Opportunities Knock at French Open

By Jane Voigt

May 29, 2014 — The women’s singles draw is either bonus coverage of new faces or decimated. You are always entitled to your point of view. But if you ask a couple of the women who might be so excited they can’t sleep at night, the draw is a bonus!

Here are the women, all 22 or younger, who have advanced to the third round. 

Garbine Muguruza (below) … the woman who put the biggest dent in the draw when she defeated Serena Williams yesterday, 62 62. 

FOPicGMuguruza2May282014

Age: 19
Born: Caracas, Venezuela
Resides: Barcelona, Spain
Age began to play: 3
Favorite shot: Serve
Favorite tennis player while growing up: Serena Williams
Current rank: 35
Career prize money:$870,000 USD
Titles: Hobart, 2014

That the six-one Spaniard beat her idol must have taken its toll, although her demeanor on court yesterday was solid. She certainly was aware of where she was — Court Suzanne Lenglen — and who was across the net … her idol. However Muguruza went about the business of winning like a champ. This is her third appearance at Roland Garros. Last year she made it to the second round.  

Garbine is scheduled to play Anna Schmiedlova (below) tomorrow in the third round. This 19-year-old beat Venus Williams yesterday. 

FOPicSchmiedlovaMay282014

Born: Kosice, Slovakia
Resides: Bratislava, Slovakia
Age began to play: 7
Favorite shot: Cross-court backhand
Current rank: 56
Career prize money: $324,000 USD
Titles: none

Anna first meet Venus at Sony Open Tennis in March. She lost to the elder Williams sister, and began yesterday’s match with little belief. But when she began serving well in the second set, her confidence rose. Since Garbine is not a seeded player, Schmiedlova believes she could do well tomorrow. “We’ll see,” she said after her match yesterday. She has already equaled her best performance at Roland Garros, which came last year. It is her favorite tournament of the year. 

This is Alja Tomljanovic’s (below) fifth appearance in Paris, but her first in the main draw. In the previous year’s she lost in the first round of qualification. In her premier match on Monday, she defeated the 2010 French Open Champion Francesca Schiavone. Next, she said goodbye to the No. 32 seed, Elena Vesnina, 76(6) 62. 

WTA-Tennis-img9649 668

Born: Zagreb, Croatia
Resides: Boca Raton, Fla.
Age began to play: 7
Favorite shot: Backhand
Current Rank: 72
Career prize money: $517,000 USD
Titles: None

Alja has played a total of three majors, in her young career. She made the second round of the U. S. Open last year and the Australian Open in January. She will be tested tomorrow when she meets Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 3 seed. However, with all the momentum behind these upstarts there is no reason for her to believe she, too, has a chance to advance to the prestigious round of sixteen. 

Kristina Mladenovic (below) cried in front of a packed Court Philippe-Chatrier seconds after her historic upset of Li Na, the No. 2 seed, plus the 2014 Australian Open and 2011 French Open champion on Monday. The six-foot Frenchwoman has had a slow start to the year, and was overwhelmed by the fans’ support. 

FOPicMladovicMay282014

Born: Saint Pol sur Mer, France
Resides: Boulogne Billancourt, France
Age began to play: 7
Favorite shot: Backhand
Current rank: 103
Career prize money: $1.4 million USD

Mladenovic has more experience compared to the other young women. At 21, she has 7 WTA career doubles titles. This is her 7th appearance at The French Open. Her best performance came in 2013; she advanced to the 2nd round.

Historically when an unproven player bumps a top seed, she loses in the next round. Not “Kiki.” She backed up her win over Li Na today, defeating American Alison Riske, 76(5) 36 63. Andrea Petkovic (No. 28) is her next opponent. They should play Saturday.  

Taylor Townsend of the U. S. rocked Centre Court yesterday, defeating Frenchwoman Alize Cornet (No. 20). It was the American’s third ever win at a major, and this is her first major. She told the press, “These are the moments I’ve been preparing for as a young athlete. The sky’s the limit. One ball at a time.”

Ranked 205 in the world, Townsend just turned 18 on April 16. She plays with her left hand, has close-to perfect timing on the ball, and plays an all-court game. She is light-hearted and determined. She took a spill on the terre-batteau against Cornet, stood up, brushed herself off, and laughed. Her picture on the Roland Garros website shows off her broad smile and teeth covered in braces. In 2012, Townsend was ranked the number one junior by the ITF. She is coached by American legend Zina Garrison. Townsend’s career prize money is $117,000 USD. 

Next up for the teen is Carla Suarez Navarro (No. 14). They have never played, naturally. But as a wildcard entry, Townsend should swing out and have fun. In her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros, Coach Garrison swung her way to the quarterfinals. 

(Please credits tennisclix.com)

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013