Madrid Open 2012: Players Who Will Carry Strong Performances into French Open

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Madrid Open 2012: Players Who Will Carry Strong Performances into French Open
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The 2012 Madrid Open lacked no surprise and drama, as we saw the second-ranked Rafael Nadal lose to the 15th-ranked Fernando Verdasco early in the third round—ultimately leading to his decision to refuse play at the new clay court in the future.

Verdasco would move on to becoming an easy victim for title contender Tomas Berdych, but others still had strong performances in Madrid that will carry into the French Open.

 

Serena Williams

Williams, a 30-year-old former top-ranked woman, was ranked only ninth heading into the tournament. Her play, however, suggested she was once again the best on the courts.

In the finals versus the top-ranked Victoria Azarenka, Williams used every opportunity handed to her to lead her way in a crushing defeat of the No. 1 player in the world. Her opponent's nervousness and frequent mistakes paved way for Williams' 14 aces and 26 winners.

After winning her second title this year, the first being at Charleston, Williams has been revitalized and playing with a more youthful agility. With an improved ranking, newfound confidence and recent success, the once-dominant Williams will have yet another strong finish in the French Open, making pretenders of the younger women.

 

Tomas Berdych

Sixth-seeded Berdych had lost every set in his last three matches against Juan Martin Del Potro, but prevailed as the winner in the Madrid Open semifinals. Although Del Potro has an exceptional baseline game, Berdych managed 15 aces to overcome the Argentine. 

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Berdych also defeated the surging Verdasco, who defeated Nadal earlier in the Open, in a rather convincing manner, winning two sets 6-1 and 6-2 and also defeated Gael Monfils 6-1 and 6-2.

With a victory overcoming past struggles, and two crushing wins, Berdych not only carries momentum into the Madrid Open finals, but will duplicate his strong performance in the French Open.

 

Janko Tipsarevic

Although Tipsarevic suffered a somewhat lopsided loss to Roger Federer in the semifinals, his earlier matches helped him build momentum and strength heading to Roland Garros for the French Open.

In the third round, Tipsarevic battled the ninth-ranked Frenchman Gilles Simon for two sets scoring 7-6 and 5-7 respectively. The third set, however, Tipsarevic found his groove and dismantled Simon by winning 6-1.

Even though Simon was a fairly matched opponent and gave Janko an early scare, the true test came in the quarterfinals against the top-seeded Novak Djokovic.

Tipsarevic had to survive four break chances to win the first-set tiebreaker that he controlled for the majority of the time. The seventh-seeded Tipsarevic overcame Djokovic to go ahead in the second set and finished the upset after Djokovic hit two late aces for three match points.

The impressive win over Djokovic, for the second time in five matches, gives Tipsarevic the confidence he needs to turn heads and attract cheers at the upcoming French Open.

 

Roger Federer

The performance of Federer once again comes as no surprise. The 16-time Grand Slam winner had very little trouble on the blue clay as he cruised to the Madrid Open finals.

On his way to the finals, Federer defeated Richard Gasquet of France, David Ferrer of Spain and the previously mentioned Serbian, Tipsarevic.

Federer's shots were unreachable in the breezy conditions and he toppled Tipsarevic for the fifth time in as many matches. With 25 winners in the semifinals, the prized Federer moves on to the finals and will surely have yet another strong showing in the French Open.

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