2009 French Open – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Third Round
Stay tuned for updates throughout the French Open as Nick’s Pick will bring you daily analysis and predictions!
Elena Dementieva (RUS) vs. Samantha Stosur (AUS)
Dementieva got a bit lucky in the second round as she was down a set against Jelena Dokic when the Australian was forced to retire due to an injury. Sometimes a little luck goes a long way in helping a player refocus and make a deep run. She will have to get by another tough Australian now and will most likely have to play a bit longer!
Stosur got by Yanina Wickmayer in three sets in the second round and is into the third round of the French Open for only the second time in her career. She is an extremely accomplished doubles player having won both the French Open and US Open and she was the #1 ranked doubles player in the world back in 2006.
Dementieva is 3-0 against Stosur, and beat her earlier this year in the third round of the Aussie Open. Being such a good doubles player, Stosur is going to have to use some of those tactics against Dementieva to have a chance. She cannot just stay back at the baseline and go toe-to-toe with Dementieva because there is probably no one on tour that that has better groundstrokes than this Russian. Stosur is going to have to come in a bit and gamble when she has the chance. Dementieva had a big scare in the last round and I think she is going to bounce back here.
Nick’s Pick – Dementieva in 2 sets
Svetlana Kuznetsova (ESP) vs. Melinda Czink (HUN)
Kuznetsova has played really well in her first two matches, losing a total of seven games. In each of the last three years Kuznetsova has gotten past the fourth round, having been to the finals, semis, and quarters. She just won the title in Stuttgart in early May on clay beating Dementieva and Safina so that should give her great confidence going forward.
Czink is a 26-year old Hungarian who is ranked #62 in the world. She has only been to the third round of a Grand Slam one time before this appearance, and that was at the 2003 US Open. She knocked off #28 Sybille Bammer in the second round 10-8 in the third set.
This is the first career meeting between these two women. Czink is a lefty who moves well laterally and is comfortable on the clay. She is streaky and when she is on she can be tough to beat. Against Kuznetsova, she better hope that she is “on” because the veteran Russian doesn’t miss very often. She is built like a tank with a strong foundation, solid groundstrokes and a good serve. The key for Kuznetsova is her mental frame of mind. More than anything else, Kuznetsova just needs to feel inside that she is going to win this match and play well. When she struggles, she does so because she isn’t focused and lacks confidence. Right now, she is playing really well and I don’t see that changing.
Nick’s Pick – Kuznetsova in 2 sets
Dinara Safina (RUS) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
Safina has dropped a total of two games in four sets so far this year which is simply amazing. Coming into the tournament she was the hottest player on tour and so far she has looked like a legit #1 with an excellent chance of winning her first Grand Slam title.
Pavlyuchenkova is a young Russian (17-years old) with a very bright future. She comes into the tournament ranked a career high of #27 in the world and is looking to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. Her best result this year was at Indian Wells, where she reached the semis and beat Jelena Jankovic and Agnieszka Radwanska.
This is the first match between Safina and Pavlyuchenkova and any time you put two Russian women together it promises to be interesting. Pavlyuchenkova hits the ball hard from both sides and moves well. She is a tough competitor and someone to keep your eye on moving forward. Unfortunately, right now she is running into what looks like an unstoppable force in Safina. The elder Russian is playing some of the best tennis of her career, and if she can keep her unforced errors down I don’t see her losing this match. Now, I do believe that Pavlyuchenkova is talented enough to win a set and put some pressure on Safina, but in the end Safina just has too much of everything.
Nick’s Pick – Safina in 3 sets
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Suarez Navarro wasted little time in her second round win over Lucie Hradecka, but Azarenka will definitely be a tougher challenge. Just like in 2008 when she made her magical run, she has been a joy to watch again this year and the fans really love how she plays!
Azarenka is one of the best young players on the tour right now. She opened up a ton of eyes when she beat Serena Williams in the finals at Miami and she was able to get to the semis in Rome. She reached the fourth round here in 2008 and is looking to at least repeat those results.
Azarenka is 1-0 against Suarez Navarro with that win coming earlier this year on clay in Stuttgart. This is truly a battle of different styles. Suarez Navarro is 5’4”, has a fantastic one-handed backhand, covers the court extremely well, comes forward and compared to Azarenka she is more of a finesse player. On the other hand, Azarenka stands 5’10” and will stay near the baseline pounding away with ferocious groundstrokes. Those groundies allow her to control play and keep her opponents off balance at all times. Suarez Navarro will look to counter that with her excellent movement. This should be a great match, but in the end I give the edge to Azarenka because of how strong she is.
Nick’s Pick – Azarenka in 3 sets