Roland Garros, 3rd Round Preview Day 7: Kvitova v Kuznetsova, Ivanovic v Safarova and more

After a reasonably quiet day on Thursday, the upset train kicked into gear again as Ajla Tomljanovic knocked out the highest remaining seed in the womens draw, Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4 6-4.  After failing to serve out an upset win over Sloane Stephens at the Australian Open, Tomljanovic steadied herself in Paris to record the biggest win of her career.  Beyond the Baseline did a great feature on her yesterday, which is well worth a read HERE.  Some great matches on Saturday and the first two womens matches are top on my viewing list 🙂

Polls: In yesterday’s polls, 80% correctly went for Stosur to beat Cibulkova, 51% sided with Townsend over CSN, 69% went for Raonic over Simon and 55% correctly went for Berdych over Bautista Agut.

TFF Dream Team Update: BK has moved into 1st place, Grand Slammers are 2nd and Alice moves into 3rd place.

1. Petra Kvitova v Svetlana Kuznetsova (WTA RG, R3)

Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

There are some huge gaping holes in this womens draw, most notably in the first and fourth quarters.  However the third quarter has held up remarkably well with seven of the eight seeds prevailing.  Petra Kvitova has made a no-nonsense start to her Roland Garros campaign, winning both her matches in straight sets.  I’ll be surprised if she can complete the hat-trick as she goes up against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round.  Svetlana beat Camila Giorgi, 7-6(5) 6-3 in the second round.  This was a brilliant win as Giorgi has beaten six top 30 players this year.  Kuznetsova avoided joining that group despite twice failing to serve out the first set.

Kvitova has never lost in three previous encounters against Kuznetsova.  In their last match at Indian Wells, Kvitova dropped a third set bagel on Kuznetsova after they split sets.  A significant difference to this match is that they have never played on clay.  Petra has been solid through the first two rounds, but so has Svetlana.  I love Petra and she’s going to win Wimbledon (you heard it here first haha) but I fancy Kuznetsova’s love affair with Paris to continue.

Prediction: Kuznetsova d. Kvitova in 3 sets

2. Ana Ivanovic v Lucie Safarova (WTA RG, R3)

Safarova

Lucie Safarova

I have been following Lucie Safarova‘s form closely this year.  Her results have been so much more consistent than in 2013; however she is yet to have a really noteworthy win over a top ten player to warrant the improvements she has made.  Her best wins of the year have come against Caroline Wozniacki (Sydney), Sam Stosur (Charleston) and Flavia Pennetta (Madrid).  On five occasions this year, she has pushed a top ten player to three sets without pulling out the win. Safarova has always struggled mentally and her second round match with Casey Dellacqua was a good example of this.  She led 6-1 5-2 and ended up winning, 6-1 5-7 6-3.  The fact she won though was all that matters!

Ana Ivanovic awaits in what could be a cracking third round match.  Ivanovic began her match with Elina Svitolina leaking errors to twice go a break down.  She came through 7-5 6-2 and played a very good second set.  Svitolina is reasonably solid but had absolutely no answers when Ana stopped missing.  Safarova has a 4-2 lead in the head-to-head and has won their last four matches.  In their only match on clay, Ivanovic won 6-1 6-2 at Roland Garros in 2008.  I have a horrible feeling that Lucie is going to peak for a set and a half.  It was at this stage of the Australian Open when Safarova had a match point against Li Na before losing in three.  This could be Ana’s big match of the fortnight.  I’ll be cheering on Lucie!!!!!!!!

Prediction: Ivanovic d. Safarova in 3 dramatic sets

3. Andy Murray v Philipp Kohlschreiber (ATP RG, R3)

Andy Murray is the highest seed left in the second quarter of the mens draw.  He has made a respectable start to RG14 with a four set win over Andrey Golubev and straight sets victory over Marinko Matosevic.  Murray faces a challenging third rounder against the in-form Philipp Kohlschreiber.  The German player has had a pretty ropey year up till Dusseldorf last week where he won the title.  He hasn’t lost a set at Roland Garros this year and defeated Denis Istomin for the second time in two weeks.  Rather surprisingly, Murray and Kohlschreiber have played just once on the ATP tour and it was Philipp who won handily, 6-1 6-2 in Monte-Carlo four years ago.  Kohlschreiber is a great player and will be dangerous playing with confidence.  I thought about the upset, but I’m going for Andy.

Prediction: Murray d. Kohlschreiber in 5 sets

4. Gael Monfils v Fabio Fognini (ATP RG, R3)

HA.  A best of five set match between Gael Monfils and Fabio Fognini promises to be absolutely sensational.  Monfils is so popular in Paris.  A huge crowd promises to add another wacky dimension to this match.  Monfils had injury doubts coming into this tournament, which is why I thought he was going to fall early.  However his form in Paris speaks for itself and he has come through his first two matches unscathed.  In the second round, he dug in pretty deep to beat Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets.  Fognini, who has had two DRAMA free wins this week, leads the head-to-head by three wins to two.  Their last match in Indian Wells went the distance, which Fognini won 6-2 3-6 7-5.  I have no idea how this one will turn out, I just hope it’s entertaining.  WHICH OF COURSE IT WILL BE.

Prediction: Fognini d. Monfils in 4 sets

5. Jelena Jankovic v Sorana Cirstea (WTA RG, R3)

Jelena Jankovic and Sorana Cirstea have played each other twice on clay and both matches were epic.  In 2009, Cirstea announced herself on the WTA tour with a 9-7 third set extra time win and then, in 2012, beat JJ in a third set tiebreak in Rome.  Cirstea leads the overall head-to-head by 3 wins to 2.  It is somewhat of a surprise to see Cirstea into the third round.  This is only the third tournament of the year where Cirstea has won back-to-back matches.  In the second round, she defeated Teliana Pereira who she lost too earlier this year in Charleston.  Jankovic has been tested in her first two matches; in the first round she needed three sets to defeat Sharon Fichman and in the second round, edged a 7-5 opening set with Kurumi Nara before strolling through the second set.  Cirstea has the potential to throw a spanner in the works.  Her form though has been so inconsistent this year that JJ has to be the favourite in this one.

Prediction: Jankovic d. Cirstea in 2 tight sets

WTA Roland Garros 3rd Round Predictions

Sloane Stephens d. Ekaterina Makarova in 2 tight sets

Simona Halep d. Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor in 2 sets

Sara Errani d. Julia Glushko in 2 sets

Silvia Soler-Espinosa d. Kiki Bertens in 3 sets

Andrea Petkovic d. Kristina Mladenovic in 3 sets

ATP Roland Garros 3rd Round Predictions

Rafael Nadal d. Leonardo Mayer in 3 sets

Dusan Lajovic d. Jack Sock in 5 sets

Ivo Karlovic d. Kevin Anderson in 5 sets

David Ferrer d. Andreas Seppi in 3 sets

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez d. Donald Young in 4 sets

Fernando Verdasco d. Richard Gasquet in 4 sets

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