Wednesday, 30 May 2012

French Open: 2nd Round Predictions for Day 5

The top three on Day 5:
Caroline Wozniacki
1. Varvara Lepchenko v Jelena Jankovic
The match between Varvara Lepchenko and Jelena Jankovic is the most intriguing of the day 5 match-ups.  Jankovic managed to record an all important win in the first round having gone 0-4 through the European clay court season.  She was far from impressive though as she sneaked past Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, 1-6 6-1 7-5.  Lepchenko has steadily been improving this year, but has had a real problem in closing out matches.  She wasted match points in the second set against Ksenia Pervak before eventually prevailing 6-2 6-7 6-4.  This match will be fascinating because not only does Lepchenko struggle to close matches, Jankovic has had similar problems in the last year or two as she has won just 4 of her last 15 three set matches.  I fancy this one to be tight, tense and dramatic, but that Lepchenko will sneak the win...
Prediction - Lepchenko to beat Jankovic in 3 sets

2. Caroline Wozniacki v Jarmila Gajdosova
Caroline Wozniacki has crept under the radar at this year's Roland Garros having been demoted to the number 9 seed.  She has suffered a string of injuries in the warm-up tournaments, which have left many not even posing the question as to whether she is a contender.  She played a clean first round match displaying her defensive instincts to cruise past Eleni Daniilidou, 6-0 6-1.  She will face Jarmila Gajdosova in the second round, who has never seemed to recover her top 30 level tennis following the break-up of her marriage last year.  She benefitted from a withdrawal in the first round against Magdalena Rybarikova.  Gajdosova has compiled some impressive results at Roland Garros in previous years having made the 4th round in 2010 and losing a tight 3rd round match to Andrea Petkovic last year.  Wozniacki has had some tough matches with the hard hitting Aussie, but I think she will prevail in relatively comfortable fashion.
Prediction - Wozniacki to beat Gajdosova in 2 sets

3. Julia Goerges v Heather Watson
I have chosen this match as I was so pleased to see a female Brit make the second round! Heather Watson produced a fine performance to defeat Elena Vesnina in the first round, 6-2 6-4.  She has now won four matches on the red clay at Roland Garros having come through qualifying and will fancy her chances against Julia Goerges in the second round.  This is a section of the draw that suddenly looks rather open with Serena Williams now missing following that extraordinary loss to Virginie Razzano last night.  Goerges did well to overcome a tricky opponent in the first round as she beat Lucie Hradecka, 6-4 7-6.  I think Watson's growing confidence will give her a chance in this match, but I ultimately think that Goerges's weapons will win her the match.
Prediction - Goerges to beat Watson in 2 tight sets

Best of the rest:
Peng Shuai
Many of the top seeds have routine looking matches in the second round although there should be no complacency after watching Serena stumble in the first round.  The number two seed, Maria Sharapova should not be threatened by Ayumi Morita, meanwhile Li Na will be too solid for Stephanie Foretz-Gacon.  Petra Kvitova is first up on Suzanne Lenglen once again as she plays Urszula RadwanskaFrancesca Schiavone will take on Tsvetana Pironkova, who had a good win over Yanina Wickmayer in the first round, and Virginie Razzano will try to back up her huge win over Serena against Arantxa Rus.

Potential banana skins for the seeds:
As mentioned above, I think Jankovic will be one seed to fall on day 5.  Peng Shuai is another seed I predict to exit the competition; her opponent, Lourdes Dominguez Lino is a clay court grinder who will get a lot of balls back in court and Peng is known to be struggling with long-term injury problems.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will have to serve well in her second round match against Melinda Czink.  The Hungarian has a big game; just ask Sam Stosur who was tumbled out of Wimbledon last year in the first round.  Finally, I think Maria Kirilenko will be tested by Klara Zakopalova, but will ultimately advance in three sets.

The outcome of Day 4's highlight match, Radwanska v Venus:
The match between Agnieszka Radwanska and Venus Williams was a bit of an anticlimax as Radwanska strolled to a subdued 6-2 6-3 victory.  Williams are error-strewn for much of the match, but Radwanska served very well and despite a slight wobble at the end, looked very impressive indeed...

You can follow my original predictions for the WTA and ATP draws at Roland Garros.  My women's took a massive hit when my title pick was bundled out yesterday! The mens is looking solid so far but take a look for yourself :-)

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