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Chionophile
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
ESPN's Fleur Delacour is back and ready to gaze into her crystal ball to reveal her preview and predictions for Roland Garros 2007!



Fleur Delacour


I know what it takes to do well at Roland Garros, having been in the semis myself. The crowd is unruly, the ball bounces high, the rallies are long, the weather unpredictable and you have to keep up a high level of claycourt tennis for 2 full weeks. Yes, welcome to Roland Garros for 2007. So 60 players have gathered to playoff for the ultimate crown as Queen of Clay for the year. But who's got the best chances and who will prevail?

The favourites

Patsy-Lou Selez



This time last year, everyone would've said Patsy-Lou who? and quite rightly. But after a few years on tour Patsy really realized her potential in a matter of months earlier this year. She started her form by winning her first career title Bogota and reaching the finals of Acapulco. She then continued that great claycourt form by adding Amelia Island and reaching the finals of Budapest. Those 4 finals and a runner up appearance in Miami catapulted Selez to a top ten ranking and an international tennis stardom. She has really arrived. And although since then she's been slumping a bit, the her ability to use angles and spins on a claycourt not only makes her a favourite against any player but also a joy to watch. She is definitely a favourite. Selez is in a fairly tough quarter of the draw with #1 Sorrenta and #5 seed Sarile who has proven that she can do damage on clay too at Berlin. It's a tough road but if Selez can find her form from Feb-April, she'll pull through.

Ruflina Taliamanosoko



Last year's finalist and winner of Warsaw this year, Ruflina has been really the journeywoman of the circuit and always a players' and crowds' favourite. Many got behind her last year which was her third final here in Paris but it wasn't to be. Will it be her year finally this year? Well, there are many questions. Ruflina, if playing at her best, can beat anyone. This is true, we all know this. But the problem for her and especially lately is that she's too erratic. Case in point, she won Warsaw and backed up with a 1st round loss in Berlin, followed by a semifinal in Rome. So really, the question is which Ruflina will turn up. But in any case, it cannot be denied at Ruflina is indeed a strong favourite for the title. Ruflina's got Caroline Whitten in the quarters but will possibly be challenged Ludenbach, Charleston champion or le Frandt much earlier on. And facing a claycourt specialist like Prado in 1st round doesn't help either.

Larissa Ovechkina



Larissa came into last year's tournament as a heavy favourite only to lose early in the tournament. There was a lot of pressure on her. This year it's different, she's not a favourite in many people's eyes. But I beg to differ. Larissa has been extremely consistent on the claycourts this year reaching semifinals in Amelia Island, Warsaw and Berlin as well as quarterfinals in Rome. What does this mean? Well it means she's beating most of the lower ranked players and getting a lot of matches under her belt. This is important for clay and mentally she should be confident to get through those early rounds and if she finds herself deep in the draw anything can happen. On paper, Ovechkina, the #6 seed, should cruise to the semis. She has Mésane in her quarter who has only managed to win 1 match on clay this season but no doubt will lift for the French crowd, and slumping former champion Karla Herrera as main contenders. All the others could beat her on a bad day but in general she should pull through.

Karolina Korbanova



The 17-year-old shot to fame by winning her 1st career title at Estoril and backing it up with the big one - Tier I Rome just two weeks before Roland Garros. She's really a rising star and the only drawback to her being a favourite is that she lacks grand slam experience. But that won't deter her. If she plays fearless tennis and goes for her shots like she did in Rome, few players will be able to stop her. She's healthy, hungry and without emotional baggages like other veterans so I can definitely see her going all the way in this event. It helps that she's won two titles on clay this season already, it shows she's not afraid to win. But faces a tough obstacle with defending champion Caroline Whitten in a potential 2nd round meeting. But Whitten hasn't been her best.

The darkhorses

Caroline Whitten



She's the defending champion, so she's got be at least the darkhorse right? But you know, that's what I said for Elise Mésane at the Australian Open and look what happened. These days, you just never know. Caroline is so experienced and although she hasn't been playing good tennis she'll lift for the grand slams and I think she could surprise a few here. But again a potential 2nd round meeting with Korbanova means she'll have it tough from the get-go. The thing about Caroline is that she had a phenomenal 2006 winning 7 titles including a grand slam and season ending championships. This year, I think she's come down from an emotional high of 2006. She's achieved everything and her priorities are turning away from tennis. This is really affecting her on the court where she's playing like she's not interested. At Estoril in the finals, she seemed more happy to see her doubles partner win. This tournament will be telling.

Martine Kartincova



Martine, like Selez, has improved a lot this season. But hasn't really translated this into big tournament wins. Ironically, she reached the finals at Amelia Island and lost to Selez there. She backed this up with a semifinal in Charleston. With a beautiful backhand and natural baseline game based on aggressive heavily topped groundstrokes from both wings, Martine is really a claycourt monster waiting to be unleashed. I believe we've only seen a glimpse of her potential. Despite a strong green claycourt season, Martine hasn't been able to convert that into success on the red dirt. She reached quarterfinals in Budapest and semifinals in Warsaw and Strasbourg so she has been having moderate success. I do think she's a darkhorse in this tournament. She's the lowest seed in her quarter of the draw but probably playing the best, most consistent claycourt tennis right now. I can see going deep in the draw if she holds together mentally early on.

Silvana Fabiani



Silvana has been toiling away on tour with many 1st round losses week-in, week-out until her dreams finally came true when she beat Lindsay-Anne Sarile to win the big Tier I - Berlin three weeks before this tournament. It was a big moment for the emotional Italian who loves playing on the slow hardcourts or claycourts. Of course, this meant that she came into the Italian Open a week later as a heroine and home town favourite. Although she lost in the 2nd round there, Silvana showed that she has what takes to beat the best on clay, if she can keep her emotions in control. As far as the raw talent and game is concerned, she's got it. Snuggled cosily with the #1 player Sorrenta in the very top quarter, Fabiani will have a lot of challenges from the beginning with last week's Istanbul champion Isis Smith facing her in the 1st round. But this is a test that Silvana can get through. If she holds herself together I could easily see her reliving her Berlin success here.

Anjelica de la Courtiere




Anjelica was champion here in 2003 and reached the finals in 2004. She loves clay and makes it well known. One of the best claycourters on tour, she's making her comeback after a retirement. Since the comeback, she's found life hard on the tour as she hasn't been able to keep up with the pace of the shots but in Rome two weeks ago, everything came together for the Mexican and she reached her first tour final for the first time in 2 years. Things are looking up for Anjelica if she can keep this up. With her record at this tournament and on clay she has been at least a darkhorse for the title. She doesn't have a bad draw but could face old foes Banaszek and Torres very early which could spell doom for her. But in this game, everything is unpredictable and Anjelica could easily sneak through to the semis and from then on, who knows. Despite her lack of success since the comeback, this is one player I'm not going to overlook.

The others

Eva Sorrenta



There's no doubt that Eva's the best and most consistent player on tour right now. She's just not the best on clay - yet. She won Budapest which was a career dream of hers to complete a quartet of wins on all four surfaces and I'm sure that she'd be now eying grand slam success on the red dirt. She has the game to win. She has a nice all-court game with virtually no weaknesses and has Plans B, C, D and so on. But on any given day, players can hit better rallies and outlast her on points on clay and that's been her problem on this surface so far. The key for Eva will be to keep the points short, get creative, come into the net. If she can doing this and go through the draw unnoticed, she just might win it.

Heidrhun Hera Thorarinsdottir




With a tournament victory already in Prague under her belt, this tennis beauty from Iceland won't be afraid of beating any players on clay. She's had a good season playing mostly the lower tiers and finding success and working her way up on the tour. Her favourite surface is clay and she plays aggressive tennis with a strong serve and drop shots. This girl makes the points happen. In a fairly less competitive part of the draw, she just might pull through and surprise everyone. She faces a tough assignment with #15 seed Spears in the 1st round but if she can get through that, she just might go a couple of rounds deeper.

Lindsay-Anne Sarile



The biggest problem with Lindsay on clay maybe that she underestimates herself too much. Guess what, Lindsay? You reached the finals of Berlin and reached a career high #4 ranking just after that. You ain't too bad on the red dirt. That's the reality. But will the tall filipina believe in herself? That's what we'll have to see. Technically, Lindsay struggles a little on the surface because she doesn't move as well as others but the slow bouncing clay means she has plenty of time to set up her shots and actually make her appear to be moving faster. With tremendous anticipation, she could turn into a winner hitter and that's what happened in Berlin. The same could happen here but she has a tough assignment with Selez and Sorrenta in her quarter. But with a little bit of self-belief...

Regla Torres



The actress recently starred in movie Paris, je t'aime and is a confessed lover of Paris and everything French. And why not? She loves clay, she was a finalist here in 2005 and won her first tournament here (in Paris Indoors, not Roland Garros) in 2005 after a long lay-off. She also even had doubles success in Paris indoors this year. Yes, she's familiar with the city but she's also familiar with the bitter taste of defeat. Losing to Ferrer in a heartbreaking semifinal of 2002 and losing to Masterton in 2nd round last year were some of her toughest losses she said in an interview. This year, the Mexican hasn't had the same success on clay she's had in other years. If anything, her record has been abysmal. She's reached no finals on the surface and just semifinals in Bogota and Istanbul. But if there's a player really hungry for success here, it's Torres. She'll give it her all and with a slumping Banaszek and Nielsen who doesn't like clay in her quarter, things just might turn her way.

Venke Ludenbach



Venke shot to fame by winning the prestigious Charleston event. Given the history of that tournament's winners, she's bound to be a star, right? Well the rest of the clay season hasn't been so kind to Venke who has struggled in qualifying or in early rounds of tournaments. But the first time, I and many of us, heard of Venke wasn't in Charleston. It was in the Australian Open when she reached the quarterfinals. This shows this girl is a bone fide star who has what takes to make it big on the big stage. The question for her now is can she do it, right here, right now? She likes clay and she has terrific groundstrokes. So that's already two ticks in her favour. Looking at her draw the first big player she could face is le Frandt (who has been disappointing on clay) and followed by stars like Taliamanosoko and Whitten. She can do it but like she admits her weakness that is her mental strength, will she?

Final thoughts

Well, what to say? In a season when you have three virtual unknowns splitting the three biggest tournaments: Charleston, Berlin and Rome, you really just don't have a STRONG favourite. The winners of those events respectively Ludenbach, Fabiani and Korbanova all have a strong case for why they might win but also why they might now. Korbanova as the winner of Rome (and Estoril) probably makes the strongest case but then can she really beat Whitten in the 2nd round (she did in Estoril) but again, in a grand slam? Well, we'll see. As for other favourites, you have Selez and Taliamanosoko who has again strong cases for why they might win but also very strong cases for why they might now. And what about the unmentioned players? Remember Elise Mésane lifted despite all impossibilities reached the quarterfinals here with strong crowd support. She's seeded 4th here and might do just that. And Nadia Banaszek has been slumping but expressed that she has a strong desire to win on clay. And don't forget youngsters like Siri Cornetsson and Isis Smith who've experienced success on claycourts already. Cornetsson, in fact, winning 2 Tier III events on clay already this year. I guess my final thoughts are just that: no one knows anything! We can only guess. And on that note, my predictions...

Predictions

Quarterfinals

[14] Silvana Fabiani vs. [11] Patsy-Lou Selez
[6] Larissa Ovechkina vs. Heidrhun Hera Thorarinsdottir
[16] Martine Kartincova vs. Anjelica de la Courtiere
[8] Ruflina Taliamanosoko vs. Karolina Korbanova

Semifinals

[11] Patsy-Lou Selez vs. [6] Larissa Ovechkina
[16] Martine Kartincova vs. Karolina Korbanova

Final


[11] Patsy-Lou Selez vs. Karolina Korbanova

Winner

Karolina Korbanova



Bonne chance à tous! :wavey:
 

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My prediction:

QF

Selima Valentine vs Patsy Lou Selez

Barbora Murakova vs Elise Mesane

Hanne Nielsen vs Regla Torres

Candela Sanchez vs Caroline Whitten

SF

Selima Valentine vs Elise Mesane

Candela Sanchez vs Regla Torres

F

Elise Mesane vs Candela Sanchez

W

Elise Mesane
 

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A Young Troubadour.
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Predicted to win? :tape: :eek:

I don't see me getting past Caroline to be frank :bolt:
 

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Excellent preview, Sam. :yeah:

It really is hard to predict a winner, seeing nobody stuck out during the clay season, but the four favourites are well chosen.
 

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Good picks Fleur. Whenever one pairs with a game runner, they tend to win. Interesting...
 

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SMUstang,
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ironically karolina didnt win shit until i stopped running it lol
 

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SMUstang,
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yea exactly...not shit
:p
 

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My prediction:

QF

Selima Valentine vs Patsy Lou Selez

Barbora Murakova vs Elise Mesane

Hanne Nielsen vs Regla Torres

Candela Sanchez vs Caroline Whitten

SF

Selima Valentine vs Elise Mesane

Candela Sanchez vs Regla Torres

F

Elise Mesane vs Candela Sanchez

W

Elise Mesane
are you jinx me? :lol:
honey, i'm not gonna make QF b/c i've won only 2 matches on clay. i probably lost 1R here :eek:
 

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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
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Hm. Heiðrún just got jinxed, hehe. After her Prague victory she didn't win a single match...
 

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I think its between Karolina and Patsy-Lou, definitely.
 

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Team WTAworld, TOP President
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Awww, that was sweet of you Fleur :hug:
 
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