Chris has the Williams sisters duking it out against the Serbians in the bottom half of the 2008 French Open women’s draw. See his breakdown after the cut…
The biggest competitors here are Venus and Mauresmo. Venus hasn’t played much but is always a threat. And Mauresmo has been written off– perhaps she’ll do better flying under the radar? Pennetta and Bartoli could be trouble, but Bartoli has done little since Wimbledon and Pennetta wilts under pressure. Venus makes it through.
The winner of this quarter takes the whole thing: Jankovic. Cornet will be her biggest threat but Jankovic only loses a handful of games until meeting Venus in the QFs.
One of the other biggest beneficiaries of Henin’s withdrawal (aside from Masha) is Serena Williams. Lord knows if Henin decided to make this her last tournament, Serena would be on the other side of the draw. The only one who could give Serena any trouble here is Patty Schnyder (who somehow managed to make her way up to the 10th seed) … of course, that is, if she doesn’t go out to Bychkova in R1 or has a repeat of her forever-long match with Paszek in R2, or her fellow countrymate Bacsinszky in R2.
Three names to note: Ivanovic, Alona Bondarenko, and Benesova. Ivanovic has been struggling since Indian Wells. Benesova has had one of the better spring clay court seasons on the women’s tour this year. Ivanovic could go out to Lucie Safarova in R2. If that happens, I wouldn’t be surprised if Safarova (who has been slumping lately) heads on through to the SFs.