Yes, yes, YESSSSSS! I was absolutely delighted to see Lucie Safarova finally pull off a big win this year. She has been due something special and I am so pleased my prediction of Ivanovic to win in three dramatic sets was wrong! Lucie produced a magnificent performance to defeat Ana Ivanovic, 6-3 6-3 for her fifth consecutive win against the Serb. Safarova now goes on to play Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat Petra Kvitova in a brilliant match, 6-7(3) 6-1 9-7. Kvitova had served for the match twice, but had also been suffering with a leg injury from the second set. Fourth round action begins on Sunday…
1. Angelique Kerber v Eugenie Bouchard (WTA RG, R4)
Whether you’re a fan or not, you have to hand it to Eugenie Bouchard. The WTA’s princess has been handed a favourable draw, but once again, she has snapped up her opportunities and dealt with all the pressure and expectation that constantly surrounds her. In the second round, she was a set down to Julia Goerges and in the third round, she was down a break numerous times to Johanna Larsson. Bouchard won both matches and finds herself in the last 16 of the French Open for the first time in her career. Bouchard plays Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, who has played her best tournament in months.
Kerber beat Daniela Hantuchova, 6-2 7-5 in a great third round contest on Suzanne Lenglen. Hantuchova hit some stunning winners, but was undone by her colossal unforced error count, which finished at 43. The match was memorable for a dramatic moment in the second set when Hantuchova was screwed over by the umpire in a decision that saw the referee come out on court. Bouchard and Kerber have played each other just once before at the US Open last year. Kerber won that match, a very entertaining contest, 6-4 2-6 6-3. On clay, I really couldn’t separate the pair. Bouchard has become a fantastic match player. Kerber, however, has lost a lot of close matches this year. I’m hard pushed to name a winner from this one. I’ll go for Genie…
Prediction: Bouchard d. Kerber in 3 sets
2. Maria Sharapova v Sam Stosur (WTA RG, R4)
Sam Stosur maintained her ownership of poor pome, Dominika Cibulkova. It was a fifth consecutive victory for Sam who came away a 6-4 6-4 winner in the first match on Suzanne Lenglen on Friday. After facing a minor scare in the second round, Maria Sharapova was in utterly dominant form as she dished out two bagels to Paula Ormaechea. The Argentine didn’t win a point on her second serve in the entire 51 minute contest. There is no doubt that Maria is the favourite for the title. Stosur goes from being on the happy side of a dominant head-to-head to the not-so-happy. Sharapova has won 13 of 15 clashes against Stosur including their last three matches all in straight sets. I fancy Sharapova to come through in straight sets; however I think this will be a really hard fought encounter.
Prediction: Sharapova d. Stosur in 2 very tight sets
3. Garbine Muguruza v Pauline Parmentier (WTA RG, R4)
Garbine Muguruza did a great job to back up her giant killing win over Serena Williams as she beat Anna Schmiedlova, 6-2 6-4 to cement back-to-back 4th round appearances at the Grand Slams. Muguruza plays the even-more-surprising-fourth-rounder, Pauline Parmentier. The Frenchwoman held her nerve to win the last three games of her third round match with Mona Barthel. You can read my recap of that match HERE. Parmentier will have the home crowd support; however Muguruza is playing at a different level and will be the heavy favourite to make her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Prediction: Muguruza d. Parmentier in 2 tight sets
4. Carla Suarez Navarro v Ajla Tomljanovic (WTA RG, R4)
Generation next have had a great tournament. Of all the up-and-comers, Ajla Tomljanovic has received the least attention. The Croatian world number 72 produced the biggest win of her career to knock out the world number 3 Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4 6-4. Next up is Carla Suarez Navarro, who ousted the talented Taylor Townsend in straight sets. I think Taylor will get a wildcard into Wimbledon and she could be lethal on the grass. CSN has had a stunning clay court season and is probably my favourite for the semi-finals right now. Tomljanovic will be tough though and I expect her to get a set.
Prediction: Suarez Navarro d. Tomljanovic in 3 sets