French Open 2016: Day 11 Quarter-Final Previews

Jeepers… another soggy day in Paris has left a backlog of matches in Paris. While the bottom half of the women’s draw has progressed to the quarter-final stage, the four fourth round matches from the top half are still to be completed. The previews for those matches are still relevant HERE. While the lack of roof is an obvious talking point, I don’t really understand all the hate towards RG. The weather is the weather and the schedulers can’t really do much about it. It’s just a very unfortunate situation. The two women’s quarters from the bottom half are also up on the packed schedule for Wednesday. Read on for some quick thoughts and polls…

Garbiñe Muguruza v Shelby Rogers (RG, QF)


This tournament’s surprise package has been Rogers who has gone on a fairytale run to reach her first Slam quarter-final. Her post-match interview with Marion Bartoli was really touching! Muguruza dropped her first set of the tournament to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova but has since, rolled through to the quarter-finals. The win over the very dangerous, Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round was a statement of intent from the Spaniard. On the whole, Muguruza looked in excellent form with just a few jitters at the end. I had Muguruza as my finalist to start with and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind…

Sam Stosur v Tsvetana Pironkova (RG, QF)


Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep were in control of their respective fourth rounders but both matches turned on the resumption in heavy, damp conditions. Pironkova won ten straight games when play resumed on Tuesday and eventually came through for the upset win over Radwanska, 2-6 6-3 6-3. Stosur was down 3-5 in the first set but came back to defeat Halep, 7-6(0) 6-3. Stosur’s form has been decent during this entire clay court season and she’s often saved her best tennis for Paris; however, she did head into Paris having pulled out of Strasbourg with a worrying wrist injury.

While Pironkova has gone on runs like these before, there were definitely no signs of it during this particular clay court season! Pironkova had won just one match on clay in 2016 and her last match before Paris was a crushing 3-6 0-6 loss to Varvara Lepchenko in qualifying for Rome. Furthermore, these Peak Pironkova runs have more often than not come on grass or even hard courts.

Stosur leads Pironkova in the head-to-head, 4-1. Pironkova actually won their most recent encounter although that was on grass which is Pironkova’s favourite surface and Stosur’s weakest surface. Before that encounter in Eastbourne last year, Stosur had never dropped a set against the Bulgarian. After scoring a tight win over Lucie Safarova in the third round and then battling from an early deficit against Simona Halep in the fourth round, i’m sensing Stosur is primed for another charge in Paris.

23 thoughts on “French Open 2016: Day 11 Quarter-Final Previews

  1. Even if RG had a central roof,with the rain,matches would still be behind.We cannot control the weather,players have to adapt,in these current conditions the balls are heavy,players have to be able to hit through the court

    I liked the way Garbine played against Sveta,even though Shelby has been ‘surprise packet’ so far in this tournament,Garbine to win.

    Stosur to win against Pironkova,Sam adjusted better in her match against Halep.


  2. Credit to Pironkova, she played very well, once Aga got super moody in the second set I knew it was over for her. Aga was up 30-0 in quite a few games in the third set that she lost, a shame!


    • My guess is the final will be Garbine or possibly Madison, and Serena. It’d be great if either Shelby or Tsveta made it through though!


  3. BTW, mixed feelings about Aga. I can understand that she wants to protect her wrist and doesn’t want it injured with the grass court season (her strongest) coming up soon, but on the other hand, I think her coach should have a word with her about respect to opponents – it looks like she gave another drive-by handshake after the match today.

    1:56 here;

    IMO that simply isn’t acceptable for a No 2 player whom other, especially younger players will understandably see as a role model.


    • I’ve always found Aga’s attitude insufferable. She walks around with a face like a slapped arse, stamps her foot when net cords go against her and she never applauds her opponents hitting a good shot.


      • Hmm. I can understand an absence of courtesy at the net when you think your opponent’s cheated, but Tsveta did nothing wrong; in fact she played a great match.

        To be fair to Aga, there was one time when I did like her behaviour on court. She was in a final against Domi Cibulkova and Domi was having a really bad match where everything seemed to go wrong for her; in fact, she ended up winning no games at all against Aga (a double bagel). After the match Aga cut her celebration short, said in her winner’s speech that she was sorry for the scoreline and that Domi didn’t deserve it.


      • She’s usually pleasant post match but the way she carries herself during matches leaves a lot to be desired.


      • Agree totally … I don’t think there was anything wrong with the handshake, they looked at one another in eye. If you think someone should look one way or another …who cares..


    • She was understandably upset about having to play in the drizzly conditions which basically nullifies her game. Unfortunately she let her emotions get the better of her, and her game went down with it. Reminds me of when she lost to Lisicki who went on to lose in that terrible display against Serena in the Wimbledon finals a couple of years back. Likewise, she let her emotions get the better of her. That frosty, driveby thing is the’ handshake du jour’ for the women these days to show discontent.
      Halep was angry at the conditions she had to play in too and she did speak her mind, albeit, more circumspect in that regard. This is how the weather affects clay court tennis, it’s the organisers Aga should vent her wrath on. Pironkova wouldn’t be bothered I think, getting out of a rock and a hard place, moving on in the Slam, that was what she hoping to do after the delay.

      Pironkova or Stosur, not sure either will make the final though. But, I will keep an eye out for Pironkova, such lucky escapes can ‘unshackle’ the mind sometimes igniting beliefs. Most of the remaining players are all hitters. Just goes to show how much this tournament and weather conditions favour that game style.


      • I could totally see Stosur going on now.

        Whats really funny about it is when the ‘experts’ predictions for the Aussie Open came out, one woman predicted Kerber and I scoffed. This tournament one person predicted Stosur would be a finalist and again I scoffed. And yet here she is in the quarters…


      • If she does, I hope she makes it a special one, i need the tournament to come alive again for me. I’m already worried the Euro 2016 might spoil the coverage of the grass season.


  4. Remember Stosur made the final at RG in 2010,she defeated Serena and Henin on the way,then froze when she played Fran in the final,though all credit to Fran she deserved her win.I have always thought Sam’s game was made for clay,it took me sometime to come to terms she defeated Serena at the USO:) BTW Sam has one of the best bhand slices in the womens game,she used that to perfection in her match against Halep.


    • In fairness I don’t think Serena was at all herself in that final and its one of the best matches Sam ever played.
      I think her backhand slice has its moments but theres a big reason most target that wing. Same as Ivanovic.
      She’s been dumped out by Sharapova the past two years so it’s nice to see her doing well without Maria in her way again.


      • If you remember in the final at the USO against Serena,Sams bhand was on fire,her bhand has always been her weakest shot,yes her opponents do target it,in regards to her bhand slice she uses it to break up her opponents rhythm,she used it to perfection against Halep.Sam is also a GS Doubles and Mixed Doubles champion,I feel at times she should volley more.


      • Sorry. but Serena was as much all herself as Stosur in that USO final and beaten fair and square. Sam was simply in the zone and Serena knew she had no answer after losing the 1st set, from then on it was one long temper tantrum and display of bad sportsmanship.


      • I completely appreciate why Stosur would make the final, but I can see a title for her only if she is playing a Timea or Venus maybe. For me, it’s a real shame she under utilises so much of her doubles pedigree in her current style of play. At the start of the tournament, I figured Sharapova missing was going to be a boost for any non-Serena player itching for the title. But does anyone actually see Stosur, all things being fair, beating a Serena in this final?! I did mention the rain delay was going to affect her match with Halep because she wasn’t exactly playing badly just hadn’t gotten her game plan on point. After the match, she acknowledged that herself, she used the break to access her plan and tweaked it, aided by Halep’s less enthusiastic return to play given the conditions.

        I just feel there is a hunger amongst those left, and no one is disadvantaged in any significant way by the surface or conditions at this point. Of all possible 8 QF players, Sam doesn’t really stand out for me. Nothing against Sam, hope she can prove me wrong. Either way, there is a possible feel good story brewing in her half of the draw.

        I’m not enjoying this 2nd week though, it feels too disjointed.


      • I disagree that Serena in that final was anything close to peak Serena. 2011 Serena wasn’t in particularly great shape physically and in the couple of years before she worked with Patrick her serve wasn’t as effective, she had a tenancy to overhit, her forehand was hit very flat and leaked errors whereas now it has much more shape and spin and most of all she wasn’t in a great place mentally, evidenced by the two big incidents at the US Open in 09 and 11.


      • Also I don’t think Serena showed bad sportsmanship in the Stosur final. She got too excited and yelled too early. If you play tennis please don’t tell me that you’ve never done it. Handing the point to Sam instead of replaying it was very harsh and Serena felt the umpire, also umpire from the Clijsters match, was picking on her. I think any player would have kicked off.
        But Serena’s speech and post match interviews were very humble. And if you find highlights of the match Serena applauds quite a few of Sams shots before and after the “come on” incident.


  5. Serena’s looking formidable at the moment – 6-1, 6-1 against an opponent (Elina Svitolina) who’s given her a hard match in the past. At this rate, it’s going to take someone playing really “in the zone” to stop her getting the title, and I don’t see anyone still playing except Garbine who could do it.

    Also, these heavier conditions are less of a problem for her than they are for a lot of the other players, because she’s one of the strongest players on tour. I think it’s still her title to lose.


    • They arent a problem for her because she can change her game at will. She took pace off today and hit some sharp angles and was proactively coming forwards.
      I know I’m looking a little far ahead but based on how she’s serving and attacking at the net I’ll be very surprised if she doesnt win Wimbledon again this year. That has to take some pressure off winning here, I’d imagine.


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