While rain has caused some of the second round matches to spill over to Friday, several third round clashes on the women’s side at the French Open have been determined. And with 8 of the top 10 seeds still in the draw, there is plenty of exciting tennis to look forward to. Here are our picks of the best women’s third round matches in Paris.
Samantha Stosur (9) vs. (18) Jelena Jankovic – H2H Jankovic leads 6-2 (1-1 on clay)
There aren’t clay court specialists in the women’s game today but Stosur and Jankovic certainly enjoy playing on the dirt. Both have done well on clay in the past – Stosur having reached the finals here in 2010 and being in the semis in three of the last four years while Jankovic is a three-time former semi-finalist in Paris. Jankovic has the confidence of having won six of their eight encounters (including their most recent on clay in Stuttgart last month) and is also in the in-form player. The former world no. 1 has won 18 of her last 24 matches coming into this tournament, a run that yielded a title in Bogota and the finals in Charleston. Stosur is only 14-11 for the season and an injured right calf at Indian Wells has hampered her clay court season. Neither player has dropped a set in their first two matches this week. Stosur will be the more aggressive player here but Jankovic is not the typical counter-puncher. The Serb can turn defense to offense just as easily. Expect a three set battle and some baseline slugfest. Prediction – Jankovic to win in three sets
Sara Errani (5) vs. Sabine Lisicki H2H (they haven’t met before).
Sara Errani has become a force to reckon with on the women’s tour in the past 17 months. Errani’s clay court credentials need no introduction – she reached the finals here twelve months ago. And the Italian is now beginning to find success on the hard courts too. Errani plays a classic clay court game –loopy top spin shots, moving the opponent from side to side and coming to the net to finish off points. Her opponent in the third round is the German Sabine Lisicki, blessed with an ability to rip winners from any part of the court and at any time; and also cursed by the desire to rip winners from any part of the court and at any time. Lisicki has reached 2 finals this year but is only 8-8 in her other events. The German will be playing in the third round in Paris for the first time and it is unlikely she will be able to sustain the kind of performance that is needed to dethrone Errani. Prediction – Errani in straights sets
Ana Ivanovic (14) vs Viginia Razzano H2H Ivanovic leads 4-1
Last year, Virigine Razzano, still grieving from the loss of her fiancé, stunned Serena Williams in the first round but went down in the second. This year, the 30 year old is quietly going about her business in the main draw and has won two rounds. With nothing to lose and the Parisian crowd behind her, Razzano is capable of pulling an upset over the Serb. Ivanovic is hoping to make it back to the quarters for the first time since 2008 and will need to keep her nerves and her serve from saying too far wide if she hopes to make it to the second week. Prediction – Razzano in three sets
(8) Petra Kvitova vs. Jamie Hampton H2H Their first meeting
This is going to be one power-hitting spectacle. Neither player particularly likes playing on clay and both are known for looking for the first opportunity to strike a winner. Kvitova has much more experience at this stage. But Hampton is not afraid of the spotlight. She nearly pset world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka in Melbourne in January and saved matchpoints to beat Czech Lucie Safarova in the first round here. The margins are going to be thin. The player who can control the ball better will be the one who wins. Prediction – Petra Kvitova in three sets
But perhaps the most intriguing third round match could come from the section of the draw with unfinished second round matches. If Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli and former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone win their rain delayed second round matches on Friday, the two will set up a third round showdown. Bartoli and Schiavone don’t just play, they fight. Bartoli’s eccentric double fisted game against the artistry and one-handed backhand of Schiavone will be a treat for the tennis fans.