Capriati pushing edge too often
By Pam Shriver
Special to ESPN.com
It's unusual to have so many dramatic upsets of top players -- including the defending champions losing to unknown players -- on both the men's and women's side of the draw.
In the case of Justine Henin-Hardenne, Tathiana Garbin is a good player, but the Belgian's loss was a product of a lack of match play in the past seven weeks. She simply was not confident in either her physical or mental capabilities to get through a tough match.
With the bad, we've also seen some good -- like the unique sight of Martina Navratilova playing singles. It's something I never expected to see again. It's also good to see the return of the Williams sisters, Jennifer Capriati and Amelie Mauresmo. Finally, most players (not the Belgians) are healthy again.
Plus, there's the emergence of new stars like Maria Kirilenko of Russia, who pressed Serena Williams in the second-round. Serena won 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, but we'll be talking about this 17-year-old for the next 10 years.
Here's a look at the fourth-round matches scheduled to be played on Sunday:
Jie Zheng, China, vs. Paola Suarez (14), Argentina
Suarez has been to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros before, when she defeated Mauresmo in the round of 16 two years ago -- so Suarez is comfortable in the bigger matches at the majors. Although Zheng seems to be the best women's Chinese player ever, it's hard to know how good she'll be in this situation. Until Zheng proves she can handle such a big moment, you have to give the edge to Suarez.
Maria Sharapova (18), Russia, vs. Marlene Weingartner
Although Sharapova is probably the youngest player left in the draw, she's one of the most mature. She gained valuable experience at Wimbledon last year and is starting to come into her own.
Weingartner easily beat Nadia Petrova on clay to get to this round and she defeated Capriati at the Australian Open, so she's had a couple of decent wins. Sharapova, though, is too good. She's got the confidence she needs to win.
Amelie Mauresmo (3), France, vs. Magdalena Maleeva (21), Bulgaria
Mauresmo seems finally to be learning how to live with the great pressure of the French Open. Now, that's not saying she's ready to win the whole thing, but she's too good an all-court player to lose in this round to Maleeva. Although Maleeva looked OK against Shaughnessy, Maleeva's never been that comfortable on clay. Pick: Mauresmo
Elena Dementieva (9), Russia, vs. Lindsay Davenport (5), United States
Davenport has had some awkward times with her very peculiar serve. It's the marquee matchup, with the highest seeds against one another. Davenport has had her best season ever on clay coming into this major. However, this will be her first big-time matchup of the tournament, and beating Dementieva is not that easy on clay.
It's a close match that really depends on how Davenport reacts to Dementieva's weak, slowly spinning serve, which sometimes throws the power players off. On paper, you'd think Davenport would be too good to fall here, but Dementieva also has a good shot.
Anastasia Myskina (6), Russia, vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (11), Russia
These two players are the closest in rankings in the fourth round.
There's a lot of tension among the Russian players at this event with the Olympic spots up for grabs. The Olympics, which are in Athens, Greece, in August, hold so much prestige for the Russian players that they are fighting to be part of the team.
These two are pretty evenly matched. Myskina has the edge in rank, but she called the trainer out to the court the other day calling her physical readiness into question. Aside from that, based on their head-to-head record, with Myskina leading 2-1 after winning their two most recent matches, the pick here should be Myskina. But this match could easily go either way.
Fabiola Zuluaga (23), Colombia, vs. Venus Williams (4), United States
You can't take for granted any match on clay -- even if you, like Venus, have a win streak going. When you play a clay-courter, you have to be ready for a challenge. Venus has had the best clay-court spring of her career. She should know, though, that she needs to concentrate because she's not playing on a surface where you can have a drift in concentration.
Zuluaga had a breakthrough at the Australian Open earlier this year, as she reached the semifinals of a major for the first time. So, she knows the pressure you can face in a round-of-16 match against a player like Venus. That's all the more reason for Venus to get down to business early and not let up.
Jennifer Capriati (7), United States, vs. Francesca Schiavone (17)
There's potential for an upset here because Schiavone is tough on clay and doesn't make many unforced errors. Also, she's had some pretty good wins in the past 12 months, which is why her rank is the highest of her career. Additionally, despite some success against Serena Williams in Berlin, nothing has been easy for Capriati recently -- at some point that will catch up to you.
Shinobu Asagoe, Japan, vs. Serena Williams (12), United States
Like her sister, Serena needs to come in focused and end this match quickly. She can't stumble through a match the way she did in the second round.
Asagoe is a good fighter and tends to compete well. Asagoe has won some close matches in Grand Slam tournaments, so she's a danger.
ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.