2011 French Open – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Round 1
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) vs. Melanie Oudin (USA)
This is going to be a very interesting match to see how far Oudin has come. She burst onto the scene a couple of years ago, but she hasn’t been able to repeat that performance since. It hasn’t been easy for Oudin, but a win here would certainly get her back on track. When playing Schiavone, the defending champion, she cannot try and rally with her because Schiavone is too tough from the baseline. Oudin is going to have to gamble and take chances whenever she can. She must force the issue and try and keep Schiavone off-balance.
On the other side, there are questions about Schiavone heading into the tournament. Can she repeat her performance from 2010? That would be a huge challenge, but she definitely has the tools necessary to win the title again. She is 2-1 against Oudin in her career and I look for her to advance, but this should be a good test for the Italian.
Nick’s Pick – Schiavone in 2 sets
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) vs. Alona Bondarenko (UKR)
These two women know each other really well and there will be no surprises out there. Jankovic has dominated their previous matches, winning 12 of 13. Included in that was a win in last year’s French Open in straight sets. Bondarenko will not overpower Jankovic, but she moves well, plays smart and will try and force Jankovic to over-hit. Against Jankovic, that is not enough. I look for the Serb to clear her mind and take advantage of her athletic talents and win this match in straight sets. If Jankovic has any doubts this could go three, but I don’t see that happening.
Nick’s Pick – Jankovic in 2 sets
Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs. Mirjana Lucic (CRO)
I know both of these women well as they have spent plenty of time at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy training in the past. Lucic is one heck of a fighter and she will never relent. She goes for broke on every shot, is in fantastic shape and moves extremely well. Does she have enough firepower to beat Sharapova though?
Sharapova is brimming with confidence on clay, which isn’t something I could have said in the past. She just won the Italian Open and now everyone is going to be expecting big things from her in Paris. Her serve is cranking and her movement has been excellent. Lucic will make Sharapova fight for every point, but in the end, I just feel that Sharapova has too much confidence and offensive power.
Nick’s Pick – Sharapova in 2 sets
Andrea Petkovic (GER) vs. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)
Jovanovski is a young Serbian (19) who is really more of a doubles player right now. She started off 2011 strong, but has really been struggling as of late. She hits the ball really well from both sides, likes to come in and she is an excellent volleyer. Petkovic is going to move her all over the court and that could be trouble for her as I am not sure right now she can handle the German’s power.
Petkovic has had a very good year and she climbed the rankings to #15 in the world. She has struggled a bit in the clay-court season, but she also seems to come up with the goods during the Grand Slams. She hits the crud out of the ball from both wings and has really changed her attitude around. She had been known to choke in the past, but not anymore as she is now one of the top women in the game. She has never faced the young Serb, but I am looking for her to advance in straight sets.
Nick’s Pick – Petkovic in 2 sets