French Open 2012: Women's Tournament Preview

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French Open 2012: Women's Tournament Preview
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The French Open draw is out, and the women's tournament should be a doozy. There are plenty of contenders, and it appears two of the big favorites (Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams) could be meeting as early as the quarterfinals.

Here's a look at how I see things unfolding.

 

First Quarter

Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka has not been playing well lately, but she's still No. 1 for a reason. I think she has a really good draw and can play her way into good form.

No. 15 Dominika Cibulkova could pose a real threat in the fourth round. Cibulkova came really close to beating Azarenka in Miami.

The bottom of this section is also kind of weak. I like Sam Stosur to get through there, but Stosur has not done well against Azarenka.
 

Semifinalist: Azarenka

 

Second Quarter

Agnieszka Radwanska is the top seed here but could face Venus Williams in the second round. I think Venus will take her out.

With some of her health issues, it's hard to see Venus making a deep run, but I think she could get to the third or fourth round.

The player to watch out for in this section is Angelique Kerber. The German is having a great year, and I don't think that will change in Paris.
 

Semifinalist: Kerber

 

Third Quarter

The top seed in this section is No. 4 Petra Kvitova, but she has struggled most of the year. To make matters worse, she is dealing with an injury, which will probably slow her down even more in Paris.

I think Monica Niculescu will upset Kvitova in the third round.

Former French champ Francesca Schiavone could be a dark horse in this section. Defending champ Li Na has a tough first-round opponent in Sorana Cirstea, but if she gets by that match she could go on a roll.
 

Semifinalist: Na

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Fourth Quarter

This is where many of the big guns are: Serena, Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki. There are also some dark horses in this section like Julia Goerges and Kaia Kanepi.

I think the marquee matchup between Serena and Sharapova will happen in the quarters, and I think Serena will once again whip Sharapova. It simply isn't a good matchup for Sharapova, who can't out-hit Serena. Not to mention Serena's movement and serve are much better than Sharapova's.

The only player that can stop Serena in this tournament is Serena or maybe Mother Time.
 

Semifinalist: Williams

 

Semifinals
 

Azarenka vs. Kerber: I think Azarenka will have too much experience and too much game for Kerber. Making the semifinals would still be a great accomplishment for the German.

Azarenka would make it to two straight finals and solidify her place at the top of the rankings.
 

Winner: Azarenka in two sets

Na vs. S. Williams: I think this would be Williams' toughest test of the tournament. Na has experience on the clay and just won it last year. I think she can definitely push Serena to the brink, but Williams has that look about her right now—she wants it.
 

Winner: Williams in two sets

 

Final

Azarenka vs. Williams: They met in the Madrid final with Williams winning easily. They have had some tough battles over the years, where Azarenka would have a lead only to have Serena come back and win.

I just think Serena wants it really badly and will finally get her second French Open title.
 

Winner: Williams in two sets

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