Chris’ picks: the French Open women’s draw (top half)

Chris P breaks down the less interesting women’s draw for TSF. (Even with the vacuum left by Justine’s retirement, he says the men have a more exciting lineup!)

Read his thoughts on the top half after the cut…

Women’s Draw

Top Half
First Quarter

The retirement of Justine Henin has opened up the field for all the ladies and one of the beneficiaries of is the new #1, Sharapova. No one thought she’d make the semis last year with her bum shoulder, but the only one who gave her any trouble was perennial thorn-on-side Patty Schnyder. I’m looking forward to the runway face-off of Sharapova and TSF fave Mattek in R2. The winner of Safina vs. Kirilenko
could pose Sharapova some trouble in the R16, but I predict their battle to leave the other so fatigued that Maria coasts through.

Second Quarter

In this quarter you have two of the biggest seeded dark horses in Zvonareva and Dementieva (they sit at #5 and 6 in this year’s Race to the Championships, respectively). Two other unseeded players who could make some noise are Govortsova and Uzbekistan’s pride & joy, Akgul Amanmuradova. Zvonareva keeps her winning ways and shows why she’ll be top 5 by the end of the year.

Third Quarter

The four seeds could all conceivable make it through here: Kuznetsova’s been underperforming as of late and hasn’t lived up to her ranking, Petrova’s disappeared since being a RG fave in 2006 and has lost in the first round every year since then, Schiavone is on the tail end of her career. This leaves Berlin semifinalist Azarenka to step up for her Slam breakthrough.

Fourth Quarter

The only name I care about here is Chakvetadze. I know she hasn’t been the same since her home invasion at the end of last year, but she’s quietly gaining confidence and the retirement of Henin (who plays the most like her in the top 10) will give her further motivation and encouragement. Pe’er has been a non-contender this year and Szavay is showing her inexperience after making noise last year. Medina Garrigues could be the spoiler for Chakvetadze in this section.

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