shahar pe'er at Madrid Open_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
LONDON – Trying to pick a winner in the women’s draw for this year’s
French Open is like trying to get a ticket for the final – nearly
Rarely could there have been a more wide open grand slam with
world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, last year’s winner Francesca Schiavone,
injury-troubled Kim Clijsters and suddenly resurgent Maria Sharapova all in with
Equally, they could all crash out in the early rounds on the
Roland Garros clay, such is the splintered nature of women’s tennis at the
With Venus and Serena Williams still ruled out with injury and
Dinara Safina taking an indefinite break from the game, absolutely anything
could happen in the west of Paris.
An outsider could easily emerge from
the pack to take unexpected glory on June 4, just like Italian Schiavone did
last year when capturing her first grand slam crown.
Goerges stunned Wozniacki to win the Stuttgart title last month and then got to
the Madrid semifinals before losing to in-form Victoria Azarenka of Belarus,
another potential winner.
“The same as anybody else,” world No. 18
Goerges said when asked about her chances of taking the title.
talk about the French Open there are 128 girls playing unbelievable tennis and
hungry as hell. A lot of people have a chance of going far and there are always
surprises and there will be again this year, I’m sure.”
Shahar Pe’er, whose form has plummeted recently along with her ranking
(currently 20), could make a run into the second week after reaching the last 16
in Paris last year.
Wozniacki – top-ranked but still to win a major – is
creaking under the weight of the millstone round her neck, and although she won
her first clay-court tournament of the year in Charleston, the Dane has
Sharapova, yet to win the French having claimed the
other three grand slams, has suffered a string of injuries but routed Wozniacki
in the Rome semifinal last week before beating last year’s Paris runner-up
Samantha Stosur in the final.
Her uncompromising streak underlines her
newfound confidence having almost disappeared from many fans’ radars following
her last grand slam success at the 2008 Australian Open.
“I find it
difficult to be having dinner with someone one night and then having to play
them two days later, because it is at the end of the day an individual sport and
we are all very competitive,” she said.
Clay had never seemed to suit the
Russian’s game especially but her raw power might even be an asset on the red
stuff given the frailties of many in the draw.
World No. 2 Clijsters
might have been a clear favorite for the title two months ago but after shoulder
and wrist problems and then seriously injuring her ankle at her cousin’s
wedding, the Belgian is struggling to be fully fit.
Clijsters has never taken the Roland Garros crown and with plans afoot to quit
the game for second time next year, she is running out of time for glory on the
Ninth-ranked Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, who has a liking
for the French capital having won the Paris Open in February, is another
possible title challenger if fit while Li Na of China lost to Clijsters in
January’s Australian Open final and cannot be discounted.