Kuznetsova Battles Past Kvitova

 Svetlana Kuznetsova has defeated Petra Kvitova in a spirited three set battle to reach the fourth round in Paris. For me this was certainly the best match of the tournament so far. Both ladies would feel that they deserved to win the match but only one of them could advance to the fourth round.

 It was Kvitova who started the match on fire, breaking early and taking a 3-1 lead. This first set was full of momentum swings and it Kuznetsova who would win the next four games as Kvitova started hitting wild errors. From here both ladies were able to hold serve, forcing the opening set into a tiebreaker. Kvitova really upped her level, dominating in the tiebreaker.

The second set was all one-way traffic; this is of course all too familiar for Kvitova. Petra hit 15 unforced errors to just 6 winners, a totally uncompetitive statistic. Kvitova looked to be struggling with a thigh injury, as she called for the trainer and decided to leave the court for a medical timeout.

 The third set is when the real drama really started. It was Kvitova who stunned Kuznetsova early in the third set, her forehand on fire. Kvitova surging to a 3-1 lead. Kuznetsova would hit straight back, fighting hard for every single point, taking a 4-3 lead. At 4-5 Kvitova would serve to stay in the match and would fall behind 15-40. Kvitova managed to save the two match points, the last of which with a volley that just clipped the baseline. Kvitova held, producing some stunning tennis. At 6-5 Kvitova had the chance to serve out the match but a weak service game saw her broken to 15. At 7-6 Kvitova would again serve for the match and once again she didn't get close. At 7-8 Kvitova would serve to stay in the match and failed courtesy of another weak service game.

Kvitova came up with some stunning winners in the final set but ultimately she hit too many errors. The Czech hit a whopping 65 unforced errors in the match compared to 49 winners. The match was all on Kvitova’s racquet, unfortunately she wasn't able to compose herself and serve it out when she twice had the chance to.

Roland Garros – Day 7 – Match Predictions

Day 6 saw yet another stunning upset, world number three Agnieszka Radwanska bundled out of the tournament by Ajla Tomljanovic. Day 7 has the best lineup on womens side thus far, I am really looking forward to several matches today..

(5) Petra Kvitova vs. (27) Svetlana Kuznetsova

First up on Court Philippe Chatrier is Kvitova vs Kuznetsova, this promises to be one of the match of the day. Kuznetsova has had an admirable resurgence back up the rankings in recent months. The Russian has had a solid clay court season and will come into this match as the slight favourite.

Kivtova had a good run in Madrid where she reached the semifinals but was knocked out in her opening match in Rome and Stuttgart. The Czech has been solid in her opening two matches and can take confidence into this match knowing that she has never lost to Kuznetsova.

Kvitova has won all three of their previous encounter, the most recent of these was this season at Indian Wells where Kvitova won the third set 6-0. I think Kvitova will win this match with a somewhat similar scoreline

Prediction: Petra Kvitova to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 4-6 6-1

(11) Ana Ivanovic vs. (23) Lucie Safarova

This promises to be a very entertaining match with a number of swings in momentum.

Ivanovic comes into this match having played the better tennis in the last few weeks. Ivanovic is now widely considered as one of the favourites to go all the way in Paris but Safarova will be no easy beat. Safarova survived an almighty scare in the second round, giving up a 5-2 30-0 lead against Casey Dellacqua in the second set to lose it 7-5. Safarova rallied to take the third set 6-3, a gutsy effort.

Interestingly Safarova has won the last 4 matches against Ivanovic. Ivanovic won their only meeting on clay, which came back in 2008 at Roland Garros. This is a real real danger game for Ivanovic, Safarova is certainly capable. It will come down to who is able to step up and dominate the rallies.

I really hope Safarova wins, I think she can win but Ivanovic is certainly the favourite heading into the match

Prediction: Ana Ivanovic to defeat Lucie Safarova 3-6 6-2 6-3

Other match predictions:

(10) Sara Errani to defeat Julia Glushko in straight sets

(28) Andrea Petkovic to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets

(15) Sloane Stephens to defeat (22) Ekaterina Makarova In three sets

(4) Simona Halep to defeat Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor in straight sets

(26) Sorana Cirstea to defeat (6) Jelana Jankovic in three sets

Silvia Soler-Espinosa to defeat (Q) Kiki Bertens in straight sets

Sluggish Radwanska Stumbles in Third Round

World number three Agnieszka Radwanska is the latest big name to exit early in Paris, losing to Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets6-4 6-4. Just when it seemed there may be a chance for Radwanska to go all the way in Paris, she produced one of her worst performances of the season. For Tomljanovic this is the biggest win of her career, as she advances to the 4th round in her first ever appearance at Roland Garros.

Radwanska started the match with a strong service hold but it was all down hill from here. Tomljanovic won five consecutive games, it was all too easy for the Croatian who was barley tested by Radwanska. The Pole was totally off, hitting numerous uncharacteristic errors. Radwanska did fight back, winning three straight games to cut Ajla's lead to 5-4. Tomljanovic steadied to serve out the set, taking it 6-4.

The  second set started with an easy break of serve for Tomljanovic, who consolidated the break in the very next game. The unseeded world number 72 would hold onto this slim lead for the entire set. Serving at 4-3 Tomljanovic faced several break points but somehow managed to hold. I feel that if Radwanska was able to break serve here the result would have been very different. At 5-4 it was Tomljanovic's chance to serve for the match. It was a bitterly disappointing game from Radwanska, hitting numerous unforced errors handing the match to the Croatian on a sliver platter.

A big win for Tomljanovic but for me this match was more about Radwanska playing poorly than it was about Tomljanovic playing well.

Roland Garros – Day 6 – 3rd Round Match Predictions

The third round kicks off on friday as things begin to heat up in Paris.    On paper, Saturdays line up of matches is much better than fridays but there are still some quality matches.

(9) Dominika Cibulkova vs. (19) Samantha Stosur

This is my pick for the best match of the day. Domi Cibulkova up against Sam Stosur for a spot in the fourth round. Both ladies cruised through their opening round matches, Stosur has been particularly impressive.

Sam Stosur has won all four of their previous encounters, their most recent match was an easy two set win for Sam in Rome just a few weeks ago. The Slovakian doesn't match up well against the Aussie, Domi really struggles with the kick serve of Sam Stosur.

I do think that Domi is better prepared this time compared to Rome and it will be a much closer match. Stosur is definitely the favourite but I am sensing an upset.

Prediction: Dominika Cibulkvoa to defeat Sam Stosur 4-6 6-1 6-3

(3)  Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Ajla Tomljanovic

Aga Radwanska is now the highest seed left in the womens draw and has a big opportunity to reach the semi finals. There is no reason why Aga can't go all the way in Paris (Sharapova is the biggest obstacle at the moment).

Aga comes into this match as the strong favourite, on the back of strong recent from. Radwanska has cruised through her opening two matches and should be able to get through this one in two sets.

Tomljanovic is certainly no easy beat, she has had two solid victories over competent players but this is a step up.

Prediction: Radwanska to defeat Tomljanovic 6-3 6-3

Other match predictions

(14) Carla Suarez Navarro to defeat Taylor Townsend in straight sets

Garbine Muguruza to defeat Karolina Anna Schmiedlova in three sets

(7) Maria Sharapova to defeat Paula Ormaechea in straight sets

(18) Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Johanna Larsson in straight sets

(8) Angelique Kerber to defeat (31) Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets

 Mona Barthel to defeat (WC) Pauline Parmentier in three sets

Jankovic Eases into the Third Round

6th seed Jelana Jankovic has cruised into the third round at Roland Garros, disposing of Japan's Kurum Nara in straight sets.  Jankovic was far from her best but did what she had to do.

The first set was a scrappy affair, it really could have gone either way.  The first 10 games of the set went to the server, Jankovic finally broke the trend in the eleventh game. When serving for the set Jankovic raced away to a 40-0 lead but was unable to convert her first three set points. On her fourth opportunity, Jankovic finally converts to take the opening set 7-5.

The second set was all one way traffic. Jankovic dominated right from the very start when she broke Nara to love. Nara's level of play certainly dropped in the second set, hitting far too many unforced errors and allowing Jankovic to dictate the rallies.

A solid victory for Jankovic who still has a lot of room for improvement. The draw is open for Jankovic to go deep into the second week.

Roland Garros – Day 5 – 2nd Round Match Predictions

Day 4 featured the shock exit of world number 1 and raging favourite Serena Williams. The defending Champs exit along with Li Na's first round departure have totally opened up the draw. Can Aga finally win a Grand Slam.. on clay?! I hope so! Maria is certainly the new favourite to go all the way followed by Simona and Ivanovic. Day 5 features a number of intriguing matches..

(23) Lucie Safarova vs. Casey Dellacqua

This is going to be an interesting match up between two lefties who in some ways play quite similarly. This is the first time these two ladies have ever played each other which is surprising considering they are both seasoned competitors.

Safaraova's results has been typically erratic this season, she has had some good victories but some terribly disappointing loses. Casey Dellacqua has had a wonderful year, reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and the quarterfinals at Indian Wells. Neither have done all that well on clay. Safarova notably pushed Sharapova to a third set tiebreak in Stuttgart but that was on a much faster surface.

Safarova has to come into this match as the warm favourite, to me she is in some ways a better version of Dellacqua. If she comes to play she will win this match in straight sets...

Prediction: Lucie Safarova to defeat Casey Dellacqua 6-4 7-5

(24) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. (Q) Kiki Bertens

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova must win this match. These are the kinds of matches she has frequently dropped in the last few months after a promising start to the season. There is no doubt that Bertens is talented, especially on clay but Pavlyuchenkova is more experienced and at this point in her career is simply better than her opponent.

Pavlyuchenkova wasn't too convincing in her three set victory over Date-Krumm but she has had some very promising wins this season. Most notably defeating Sharapova in Paris on route to the title at the Open GDF Suez. She also had a solid victory over Jankovic a few weeks ago in Madrid. Bertens has had to real notable wins this season.

I think Pavlyuchenkova will step up here and advance to the third round but it won't be easy

Prediction: Pavlyuchenkova to defeat Kiki Bertens 7-5 4-6 6-2

Full match predictions

(4) Simona Halep to defeat (Q) Heather Watson in straight sets

(6) Jelana Jankovic to defeat Kurumi Nara in straight sets

(15) Sloane Stephens to defeat Polona Hercog in straight sets

(11) Ana Ivanovic to defeat Elena Svitolina in straight sets

(5) Petra Kvitova to defeat Marina Erakovic in straight sets

(28) Andrea Petkovic to defeat Stefanie Voegele in three sets

(21) Kirsten Flipkens to defeat Julia Glushko in three sets

Maria-Teressa Torro Flor to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets

(10) Sara Errani to defeat Dinah Pfizenmaier in straight sets

(25) Sorana Cirstea to defeat Teliana Pereira in straight sets

Silvia Soler-Espinosa to defeat Yanina Wickmayer in three sets

Alison Riske to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in three sets

Camila Giorgi to defeat (27) Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets

(22) Ekaterina Makarova to defeat Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets

Schmiedlova Fights past Venus Williams

Anna Schiedlova has claimed the biggest victory of her career, coming from a set and a break down to defeat Venus Williams on Court Phillip Chatrier.

It was a competitive start to the opening set with four straight service holds. From here it was all Venus Williams, the American dominated her younger opponent. The Slovakian's serve was being obliterated by Williams, returning serve from the service line. Venus Williams won 5 straight games to take the opening set 6-2.

When Schmiedlova went down a break early in the second set, it looked as though Williams was on track for an easy victory but the Slovakian had other ideas. Schmiedlova would break straight back before going on an impressive run. The 19 year old won 5 straight games to take a commanding 5-2 lead in the second set. At 5-3, Schmiedlova successfully served out the set.

Venus Williams was now the one finding her second serve being dominated time after time, Schmiedlova breaking to start the deciding set. The Slovakian would quickly race away to a 3-0 lead, Venus Williams clearly struggling. At this point the Slovakian perhaps got a little tight with the finish line within reach, she was broken in a meek service game before Williams held to close the gap to 3-2. From here the match remained on serve. At 3-5 when serving to stay in the match, Williams went down 15-40 but managed to save two match points and hold to force the youngster to serve for the match. The Slovakian was up to the task, an incredible backhand cross court winner sealing the deal.

A very impressive performance from Schmiedlova, her attitude was particularly impressive!

Roland Garros – Day 4 – 2nd Round Match Predictions

The second round at Roland Garros begins on day four, on paper the majority of the matches look straightforward. However some of the results three days have shown us that anything can happen.

(1) Serena Williams vs. Garbine Muguruza

Serena will have her first test of the tournament when she takes on Spain's Garbine Muguruza. Despite the one-sided scoreline Serena was a little rusty in her opening round victory over Alize Lim. Muguruza snuck past Grace Min to set up a clash with the world number 1.

After a breakthrough start to the season Muguruza has dropped off considerably. There is however no pressure on Muguruza Coming into this match, everyone expects her to lose. In situations like this, on a big stage, I think the Spaniard is dangerous.

Serena dominated Muguruza in the their only previous meeting at the 2013 Australian Open. I certainly think Serena will win but it won't be easy..

Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-4

(8) Angelique Kerber vs. Varvara Lepchenko

This is perhaps the most interesting match of the day. Surprisingly Lepchenko has defeated the German in 4 of their 5 meetings. However all four of the victories came before Kerber shot up the rankings in 2012. Kerber won their most recent meeting which was at Roland Garros last season, in a tight three set battle.

Kerber has had some disappointing losses of late but she is a real fighter, she will be determined to win this match and turn that form around. Lepchenko is very unpredictable whilst Kerber is usually pretty solid. I think Kerber will win this one.

Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat Varvara Lepchenko 7-5 6-1

(29) Venus Williams to defeat Karolina Anna Schmiedlova in straight sets

(7) Maria Sharapova to defeat Tsventana Pironkova in straight sets

(1) Serena Williams to defeat Garbine Muguruza in straight sets

 (20) Alize Cornet to defeat Taylor Townsend in three sets

(31) Daniela Hantuchova to defeat Claire Feuerstein in three sets

(3) Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Karolina Pliskova in three sets

(8) Angelique Kerber to defeat Varvara Lepchenko in three sets

(19) Samantha Stosur to defeat Yvonne Meusburger in straight sets

(9) Dominika Cibulkova to defeat (Q) Tamira Paszek in straight sets

Mona Barthel to defeat (16) Sabine Lisicki in three sets

Ajla Tomljanovic to defeat (32) Elena Vesnina in three sets

Johanna Larsson to defeat (12) Flavia Pennetta

(18) Eugenie Bouchard to defeat Julia Goerges in straight sets

Monica Niculescu to defeat Paula Ormaechea in three sets

Li Na Stunned by Kiki Mladenovic

World number 2 Li Na has been knocked out in the opening round at Roland Garros by local Kristina Mladenovic. It was a well deserved win for the Frenchwoman who dictated for the majority of the match.

Mladenovic made her intentions known right from the outset, she would break Li Na's serve in the third game to take the early lead. Kiki consolidated the break with a strong service hold as Li Na began to look increasingly frustrated with her mediocre start to the match. Li Na would hit straight back, leveling the set at 3-3. From here the two would trade service breaks. Three double faults from Li Na gifted Mladenovic a break whilst two double faults from Mladenovic gifted Li a break. At 4-5 the Frenchwoman was have to serve to stay in the set, she successfully did so despite facing two set points. Mladenovic was able to come up with some big first serves when she needed to most. From here Mladenovic would go on to win the next two games to take the opening set in just over an hour. Mladenovic was able to dictate play for most of the opening set, successfully stepping into the court on a number of occasions.

The second set was a different story, Mladenovic's level really dropped and Li Na was able to take advantage of this. Li Na raced away to a 3-0 lead and was able to maintain a similar lead for the entire set. Li Na took the second set 6-3. The key to the second set was that Li was able to considerably cut down on the number of unforced errors she hit. In the first set the world number 2 hit 18 unforced errors compared to just 5 in the second set.

The third set was all Mladenovic, she regained the momentum with a love service hold to begin the third set. In the fourth game Mladenovic would break to love and for the first time the finish line was within reach. What was impressive was that Mladenovic continued to attack, winning the next three games to take the deciding set 6-1. A massive upset, I certainly didn't see this coming. After the match Mladenovic cried tears of joy, showing just how much this win meant to her.

Sharapova Cruises Through Opener

A dominant start from Maria Sharapova in her quest to win her second Roland Garros title. The number 7 seed dominated in the opening set taking it 6-1 in just 27 minutes. Sharapova was able to break her compatriots serve straight away to take a 2-0, however Pervak would break straight back. That was as much resistance as Pervak showed, from there Sharapova steamrolled her way through the set, barley losing a point. Pervak unable to hit a winner for the entire set, whilst Sharapova hit 6.

 The pair traded love service holds to begin the second set before Sharapova broke to edge ahead in the second set. Maria would then serve three aces in her next service game to really take control of the second set. Sharapova goes up a double break, winning a hard fought fifth game, racing away to a 4-1 lead. There was no coming back from here for Pervak, Sharapova taking the second set 6-2, a comfortable opening round victory for Maria.