2008 French Open – Nick’s Pick – Women’s Singles 3rd Round
Nick’s Picks will have complete coverage of the 2008 French Open, and will be coming to you live from Paris for part of the event!! Also, Nick is teaming with Tennis Week to provide in-depth analysis of the French Open throughout the tournament! Check out Nick’s Picks for the entire men’s and women’s draws!
Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs. Karin Knapp (ITA)
The longer Sharapova is able to hang around on the clay, the more dangerous she becomes. With Serena now gone from the draw, the tournament favorite is going to be Sharapova, and you know she wants to complete the career Grand Slam very badly.
Knapp is a 20-year old Italian, who is familiar with the dirt. She is currently ranked #38 in the world, and in her only previous appearance at Roland Garros she reached the third round as well.
These two girls have never faced before this match. This match is Sharapova’s to lose. We all know that clay isn’t her best surface, but she is still pretty dang good on it! She will control the court throughout the match, hitting big (consistent) serves, excellent groundstrokes, and will look to attack the Knapp serve whenever possible. For Knapp to win she is going to have to keep Sharapova off balance by hitting drop shots, angled shots, slices, and more. She definitely cannot beat the Russian from the baseline. I am going with Sharapova here.
Nick’s Pick – Sharapova in 2 sets
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) vs. Nadia Petrova (RUS)
Kuznetsova is a former finalist here, and so far in 2008 she has yet to drop a set. She knows how to play and win on the clay, and don’t be surprised if she makes another trip to the finals.
Petrova has been battling injuries for a while now, but is back and is playing well. I worked with her at the Academy a couple of weeks ago, and she looked to be happy, fit, and ready to play. She has a great coach, and is also an outstanding clay-courter.
Kuznetsova is 3-1 against Petrova, including a victory on clay at Berlin in 2007. Petrova is comfortable at the net and likes to come in when she can. She has very good groundstrokes, a big serve, and moves fairly well. The problem for her is that Kuznetsova is so solid that it is tough to get her in a defensive position. Kuznetsova has a great base and is low to the ground, which will give her a big advantage in this match. With Petrova having been out for a bit and still recovering, I give the edge to Kuznetsova.
Nick’s Pick – Kuznetsova in 3 sets
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Wozniacki has advanced to the third round of a Grand Slam for the second time this year. She got to the fourth round at the Aussie Open before losing to, you guessed it, Ana Ivanovic!
Speaking of Ivanovic, she has been on cruise control in the first two rounds as she has only lost a total of 10 games. Last year she was a bit of a surprise finalist, but this year the pressure rests squarely on her shoulders to get back into the finals. Only time will tell if she can reach that lofty goal.
Ivanovic is 1-0 against Wozniacki, and as I mentioned before that win came earlier this year in Australia. I have a feeling that this is going to be a close match. Wozniacki moves well, has excellent groundstrokes, and will not be intimidated by the Serb. When Ivanovic has faltered in the past, it has been her forehand that she has had problems with. I think this is going to go the distance, but in the end Ivanovic’s experience should help her prevail.
Nick’s Pick – Ivanovic in 3 sets
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Katarina Srebotnik (SLO)
Williams has looked fit and extremely focused in her first two matches. She is the only champion in the draw, and in my opinion she is the favorite. Unless she has a really bad day, it is going to be tough to beat her.
Srebotnik has yet to drop a set in her two victories, and plays well on clay. She is currently ranked #24 in the world, and has reached the third round of the French Open for the third consecutive year.
Williams is 3-0 against Srebtonik, with one of those wins coming earlier this year at Charleston (on clay). Srebotnik has a pretty good two-handed backhand, and her first and second serves are solid. What impresses me most about her is that she moves well for a tall girl (5’11″). Serena is Serena. She won’t let Srebotnik win this match if she is on her game. You know that she hits the ball harder than anyone and covers the court extremely well. I think Srebotnik will keep it close, but Williams will eventually wear her down.
Nick’s Pick – Williams in 2 sets
P.S. Serena’s big sister, Venus, better watch out because Flavia Pennetta is very capable of winning that match!!