova, Nadia RUS Kirilenko, Maria RUS Bartoli, Marion FRA Ivanovic, Ana SRB Vinci, Roberta ITA Cibulkova, Dominika SVK Stephens, Sloane USA Jankovic, Jelena SRB Pavlyuchenkova, Anastasia RUS Suarez Navarro, Carla ESP Flipkens, Kirsten BEL Makarova, Ekaterina RUS Zakopalova, Klara CZE Goerges, Julia GER Safarova, Lucie CZE

11,620 10,015 9,005 6,475 5,835 5,335 5,175 5,135 3,645 3,625 3,065 3,036 2,845 2,800 2,785 2,590 2,540 2,500 2,010 1,975 1,872 1,811 1,745 1,605 1,595


A bird’s eye view of a packed final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.


2013 French Open Preview

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Stanislas Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal hose each other down during the trophy ceremony in Madrid.


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Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou pops a celebratory bottle after Serena’s victory over Victoria Azarenka in the finals of Rome.


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Rafael Nadal fans cheer on their beloved King of Clay.


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Longtime rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer hold their trophies after Nadal defeated Federer 6-1, 6-3 to defend his title in Rome.


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2013 French Open Preview