Mar 31st, 2002, 05:30 AM
I think that Monica has an excellent shot at the '02 French Open title for Grand Slam Tournament victory number 10!! She has had a very consistent year so far with some excellent wins and matches. I saw some vintage Seles play in her win against V. Williams and against Capriati tho other night-that match could have certainly gone her way with one more stinging second serve return! I feel that clay is Monica's best surface-her groundstokes are obviously her huge weapons and are quite equal in their potency-no real "weakness" to hit to. The clay surface allows Monica more time to set up to unleash her groundstrokes and we know that when Monica is set for her shots she is lethal with her pace and accuracy! I also saw her playing some improved defense against Capriati , bringing back the defensive lob at times which brought her back into the point and running down some bullets. The clay surface will also tone down the power of the top power players on the groundstrokes and serve which bodes well for Monica.(I can see her being in more control of the point, being forced out of position less) Just take a look at her results at the French: of course 3 victories!!2000-3set loss to event champ Pierce 1999-3 set loss to eventual champ Graf. 1998-3 set loss to champ S.Vicario. 1997-3 set loss to Hingis who lost to an outstanding Iva Majoli in the final. I like Monica's chances against Venus, Serena, Jennifer and Martina on clay-all of her matches against Hingis on clay have been very close except when she dominated Hingis at the '98 French! I feel she is the stongest clay-courter of the bunch-good luck Monica!!