Roland Garros Day 8, R4 Match Previews: Sharapova v Safarova, Pennetta v Muguruza

1. Maria Sharapova v Lucie Safarova (RG, R4)

SafarovaLucie, Lucie, LUCIE! OK i’m sorry for those that don’t have an attachment to Lucie but i’m excited! For the second year in a row, Lucie is into the second week of Roland Garros. This may not seem like a big deal but before this event last year, Lucie had gone 27 Slams without making it past the third round. She has now achieved that feat at four of the last five Slams. Lucie defeated Sabine Lisicki on Saturday, 6-3 7-6(2). She went up a break in the first set and had break point opportunities in two more of Sabine’s service games. She didn’t convert and normally that means bad news. However, Lucie maintained that break and then finally got the double break to win the opener, 6-3. Lisicki served for the second set and had a set point. Safarova came back to win the second set on the tiebreak (yes, a tiebreak!) and reach the fourth round.

I’m thrilled that myself and @Mc_Mooo on Twitter have both watched Lucie win live… we need to be there for all her matches! I’m also pleased to say that @Mc_Mooo managed to give Lucie the fanbook that was advertised HERE. Thanks to all who contributed 🙂

Lucie RobPhoto from Lucie’s Facebook page

Safarova now gets a shot at Maria Sharapova. The Russian world number two looked emotional after her 6-3 6-4  win over Sam Stosur. Sharapova appears to have been under the weather and her reaction would suggest that she didn’t expect to win this match. It sounded like a bit of a damp squib and I was disappointed with the outcome. Sharapova leads the head-to-head with Safarova, 4-1. Their last three matches have all gone the distance. Sharapova won in Stuttgart (6-4 6-7 6-3, 2013), Miami (6-4 6-7 6-2, 2014) and Stuttgart again (7-6 6-7 7-6). The last two matches in particular were super fun watches. The match in Miami saw Lucie go in for a hug, while their most recent encounter in Stuttgart was just a high quality tennis match

I think Lucie has a shot. I really do. Is this the rum talking? Is this my crazy fan biasedness? I don’t know. Please let me know. I’m so pumped for this match though. Lucie’s matched her performance from last year and has nothing to lose. Sharapova’s not 100% right now so there’s a chance. I just hope Lucie believes and it’s still something I question whether she does. Lucie has played well this week but beating Sharapova would require another step up mentally. I have to be honest and say that I think Sharapova will edge it but i’m clinging on to the hope that Lucie can do it. It’s safe to say my Sunday will be scheduled around this match, but i’m worried about the weather… :-S

Prediction: Sharapova d. Safarova in 3 sets

2. Flavia Pennetta v Garbine Muguruza (RG, R4)

Garbine MuguruzaIt’s always dangerous to start thinking about potential match-ups. I was starting to salivate at the prospect of a fourth round match between Angelique Kerber and Carla Suarez Navarro. After Friday’s matches, that became Garbine Muguruza v Flavia Pennetta. This is still an interesting match-up but it does highlight that pre-Grand Slam form can sometimes be insignificant. Kerber won Charleston and Stuttgart, while Suarez Navarro reached the final in Rome. Equally, Muguruza and Pennetta did very little over the past month on clay. Muguruza came from a set down to defeat Kerber, 4-6 6-2 6-2. I was chuffed for Garbine (but at the same time sad for Angie) as it was her best result since February. Her smile is just captivating.

Pennetta defeated Suarez Navarro in straight sets, 6-3 6-4. This was a match that I watched in its entirety. Pennetta played an excellent match, attacking the attackable serve of CSN, hitting a number of sweet backhands down-the-line and producing a clean all-court performance. Suarez Navarro was strangely subdued, committing an uncharacteristic amount of errors and also, struggling to pass or lob Pennetta when she came into the net. As ever, Carla was so sweet at the net. She’s such a decent person and I was disappointed for her.

Once again, i’m on the fence with this one. Muguruza leads the head-to-head 2-0 with both wins in three sets. When it’s like this, i’m going on instinct… Muguruza.

Prediction: Muguruza d. Pennetta in 2 tight sets

ATP R4 RG Predictions

Roger Federer d. Gael Monfils in 4 sets

Stan Wawrinka d. Gilles Simon in 4 sets

Tomas Berdych d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 3 sets

Kei Nishikori d. Teymuraz Gabashvili in 4 sets

Photos by Moo’s Tennis Blog and Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

19 thoughts on “Roland Garros Day 8, R4 Match Previews: Sharapova v Safarova, Pennetta v Muguruza

  1. I am so torn between Lucie and Maria… On paper, Maria is stronger and has a real strong fighting spirit that never lets her give up. And if Lucie usually struggles mentally, i must say that she appears much different this week. She managed to win against her friend Nastia in R1 (and usually she does not do well when playing friends), and more importantly – she won all her tiebreaks this week !!!! (Say whaaaat ?)

    As you mentioned, I watched her play live this week and I found her extremely calm and in control against Sabine, even in tough moments or at key points. I hope that this win has given some more self confidence. As you said, she has nothing to lose and her last matches against Maria were extremely tight, tighter each time… Adding to that Maria’s illness… I definitely believe she has a shot.

    Moreover, it would be a good test. Winning against Maria would mean that she can go even much further in this tournament. It would be so perfect to see my favourite player get further than ever in my favourite tournament, on my favourite surface.

    So…I will believe in her and as always, 100% on Lucie’s side ! POJD !


  2. Safarova COULD win. Her service games this year have been super impressive when she gets her first serve percentage right up. If she can do that against Maria- a big feat considering how aggressive (and successfully so) Sharapova is on the return- then she just needs to bide her time for Maria to throw in a couple of dud service games which are pretty standard.
    I’m hoping Muguruza comes through against Penetta, who I just can’t bring myself to enjoy playing for some reason!


  3. Muguruza and Pennetta will play three sets to decide the winner. Pennetta is in form at this moment. I don’t want to count her out.

    Lucie and Maria should be a three setter and potentially an upset if Lucie can hold her second serves.


  4. Lucie’s serve will be vital in her match against Sharapova,especially her 2nd serve.I would love her to win,though I have gone with Sharapova.

    Delighted with the vetran Flavia,especially her good win over CSN,Garbine has to stay aggressive and serve well,I have gone with Garbine in this match up.


  5. Lucie will never get a better chance to beat Sharapova. I’ve watched Maria’s matches, and although she’s winning, she is clearly under the weather physically, coughing and spluttering, and her game is well below her usual standard. Far too many unforced errors, and the serve isn’t working well. She would struggle over 3 intense sets. Having said that, she’s still winning, and has the weapons to do so again. Close call – but think Maria to edge it…just.


    • I know you like Ana but her run will end soon. I think Lucie has a better chance to reach the semi than Garbine though I like Garbine a bit more.


      • Well clearly by what I said I believe Safarova will beat Ivanovic. Ana seems to be at a total loss when it comes to a game plan against Lucie, who can go forehand to forehand and is much more reliable on serve.


    • Ana is not out of the woods yet…so will see what happens. But, apologies to James, I like her too. However, should Lucie get to play Ana, I’m going with the fist pumps.


  6. Well, well, well… she’s done it. I hope Lucie quickly went to wash her hands after that courtesy hand shake in the end, cant have her catching whatever Maria had this tournament..(just kidding).
    Commiserations to Maria, hopefully she’ll get to defend her titles one day. Always a fighter.


  7. Maria fought very well considering she looked very much under the weather. I am a bit sad for Maria but happy for Lucie.


  8. Great game by Lucie but Mugu will be too much for her i think….I see Safarova knocked out in two sets by her if she didn’t loose concentration because of her inexperience of big matches.


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