A slew of US women at Roland Garros: Real chances, but never easy to win on clay

stephens, sloane 13 aussieThe US women entered Roland Garros with 17 players, two of whom has lost on Sunday at the bottom half when the teenager Louisa Chirico lost to No. 9 Ekaterina Makarova and Lauren Davis fell to Mirjana Baroni-Lucic. There are only two players left in the bottom half, Nicola Gibbs and Madison Brengle.

In the top half, No. 1 Serena Williams is favored, but most of the rest of the players have a chance to make it into the second week. However, four of the US players will go up each other and both will be extremely close.

TOP HALF

1-Serena Williams vs. Andrea Hlavackova: Williams is the favored wherever she goes but this could be a tricky contest, as the Czech has been round for quite a while now and she once made it to the fourth round at 2012 US Open. They know each other though, so Williams won’t be nervous and will batter her by reaching the second set.

Alexa Glatch vs. Anna-Lena Friedsam: Glatch qualified here, which was very good but not a stunner given that in six years ago in the Czech at Fed Cup she knocked out Iveta Benesova and then surprise, surpise, she shocked the young Petra Kvtiova. Glatch has more experience now but Friedsam from Germany is an up and comer.

15-Venus Williams vs. Sloane Stephens: This is a big contests between the two Americans, with the 34-year-old Venus who has been around for a very long time and the 22-year-old Stephens — who has reached into the second week twice at Roland Garros – is growing up. Stephens has played a bit better last week by reaching the semis in Strasbourg, while Williams started slowly on clay, easily losing to Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep in Madrid and Italy.

Venus Willaims and Stephens have yet to face off, but Venus has watched Sloane and Serena go at each other hard and who have been extremely dramatic.

Venus will try to back Sloane near to the wall. Sloane will attempt to yank Venus way wide. If they both play very well it can end up being the most exciting contest in the first round.

Shelby Roger vs. 10-Andrea Petkovic: The German Petkovic is clearly favored, but the German has been hurt over the past months so she is vulnerable. It’s up to Roger to hang in there and when she gets chances she must go for it.

Christina McHale vs. Loudes Lino Dominguez: McHale qualified at both Madrid and Rome so clearly she is finally healthy once again. She is very steady on the clay and should be able to out run Dominguez.

Alison Riske vs. 17-Sara Errani: Over the past two years Riske has improved quite a bit. While she is substantially better on grass and hard courts, Riske can give the Italian trouble if she is super patient because Errani is very tricky.

Irina Falconi vs. Manon Arcangioli: Falconi hasn’t played singles on clay, but overall she has hung in there this year and should be able to out last the young Frenchwomen, who is a wild card.

CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Julia Goerges: Over the past year, Vandeweghe has been much more consistent and she is much better reading her play. However Goerges has been very good on clay and can dictate her heavy forehand, so in order to win, the American has to make sure she cracks her first serve and jump on her returns.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. 30- Irina-Camellia Begu: Mattek-Sands was out due to an injury that last six months in 2014 and while she has been on fire in doubles, she has struggled in singles. However, if she can contain herself and make sure that the Romanian is unsure which way she is going she will have a real chance.

Taylor Townsend vs. Tereza Smitkova: Townsend is still very young and she has a lot to learn, but when she is feeling it she can overpower from both her opponents. However, the young Czech Smitkova has potential too so the result will be extremely difficult.

16-Madison Keys vs. Varvara Lepchenko: Keys has been very good when she has been on this year, but she’s been so-so when her body was aching. Lepchenko had cracked the top 30 once again but the fellow American Lepchenko has been hurt since the end of January. However, she feels much better and she can be an excellent clay lover. This is a true pick-em, huge serves by Keys and heavy left-handed by Lepchenko’s.

BOTTOM HALF

Nicola Gibbs vs. Alexandra Dulgheru: The former Stanford standout has gradually improved the past year and if she can keep the balls deep then she might be able to frustrate the experienced Romanian.

Madison Brengle vs. Samantha Stosur: Brengle has a had a terrific year for the most part, but she hasn’t figured out the clay yet. Stosur has reached the RG final before so unless she if off, Brengle will have to pull off her biggest clay court win ever.

 

 

 

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