French Open Tennis 2012: What First-Round Upsets Mean to the Draw

Alan RubensteinAnalyst IIIMay 31, 2012

French Open Tennis 2012: What First-Round Upsets Mean to the Draw

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    Upsets open up a bracket, allowing players to make surprising runs or other seeded players to have an easier path to their ultimate goal.

    During the French Open, I am going to take a look at how each of the upsets impacts the rest of the draw and why the seeded player went down. A tournament with a draw of 128 usually produces a few shockers along the day. 

    The first round had very few upsets, but one very big shocker. 

Bethany Mattek-Sands (USA) Defeats #12 Seed Sabine Lisicki (GER) 6-4, 6-3

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    Why she won: Mattek-Sands played a more efficient match. She won 61 percent of her point on her first serve and 50 percent on her second. Lisicki won just 48 percent on her first and 38 percent of her second serves. Mattek-Sands won 56 percent of her points when receiving to Lisicki’s 44 percent, she was six of nine on break points to just four of ten for Lisicki and she won 15 of her 18 net approaches to just three of nine for Lisicki. 

    Who Benefits: Samantha Stosur, Nadia Petrova, Sloane Stevens.

    Stosur and Petrova are on a third round collision course. With Lisicki out of the way, the winner of that match won’t have to play another seeded player until the quarterfinals.

    Young American Stevens looked good in ousting Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the first round and now faces Mattek-Sands in the second. 

Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) Defeats #17 Seed Roberta Vinci (ITA) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3

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    Why She Won: Arvidsson was more efficient on her first serves. She got in 74 percent of her first serves to just 61 for Vinci and won 60 percent of her first serves to 52 for Vinci. 

    Who Benefits: Li Na and Yaroslava Shvedova. With the losses of Barthel and Vinci and the withdrawl of Vera Zvonerva before the tournament began, defending champion Na has a path to the quarterfinals without playing a seeded player.

    Shvedova is Arvidsson’s next opponent. 

Nina Bratchikova defeats #32 Monica Niculesecu 0-6, 6-3, 6-3

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    Nina Bratchikova defeats No.32 Monica Niculesecu 0-6, 6-3, 6-3

    Why She won: Her more aggressive game. Even though she committed nearly twice as many unfoced errors, Bratchikova’s playing a bigger game won the match. Bratchikova has a 47-18 edge in winners and won 19 points at the net to Niculescu’s eight. 

    Who Benefits: Claire Feuerstein and Petra KvitovaFrance’s Feuerstein will play Bratchikova in the second round, while Kvitova won’t play a seeded player until a likely fourth round matchup with either Francesca Schiavone or Jelena Jankovic

Eleven Seed Vera Zvonereva withdraws from French Open with a Shoulder Injury

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    Who Benefits: Sesil Karatantcheva replaced Zvonereva in the draw as a lucky loser from qualifying. She won her first round match over Hungary’s Timeo Babos 6-1, 6-0 and now faces Carla Sanchez-Navarro in the second round.

    Li Na’s quarter of the draw is wide open for her to breeze to the quarterfinals without facing a seeded player. 

Virgine Razzano (FRA) Defeats Serena Williams (USA) 4-6, 7-6, 6-3

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    Why She Won: Ability to convert break chances and a more efficient game. Razzano committed 37 unforced errors to Williams' 47. She was also four of seven on break points to Williams four of 16. Seven of those came in the last game of the match. If Williams had converted any of them, she would have been back on serve in the final set. 

    Who Benefits: Arantxa Rus, Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova. Rus pulled off the shocker of the 2011 French Open when she defeated second seeded Kim Clijsters in the second round. She will now face Razzano instead of Williams. 

    Wozniacki has spent 67 weeks atop the WTA rankings, ninth best all-time. The criticism of her is that she hasn’t performed well enough in the Grand Slams and that she might lack the game to do so. With Williams out of her quarter of the draw, this gives her a golden opportunity to advance.

    Sharpova's nemesis is now out of the way. She has lost eight of 10 career meetings to Williams and hasn’t beaten her since 2004. Now she will likely face Wozniacki in the quarterfinals, a player she holds a 4-2 edge against. She won their most recent meeting in Miami in March. 

Berrer (GER) Comes from Two Sets Down to Defeat #30 Seed Melzer (AUT)

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    Why He Won: A more efficient game. Berrer rallied from two sets down on his ability to keep his errors to a minimum and by winning more points on his serve. Berrer had a 15-3 edge in aces, commited 36 unforced errors to Melzer’s 72 and had just six double faults to Melzer’s 13. 

    Who Benefits: Novak Djokovic. The top seed won’t have to play a seeded player until the fourth round with Melzer’s exit. 

David Goffin (BEL) Eliminates #23 Radek Stepanek (CZE) in Five Sets

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    Why He Won: Playing in his first Grand Slam match, Goffin upset the #23 seed and 27th ranked player in the world, Radek Stepanek. His 76 to 57 winning percentage edge on his first serve and an 80 to 52 advantage on receiving points proved the difference. 

    Who Benefits: Arnaud Clement and Roger Federer, Clement is Goffin’s second round opponent. The losses of Stepanek, Andy Roddick and withdrawl of Feliciano Lopez give Federer a path to the quarterfinals without having to face a seeded player. 

Nicolas Mahut (FRA) Defeats #26 Andy Roddick in Four Sets

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    Roddick has never advanced past the fourth round in Paris. His career record drops to 9-10 with the loss to Mahut

    Why He Won: Mahut beat Roddick at his own game. The Frenchman had a higher percentage of points won on his first and second serves and had more aces. He also won 17 points at the net to Roddick’s nine. 

    His ability to break Roddick’s serve was the biggest difference in the match though. Mahut was seven for seven on break points, Roddick just four for 10. 

    Who Benefits: Roger Federer. Federer won’t have to face one of his biggest rivals in what would have been a very early third round Grand Slam showdown.

Feliciano Lopez Retires After Losing First 5 Games to Florent Serra

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    Lopez pulled a muscle in his side last Thursday while practicing for the French Open. He tried to go, but said the muscle pull got worse by the day.

    Who Benefits: Serra, Lukasz Kubot and Federer. Federer has no seeds left in the top half of his quarter, while Kubot is Serra’s second round opponent.

Sergei Stakhovsky (UKR) Defeated 16 Seed Alexander Dogopolov (UKR) in Five Sets

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    Why He Won: In a pretty even match the biggest statistic that stands out his Stakhovsky’s first serve percentage was at 61 percent to just 39 percent for Dogopolov. 

    Who Benefits: Richard Gasquet and Tommy Haas. Both players are trying to recapture some magic from earlier in their careers. Haas will play Stakhovsky in the second round and Gasquet will have a chance to advance to the fourth round without having to play another seeded player.