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tennisIlove09
May 21st, 2005, 10:55 PM
Davenport has tough draw for a top seed

By Pam Shriver
Special to ESPN.com






With Australian Open winner Serena Williams' withdrawal from the French Open, there is no chance of a Grand Slam winner on the women's side this year.

Even though Serena has won the title in Paris before, the French Open has to be the most difficult major for her to win. It makes sense for her to get 100 percent healthy for Wimbledon where she'll probably be the co-favorite with Maria Sharapova.



http://espn.starwave.com/media/ten/2005/0521/photo/g_hardenne_i.jpg
Justine Henin-Hardenne has three clay-court wins entering the French Open.




During the Family Circle Cup, I said former champion Justine Henin-Hardenne was my favorite for the French Open, which begins Monday. It wasn't that long ago that she was the No. 1 player in the world after having won three majors. Back from a difficult illness as the tenth seed, she's proved that she can dominate on clay again by winning three consecutive clay tournaments this season.

She has a difficult first round against Conchita Martinez and is surrounded by Spanish clay-court players early on. Henin-Hardenne should be able to handle them.

No. 1 Lindsay Davenport possibly has the toughest draw of any top seed. In the first round, she faces Katarina Srebotnik, who is capable of winning the match. Davenport needs to be fully adapted to the red clay from the start -- otherwise she could be out. She'll likely find a way, but it's a tough first round. She also faces a good player in the second round.

It's Davenport's least favorite major and the only one she hasn't won.

The only positive for Davenport is that if she can get through the quarters and the semis, the draw grows easier with Elena Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina in her half.

Kim Clijsters, who is in Davenport's round of 16, is an uncertain with her bum knee. Hopefully, she'll be able to start the tournament and be 100 percent. She won the Pacific Life Open and Miami and then had to take time off again. If she's healthy enough, Clijsters has a much easier early path than Davenport.

If either Davenport of Clijsters fails to hit stride in that section of the draw, Patty Schnyder is very tough. She just lost to Amelie Mausemo in a tough final in Rome. She's kind of a dark horse to get through.

There's nothing earth-shattering in Elena Dementieva's draw. A year ago she lost a bruising final at the French Open. Afterward, she cried in front of the world, saying she hated her serve. Will that Achilles' heel hurt her in Paris -- where a strong serve means less -- or will she be able to hold her own?

Considering Venus Williams' year and her record in majors the past couple of seasons, she has a pretty good draw. In the first round, she faces Marta Marrero, whom she just routed 6-0, 6-0 in Turkey. Fabiola Zuluaga will be a test in the second round. Then comes Sesil Karachentieva, one of the most talked about teens alongside Nicole Vaidisova. But Venus should reach the round of 16 where she might face Myskina, who faces the pressure of defending her title.

Venus comes into this major after winning in Istanbul, Turkey. Doing well in a lower-tier tournament can improve confidence. She's a long shot, but you always have to keep your eye on someone who has won four majors.

Myskina hasn't had a good year. Will she regain her confidence or cave under the pressure? She plays Maria Sanchez Lorenzo in the early rounds, so we shouldn't have to wait long to see how comfortable Myskina is out there.

Nadia Petrova was the last player to face Monica Seles on tour almost two years ago (has it been that long already since Seles last played?). Petrova has such a range of play and good mental attitude on the court that if her stars are lined up right, keep an eye on her.

Tatiana Golovin just missed out on a top 16 seed and will go into the French Open this year as a name for the first time. How will she respond? She's a potential third-round opponent for Elena Bovina. They would be fighting to take on Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo in the round of 16.

Mauresmo is the enigma. She's the best player not to win a major on the women's side. She suffocated on the court under the pressure of her home major. Will she break out of that at Paris or does she need to break through someplace else first? If she does well the first week, it will certainly set fire to the French Open.

Vaidisova, the other young teen to watch for, could get through to the round of 16 to face Mauresmo. That would end up being one of the most a hyped up matches of the tournament -- on either side of the draw.

The other thing to look for with Mauresmo is if the mental strain spills over to affect her physically. If she's not all beat up, it might show her mind is healthy, too.

Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova, two of the Russians who won majors last year, bookend the final section of the draw.

Clay likely isn't the surface for Sharapova. If she's a little erratic, her big shots don't mean as much, so there's more pressure than on other surfaces.

Kuznetsova would appear to be more comfortable on clay. Natalie Dechy is a floater in this section. Other potentially tough players to watch here are Paola Suarez, whose ranking has slipped but has been good in the past, and Gisela Dulko who has had some good results on clay.

Still, Henin-Hardenne is in this section of the draw. She and Sharapova are the two best roll-up-your-sleeves competitors in women's tennis and could meet in the quarterfinals.

ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.

Wannabeknowitall
May 21st, 2005, 11:11 PM
I love Pam Shriver but in this article she seems to be just trying to save her ass. I'm sure she watched Srebotnik play at Charleston. I watched Katarina play the whole week and she just doesn't have the game to beat Lindsay even when she's on. I would say Lindsay might have an issue against Peng but Peng hits hard and moves slow and Lindsay hits harder and moves slower.
Vaidisova is not getting through Schaivone and Jankovic to play Mauresmo in the fourth round. She has the hardest draw of anyone in the top 40. Lindsay's draw could be worse. It's not that bad. I wish people would give her a little credit on clay. She did make it to the SF once. Even Kuznetsova and Mauresmo haven't done that yet.

thelittlestelf
May 21st, 2005, 11:39 PM
How can Mauresmo be the best player not to win a major on the women's side when Kim beat her 60 61 this year on her comeback trail?

Martian KC
May 21st, 2005, 11:45 PM
I'm glad the analysts have positive things to say about Nadia.:)

skanky~skanketta
May 21st, 2005, 11:46 PM
sorry Pam, but Kim is the best to have not won a major.

you'd think that after so long being on wtaworld Pam S would have some brains by now!

cartmancop
May 22nd, 2005, 02:06 AM
I definitely agree with those of you who said that Kim is the best player to not win a major.

Amelie is the 2nd but only has 1 slam final in her career (99 AO)

Kim has 4+ (not sure of the exact #, but she's been to the final of the French twice)

tennnisfannn
May 22nd, 2005, 02:17 AM
there is nothing new she says, the same stuff we all talk about here all day, how i wish we could be payed too to say the same. I think lindsay is a little underrated on clay. She is not going to lose to the likes of Srebotnik. Lindsay never loses to non top tenners regardless of surface. YOu would have to go back to last years' match against claudine. Kim and justine don't count in this instance.
Besides Justine, pam feels every other top 12 seed is a co favourite.

ceiling_fan
May 22nd, 2005, 02:18 AM
gr8 article!

Smackie
May 22nd, 2005, 02:19 AM
Are you guys saying RG and Wimbledon are not majors? Although not as popular as singles, doubles titles are still majors you know....and Amelie has yet to get one in either singles or doubles.... :(

Overall, Kim is definately better than Momo though.

fammmmedspin
May 22nd, 2005, 02:24 AM
Odd even allowing for Pam's record at prediction.
Myskina and Dementieva are hardly easier for Lindsay than Katerina - that statement is plain silly. IF they are playing well they both might be expected to beat her on clay or on the evidence of recent encounters. If they do get that far they will probably be playing well enough to beat Lindsay.

Kim is better than Momo - just look at any statistic of wins, GS performance or time at number 1 let alone the the H2H - so where the idea that Momo is the best player not to win a major came from Lord knows.. Maria is worth more than a quick mention too - you wouldn't be surprised to see her win given everyone else is injured or has played poorly at some point in 2005.

Its orribly vague too. Myskina plays Sanchez Lorenzo "in the early rounds?" - looking at the draw would have told her which? There are more than 2 young players plus Tatiana too - you wouldn't be surprised to see some of them in the 4 rd.

mboyle
May 22nd, 2005, 03:04 AM
Who said Vaidisova wouldn't get through to play Momo? I bet she will. I also bet that Momo loses before the QF.

tenn_ace
May 22nd, 2005, 03:16 AM
Nadia has a good mental attitude? :rolleyes:

Jakeev
May 22nd, 2005, 03:25 AM
Look we know Lindsay is not the quickest rabbit on tour. But she is fitter than probably the majority of just the women Pam mentioned in her article.

If Lindsay is on and she is healthy, red clay or not, Linds will be a force to be reckoned with.

VeeReeDavJCap81
May 22nd, 2005, 03:25 AM
Nadia has a good mental attitude? :rolleyes:

I was thinking the same thing too....

pcrtennis
May 22nd, 2005, 03:28 AM
I love Pam Shriver but in this article she seems to be just trying to save her ass. I'm sure she watched Srebotnik play at Charleston. I watched Katarina play the whole week and she just doesn't have the game to beat Lindsay even when she's on. I would say Lindsay might have an issue against Peng but Peng hits hard and moves slow and Lindsay hits harder and moves slower.
Vaidisova is not getting through Schaivone and Jankovic to play Mauresmo in the fourth round. She has the hardest draw of anyone in the top 40. Lindsay's draw could be worse. It's not that bad. I wish people would give her a little credit on clay. She did make it to the SF once. Even Kuznetsova and Mauresmo haven't done that yet.


Shuai Peng is not slow....have you seen her play?

Derek.
May 22nd, 2005, 03:37 AM
Peng gets a lot of balls back. ;)

Wannabeknowitall
May 22nd, 2005, 03:41 AM
Shuai Peng is not slow....have you seen her play?

Yeah I've seen her play. I watched her play against Justine at Charleston and her movement could have been better. Her court coverage is not the best. I also saw her against Venus at the AO. She wasn't moving great there either.

Julia1968
May 22nd, 2005, 03:43 AM
ALLEZ JUSTINE!!!!

brunof
May 22nd, 2005, 04:03 AM
No. 1 Lindsay Davenport possibly has the toughest draw of any top seed. In the first round, she faces Katarina Srebotnik, who is capable of winning the match. Davenport needs to be fully adapted to the red clay from the start -- otherwise she could be out. She'll likely find a way, but it's a tough first round. She also faces a good player in the second round.

It's Davenport's least favorite major and the only one she hasn't won.

The only positive for Davenport is that if she can get through the quarters and the semis, the draw grows easier with Elena Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina in her half.



What is Pam talking about? I guess a healthy Myskina and Elena are no comparison to Katarina Strebotnik. :rolleyes: :yawn:

UDiTY
May 22nd, 2005, 04:11 AM
Pam is an oddball.


I doubt Katarina Srebotnik will trouble Lindsay. And Mauresmo and Vaidisova the most hyped match of the tournament...yeah right. Nicole is hardly experienced anough to beat Momo on clay, unless she totally colapses.

Dawn Marie
May 22nd, 2005, 09:04 PM
Pam, what the hell are you talking about?

LMAO.

Petrova has good mental attitude? lol

Momo vrs Nicole a hyped match.. yeah right.

Lindsay being troubles by Katarina? lol

Momo is the most talented player to not win a slam but she is not the BEST as Kim has a better record. Yet I do understand where Pamfro may have stated that about Momo.

I think people like Pamfro are underestimating Svetlana and overestimating Maria here.

Pengwin
May 22nd, 2005, 09:30 PM
She's the best player not to win a major on the women's side.

Wow she just said Mauresmo is better than herself and Clijsters :eek:.