After a rollercoaster start to Roland Garros 2014, day 5 was somewhat flat. The two womens seeds to fall were Kirsten Flipkens and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Pavs was forced to retire hurt with a back injury against Kiki Bertens. She had break points in the second set that would have seen her serve for the match. It was such a shame because she had a great draw to the quarters. She also lamented her “disrespectful” opponent on Twitter. In other matches, Lucie Safarova nearly blew a 6-1 5-2 lead over Casey Dellacqua before eventually prevailing in three sets and Andrea Petkovic beat Stefanie Voegele to progress as the only seed in Li’s eighth of the draw. There are some huge gaping holes in this draw and there will be some surprise names in the quarters.
1. Carla Suarez Navarro v Taylor Townsend (WTA RG, R3)
This is Taylor Townsend‘s first ever appearance in a Grand Slam main draw. The 18-year-old American is causing huge shockwaves through the WTA as she recorded a stunning 6-4 4-6 6-4 victory over Alize Cornet in front of a vociferous Suzanne Lenglen crowd. Townsend is such a talented player with bucket loads of variety and an excellent head on her shoulders. In her first round win over Vania King, she came back from 5-1 down in the first set to win 7-5 6-1. She hit 52 winners in just 99 minutes! Against Cornet, Townsend led 4-1 in the second set and 5-1 in the third set. Serving for the match for the second time in the third set, Townsend secured the best win of her career so far.
Townsend faces another tough opponent in Carla Suarez Navarro. The Spaniard’s results this week have not been entirely convincing. In the first round, she came from behind in both sets to beat Yuliya Beygelzmier, 7-5 7-5 and then toughed a tight three setter against Timea Bacsinszky in the second round, 7-5 1-6 6-4. Townsend will be an incredibly difficult opponent for CSN because she will have nothing to lose and a lot of confidence after beating Cornet. The Spaniard is a very talented player on clay and has been in better form than Cornet. I definitely would not be surprised to see Taylor bag the upset win. However, CSN would be my tip.
Prediction: Suarez Navarro d. Townsend in 3 sets
2. Dominika Cibulkova v Sam Stosur (WTA RG, R3)
Dominika Cibulkova secured her first two wins on the clay this year at Roland Garros as she won through to the third round. In particular, her first match against Virginie Razzano was an excellent encounter. Razzano served for the first set; Cibulkova, who was POME-ing on practically every point, found another level and finished strongly, 7-5 6-1. In the second round, she comfortably saw off the qualifier Tamira Paszek, 6-3 6-4. Much like Madrid and Rome, Domi has drawn a shocker as she will play Sam Stosur in the third round.
Stosur has looked in inspirational form, losing just six games in two matches. Her first round win over Monica Puig where she served out two breadsticks was particularly impressive. This is a horrible match-up for Cibulkova as I mentioned when they played in Madrid. Stosur’s kick serve on the clay is very difficult for Cibulkova, at her height, to return effectively. The head-to-head demonstrates this as Stosur has won all four of their matches in straight sets. Stosur defeated Cibulkova, 6-4 6-0 in their most recent encounter in Madrid. On clay, Stosur would have to have a seriously bad day at the office for Cibulkova to prevail.
Prediction: Stosur d. Cibulkova in 2 sets
WTA Roland Garros 3rd Round Predictions
3. Garbine Muguruza d. Anna Schmiedlova in 3 sets – Garbine goes from heavy underdog to heavy favourite. This will not be easy and I really hope she can back that win over Serena. Don’t be surprised if it’s really close.
4. Mona Barthel d. Pauline Parmentier in 3 sets – come on Mona!
5. Maria Sharapova d. Paula Ormaechea in 2 sets – Straightforward.
6. Agnieszka Radwanska d. Ajla Tomljanovic in 3 sets – Aga has looked in good form so far, but so has Tomljanovic. The young Croat has a powerful game and could give Aga a scare in this one.
7. Eugenie Bouchard d. Johanna Larsson in 2 sets – Like Melbourne, the draw has opened up beautifully for Genie. Larsson is at her best on the clay, but Bouchard is reasonally reliable in winning the matches you would expect her to win.
8. Angelique Kerber d. Daniela Hantuchova in 2 tight sets – Kerber secured an excellent win over Lepchenko in the second round after a dodgy clay court season. She has beaten Hantuchova twice in a row and will be the favourite.