2010 French Open – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Round 3
Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs. Justine Henin (BEL)
Sharapova comes into the French Open with a lot of confidence. She just won the title in Strasbourg on clay and hasn’t dropped a set in the first two rounds. While this is clearly not her favorite surface, she has had success here, reaching the semis once and the quarters three other times.
Henin has been a bit up and down lately, as she has losses to Kaia Kanepi and Aravane Rezai but also won the title at Stuttgart beating Wickmayer, Jankovic and Stosur. She’s won this title four times in her career already and in my book she is still the favorite to win it again.
This is the 10th career meeting between Henin and Sharapova and Henin is 6-3 against her in their previous matches. They last met on clay was at the 2005 French Open and Henin won that in straight sets. This is the match that everyone pointed to when the draw came out. There is curiosity on both sides of the net as people want to see how each is performing with their comebacks.
Sharapova has to take the ball early and hit it flat. She cannot get into long rallies with Henin. She must serve well which will open the court and enable her to hit easy winners. You know Henin will do a little bit of everything and try to keep Sharapova off-balance. The movement advantage definitely goes to Henin but don’t court Sharapova out. This is a tough match to call and for Sharapova to win she has to do it in straight sets. I give a slight edge to Henin because of her play on the clay, but don’t be surprised if Sharapova pulls it out.
Nick’s Pick – Henin in 3 sets
Venus Williams (USA) vs. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)
Venus has been making waves at the French Open because of her outfit, but the Wimbledon crowd shouldn’t be worried as she has already assured everyone she will be wearing white! Despite all the outside distractions, Venus has yet to be tested thus far and is clearly one of the favorites.
Cibulkova comes into the tournament ranked #27 in the world which is 15 spots lower than her career high of #12 which she achieved back in July of 2009. That ranking came after she reached the semis of the French last year which is her best result at any Grand Slam.
Cibulkova is 1-0 against Venus with that win coming back in 2008 on the hard courts of Doha. Cibulkova is a spitfire out on the court and moves exceptionally well. At 5’3” she is almost a foot shorter than Venus, but she makes up for that height difference with her speed and quickness. What separates Venus from her competitors right now is her serve. She’s been able to get it into the mid 120’s and that gives her a distinct advantage. Look for Venus to attack, move in towards the net, pound the serve and advance!
Nick’s Pick – V. Williams in 2 sets