French Open 2010: Andrew's reports (preview + 1r + 2r)
FRENCH OPEN (Roland Garros, Paris, France; red clay; Major)
2. UK TV-alert
3. First-round draw
4. Lucie Šafářová v Jelena Dokić preview
5. Order of play for Monday
Master-thread for my French Open 2010 reports:
Andrew's TV-reports (added extended fourth-round TV-report for Hantuchová v Janković)
[WC] wild card
[LL] lucky loser
[EF] member of my Eternal Fanship
[DF] member of my demi-fanship
[s] Selesian (two hands both sides)
1.1 General links
I will post these links only once.
Where to look at many players:
Where to search for specific players:
* Getty Images
1.2 Daily photos
Various players including Lucie Šafářová [EF]:
2. UK TV-alert
The French Open will be televised on BBC Red Button from 10:00 BST each day of the tournament (digital viewers press Red or select Freeview-channel 301).
* Sunday 23rd May to Friday 4th June, 10:00–19:00 BST, BBC Red Button
* Saturday 5th June, 14:00–16:30 BST, BBC Two
* Sunday 6th June: 14:00–18:00 BST, BBC Two
N.B. The BBC's coverage will NOT be available on Freeview at the following times:
* Sunday 23rd May (all day)
* Friday 28th May (11:30–13:45 BST)
* Sunday 30th May (10:00–13:30 and 15:15–16:20 BST)
The Freeview-outages will not be a problem for me, because I now have access to freesat.
3. First-round draw (updated after Day 1)
3.1 Top quarter: Maria Sharapova
* Stefanie Vögele [DF] v SERENA WILLIAMS  (hopp Stefanie!)
* Julia Görges v Melinda Czink (komm jetzt Julia!)
* Katie O'Brien v Jill Craybas (go Katie!)
* Alizé Cornet v ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA  (allez Alizé!)
* SHAHAR PE'ER  v Nuria Llagostera Vives [Q] (kadima Shahar!)
* Peng,Shuai [s] v Vania King (jia you Shuai!)
* Olivia Sánchez [WC] v Shenay Perry
* MARION BARTOLI [13,DF,S] v Maria Elena Camerin (my Passion says Maria Elena, but my Reason says Marion)
* MARIA SHARAPOVA [12,EF] v Ksenia Pervak [Q] (my loyalty is to MARIA)
* Ayumi Morita [s] v Kirsten Flipkens (my loyalty is to Ayumi)
* Klára Zakopalová v Katarina Srebotnik (my loyalty is to Klára)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v JUSTINE HENIN  (aide Tsvetana!)
* ZHENG,JIE  v Ekaterina Bychkova (my loyalty is to Jie)
* Ioana Raluca Olaru v Anastasia Pivovarova [Q] (my loyalty is to Raluca)
* Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová v Rossana de los Ríos
* SAMANTHA STOSUR  v Simona Halep [Q] (may the better win)
3.2 Second quarter: Rybáriková, Hantuchová, Zvonarëva
* Alicia Molik v JELENA JANKOVIĆ  (go Alicia!)
* Pauline Parmentier v Kaia Kanepi [Q]
* Magdaléna Rybáriková [EF] v Sofia Arvidsson (POĎME MAGDA!!)
* ALYONA BONDARENKO  v Vera Dushevina (davai Alyona!)
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [23,EF] v Tamarine Tanasugarn (POĎME DANIELA!!)
* Olga Govortsova v Carla Suárez Navarro (davai Olga!)
* Mariana Duque Marińo v Sybille Bammer
* YANINA WICKMAYER [16,DF] v Sandra Záhlavová (komaan Yanina!)
* Kimiko Date Krumm v DINARA SAFINA 
* Jarmila Groth [WC] v Chan,Yung-Jan
* Ekaterina Makarova v Anastasia Rodionova
* VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] v Alberta Brianti (DAVAI VERA!!)
* ALISA KLEYBANOVA  v Mariya Koryttseva
* Ana Ivanović [DF] v Chang,Kai-Chen (ajde Ana!)
* Yaroslava Shvedova v Sara Errani (davai Yaroslava!)
* Elena Baltacha v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA  (go Elena!)
3.3 Third quarter: Lucie Šafářová, Jelena Dokić
* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA  won
* Andrea Petković won
* Yvonne Meusburger won
* MARIA KIRILENKO [30,DF] won
* Regina Kulikova v FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE 
* Petra Kvitová v Sophie Ferguson [Q]
* Stéphanie Dubois v Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro [WC]
* Kristina Mladenović [WC] v LI,NA  (allez Kristina!)
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [14,DF] won
* Roberta Vinci v Virginie Razzano (forza Roberta!)
* Polona Hercog v Misaki Doi [Q] (dajmo Polona!)
* LUCIE ŠAFÁŘOVÁ [24,EF] v Jelena Dokić [EF]
* Lucie Hradecká [s] v ALEXANDRA DULGHERU  (pojďme Lucie!)
* Tatjana Malek v Timea Bacsinszky (Tatjana is just a little bit cuter)
* Kristina Barrois v Tathiana Garbin
* CAROLINE WOŹNIACKI  v Alla Kudryavtseva (kom sĺ Caro!)
3.4 Bottom quarter
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA  v Petra Martić (davai Elena – although Martić might grow on me)
* Anabel Medina Garrigues v Melanie Oudin
* Iveta Benešová v Aleksandra Woźniak (pojďme Iveta!)
* KATARYNA BONDARENKO  v Julie Coin
* Akgul Amanmuradova won
* Johanna Larsson won
* Chanelle Scheepers [Q] won
* Gisela Dulko [DF] won
* ARAVANE REZAĎ  won
* Angelique Kerber won
* Ágnes Szávay won
* NADIA PETROVA  won
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ  won
* Varvara Lepchenko won
* Arantxa Parra Santonja [s] v Kurumi Nara [Q] (ˇvamos Arantxa!)
* VENUS WILLIAMS  won
4. Lucie Šafářová v Jelena Dokić preview
* LUCIE ŠAFÁŘOVÁ [24,EF] v Jelena Dokić [EF]
Wow: two members of my Eternal Fanship face off in the first round! This promises to be a mouth-watering match, full of groundstrokes of flairsome power (for those lucky enough to see it – I can't imagine that the BBC will televise it).
4.1 About Lucie
Lucie Šafářová is one of the most supremely talented tennis-players I've ever seen. She's a fearless, ambitious shotmaker who loves to go for broke, and hits many spectacular winners. Her athleticism is amazing: she runs like the wind. Every time I see her play, she is a joy to watch.
In the quarter-finals of the Australian Open 2007, Lucie's average groundstroke-speed was measured at 71mph: 1mph faster than her opponent Nicole Vaidišová, and only 2mph slower than men's #2 Rafael Nadal. And she achieves such speeds with flairsome power: she may be only 5'9" with a light frame, but her groundstrokes are flat and she hits them with superb timing.
Lucie has a swinging lefty serve, and frequently uses it to set up a groundstroke-winner on the third stroke of the rally. She also has Seles-like returns of serve: she takes them early, often standing up to 1˝ metres inside the baseline to receive. She's very aggressive off the second serve.
Lucie has wonderful left-handed angles, and she can mix up the pace with very short, softly-spun crosscourt forehands and backhands to the sidelines, which are a speciality of hers.
Lucie has won four WTA singles-titles, but I think her best results so far have been reaching her first Major quarter-final at the Australian Open 2007 (by beating defending champion Amélie Mauresmo 6-4 6-3), immediately followed by reaching the WTA Paris 2007 final (beating Nicole Vaidišová, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Justine Henin back-to-back – all in straight sets).
Lucie has already had a couple of memorable French Open campaigns. In 2007, she upset Amélie Mauresmo 6-3 7-6 in the third round. In 2009, she had match-point at 5-4* in the third set against Venus Williams before losing their second-round encounter 6-7 6-2 7-5.
2010 is shaping up to be the best year of Lucie's career so far. She goes into the French Open with a win/loss record of 17:13, and her current ranking of #25 is just shy of her career-high #22 set in August 2007, but what's really impressive is firstly her run to the Paris-final in February, and secondly that she has just reached three Premier quarter-finals (including her run to the semi-finals of Madrid), beating five top-18 players in those three tournaments.
Lucie thrashed #34 Aleksandra Woźniak 6-3 6-1 in the second round of Brisbane, then lost to eventual champion Kim Clijsters in a see-saw match: 6-1 0-6 6-4. Lucie lost just nine points in the second set, hitting clean winners all over the court!
Sadly, Lucie retired from Hobart with a left-pectoral-muscle strain, and lost 6-2 6-2 to Venus Williams in the first round of the Australian Open. Struggling after a bout of 'flu, she also lost 6-2 6-2 to Anna-Lena Grönefeld in Czechia's Fed Cup tie in February.
But the following week, Lucie bounced back to reach the final of WTA Paris for the second time in her career, beating #171 Tamira Paszek 6-0 6-3, #18 Francesca Schiavone 7-5 6-2, #22 Shahar Pe'er 7-5 6-2, #12 Flavia Pennetta 4-6 6-3 6-4, and losing 6-7 6-1 6-4 to #7 Elena Dementieva in the final.
Lucie spent most of March and April in a slump, as she lost to #88 Julie Coin in the first round of Monterrey, and to #69 Julia Görges in the first round of Indian Wells.
At Miami, Lucie beat #100 Kaia Kanepi 6-7 6-4 6-3 and María José Martínez Sánchez 4-6 7-6 6-2, before losing 6-4 6-2 to #7-ranked defending champion Victoria Azarenka in the third round.
The clay-court season did not start well for Lucie, as she lost 6-3 7-6 to #67 Regina Kulikova in the first round of Barcelona, and then suffered a humiliating 6-0 6-2 loss to Francesca Schiavone in Czechia's Fed Cup semi-final, followed by the ignominy of being substituted for the second tie in a row, after she injured her shoulder while practising for her next rubber.
But it seems that Fed Cup humiliation is actually a lucky charm for Lucie, because just as she had reached the Paris-final the week after the previous tie, she now embarked on a stunning upswing of form that establishes her as a genuine French Open title-contender!
Lucie reached the quarter-finals of Stuttgart, although she had a lucky escape in the first round, when #372 Selima Sfar thrashed her 6-2 in the first set, but retired with an ankle-injury at 0-3 in the second. Lucie then upset #2 Caroline Woźniacki 6-4 6-4 in the second round, although Woźniacki has been struggling ever since she sprained her ankle at Charleston. Lucie then lost 7-6 1-6 6-1 to #138 Anna Lapushchenkova.
Whether that win over Woźniacki was a fluke or not, Lucie followed it up with a superb run to the quarter-finals of Rome, beating #42 Olga Govortsova 6-2 6-7 6-3, #16 Flavia Pennetta 6-1 6-2(!) and #9 Agnieszka Radwańska 1-6 6-3 7-6 (7/1). She lost 7-6 6-4 to eventual champion María José Martínez Sánchez.
Lucie then reached the semi-finals of the Madrid Premier Mandatory, starting with a 6-4 6-3 win over #12 Maria Sharapova in Maria's first match back from a two-month lay-off with an elbow-injury.
Lucie proceeded to beat #41 Olga Govortsova 4-6 6-2 7-5 (from *2-4 down in the third), #38 Alexandra Dulgheru 6-7 6-1 7-6 (8/6) (Dulgheru twice served for the match, with match-point at *6-5), and #18 Nadia Petrova 6-1 1-6 6-4. Lucie has tremendous determination and fighting spirit!
Sadly, Lucie retired from her semi-final with a left-thigh injury, after losing the first set 6-1 to eventual champion Aravane Rezaď. I just hope it was a very temporary problem after Lucie had played three three-setters in the previous four days.
4.2 About Jelena
I have been a Jelena Dokić fan ever since the 16-year-old Jelena hammered world #1 Martina Hingis 6-2 6-0 in the first round of Wimbledon 1999. The enormity of the upset sent me into a state of shock, but the manner in which it was achieved sent me into a state of delight. Jelena was hitting one gasping winner after another, especially at 6-2 4-0* when she broke Hingis' serve with one of the most amazing single games I have ever seen: a flurry of return-winners, a drive-volley winner and a most audacious dropshot.
I love the way Jelena hits the ball - not just with power and accuracy, but with wonderful aesthetic flair. With her sharp, beautifully-driven, flairsome groundstrokes, Jelena is a joy to watch, especially during one of her purple patches when she's hitting clean winners all over the court!
Jelena posted some excellent results early in her career. She went on to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon 1999, and the semi-finals in 2000. She was also a quarter-finalist at the French Open 2002, and rose to her career-high ranking of #4 later that year. She has won five WTA singles-titles: the first at Rome 2001, the latest at Birmingham 2002.
Jelena could have had an absolutely stellar career, had it not been for her severe personal problems. She split from her family in 2002, when the antics of her crazy, abusive father Damir became too much to bear. By 2004, she was battling severe depression, and spent four years in the wilderness, actually retiring from tennis for a while in 2007.
Jelena came back in 2008 with a solid year on the ITF circuit, and then made a spectacular run to the Australian Open 2009 quarter-finals, returning to the top 100 so that she could play regularly in the Majors and on the WTA Tour again.
Sadly, the rest of 2009 did not go anywhere near as well for Jelena as the Australian Open, as her health deteriorated (a heel-injury and mononucleosis). At the French Open 2009, Jelena was dominating world #4 Elena Dementieva 6-2 *2-1 in the second round before she was cruelly struck down by an excruciating lower-back injury that forced her to retire at *3-4.
So far in 2010, Jelena has failed to find anything resembling her best form; in fact, she has only played six tournaments – three of which were in January – and is just 4:6 for the year so far.
Jelena started 2010 with a first-round loss at Brisbane to #21-ranked former world #1 Ana Ivanović: 7-5 1-6 6-3.
At Hobart, she beat #83-ranked qualifier Elena Baltacha 6-4 6-2 for her only main-draw win at Tour-level of 2010 so far. She lost 6-2 6-2 to #30 Shahar Pe'er in the second round.
Jelena couldn't handle the pressure of defending her Australian Open 2009 quarter-final, as she bowed out to #31 Alisa Kleybanova 6-1 7-5 in the first round there. That was the last Jelena-match I have seen, and she looked very emotional – in a completely negative way.
Jelena pulled out of Australia's Fed Cup tie in February because she didn't want to let the team down, then attempted to qualify for Monterrey: she beat #204 Julia Cohen 6-7 6-2 6-1, but lost 6-2 6-2 to #167 Kristina Antoniychuk in the second round of qualifying.
Jelena plumbed new depths with a 6-0 6-3 loss to #43 Vera Dushevina in the first round of Indian Wells, and then didn't play for two months, pulling out of tournaments left, right and centre because of a right-elbow injury.
Jelena dropped out of the top 108 (she's currently #115) after the French Open entry-list was made, but sadly, the very week that the Wimbledon entry-list was made.
Jelena came back at ITF Prague in the week of 10th May, looking decidedly overweight (I'm sorry if you're reading this, Jelena, but my duty as an Eternal Fan is to observe and report). She beat #239 Lu,Jingjing 2-6 6-4 6-4 and #423 Emma Laine 4-6 7-6 7-6, before losing to #184 Corinna Dentoni 7-5 6-3 in the quarter-finals.
At a time when I'm struggling to come to terms with Nicole Vaidišová retiring from tennis at the grand old age of 20, I'm just grateful that Jelena so loves the sport that she's willing to keep grinding it out at 27.
4.3 The match-up
Lucie and Jelena have never played each other before, but based on recent form, Lucie goes into the match as the heavy favourite.
The only question-marks over Lucie are that she has suffered some injuries this year – including the left-thigh injury with which she retired a week ago – and that she can be inconsistent due to her high-risk game.
As for Jelena, it doesn't look at all good for her right now, but she is a big-match player, and can be a threat to anyone if she suddenly hits form.
4.4 Later rounds
Lucie would play the winner of Polona Hercog and qualifier Misaki Doi in the second round. Hercog is a useful player on clay: already this year, she has won ITF Cali and reached the final of Acapulco.
In the third round, Lucie would likely play Flavia Pennetta . Flavia is an excellent clay-court player, but hasn't really excelled at the French Open over the years, which suggests that she may have a mental block about the Majors. Her best French Open was when she reached the fourth round in 2008 by beating Venus Williams.
Should Lucie come through the Pennetta-test, the seedings would suggest Caroline Woźniacki  in the fourth round, but Caro has been struggling with an ankle-injury since retiring from Charleston, while Alexandra Dulgheru  is coming off a successful title-defence at Warsaw. As mentioned above, Lucie beat Dulgheru at Madrid after saving match-point.
The eighth of the draw that would determine Lucie's quarter-final opponent is wide open, as defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova  is way off form, although she did look impressive against last year's quarter-finalist Sorana Cîrstea on Sunday. Francesca Schiavone  was certainly deadly on clay to Lucie in Fed Cup, so perhaps she will be the one to come through.
Potential semi-final opponents include Venus Williams , Elena Dementieva , and Madrid-champion Aravane Rezaď .
5. Order of play for Monday
Court 6 (start 11:00 CEST = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST)
1. WS 1r: LUCIE ŠAFÁŘOVÁ [24,EF] v Jelena Dokić [EF]
2. WS 1r: Misaki Doi v Polona Hercog
3. MS 1r: Kei Nishikori v Santiago Giraldo
4. MS 1r: IVAN LJUBIČIĆ  v Lu,Yen-Hsun
Full order of play:
Dr. Andrew Broad
Last edited by andrewbroad; Jun 7th, 2010 at 01:55 AM.
Reason: edit Title