French Open 2011: Who Has the Advantage in the Women's Draw After Friday?

Sean ClairCorrespondent IMay 27, 2011

French Open 2011: Who Has the Advantage in the Women's Draw After Friday?

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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 27:  Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark shows her dejection during the women's singles round three match between Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia on day six of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2011
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Caroline Wozniacki—gone. Kim Clijsters—see ya.

    The top two seeds in the women's draw have both bowed out at the French Open this year. That means that the title is now really up for grabs.

    It's almost always impossible to pick a woman to win a major these days, since the WTA has no dominant player. The French is proving this thought again.

    With the field wide open, let's look at each quarter of the draw and see who has the advantage to reach the semifinals in each.

Top Quarter

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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 27:  Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia celebrates matchpoint during the women's singles round three match between Rebecca Marino of Canada and Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia on day six of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2011 in
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Svetlana Kuznetsova seems to have the upper hand in the top quarter of the women's draw.

    Down to four players (round of 16) in this section, Kuznetsova, by far, has the most experience (two-time major champion, including the 2009 French Open) and firepower of anyone left.

    She plays Daniela Hantuchova, who took out Caroline Wozniacki. Hantuchova has game but can be very inconsistent.

    The other two players are Marion Bartoli (who will have the crowd's support) and Gisela Dulko, who took out two-time finalist Sam Stosur. Both are solid players but lack any real weapons.

Second Quarter

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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 27:   Francesca Schiavone of Italy waves to the fans after Shuai Peng of China withdrew from the match due to medical reasons during the women's singles round three match between Shuai Peng of China and Francesca Schiavone of Italy on
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    The second quarter is also down to four players, and Francesca Schiavone is the slight favorite to come out of the section.

    She, of course, won the title last year here and is extremely comfortable playing on the clay. She has looked good so far.

    Schiavone will have a tough match against Jelena Jankovic, but should prevail due to more firepower and preference of the clay.

    Third seed Vera Zvonereva should beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the other match. However, Schiavone would have the edge over either of these players.

Third Quarter

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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 26:  Victoria Azarenka of Belarus blows a kiss to the crowd as she celebrates match point during the women's singles round two match between Pauline Parmentier of France and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on day five of the French Open a
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The third quarter still has third-round matches to play so I won't run through every name or every matchup. Victoria Azarenka should be the favorite to come out of this section.

    Azarenka has been impressive thus far and all year. She possesses weapons off both sides and deals with the clay well.

    Two other players who could push her in this section are Petra Kvitova and Li Na.

    Na has a big game, but clay is not her favorite surface. Kvitova is the real threat, as she possesses a big forehand and serve that could cause anyone problems.

    Still, look for Azarenka to reach the semis from this group.

Bottom Quarter

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    PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 26:  Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates after winning the second set during the women's singles round two match between Maria Sharapova of Russia and Caroline Garcia of France on day five of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 26
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    As with the third quarter, the bottom still has third-round matches to play. 

    Maria Sharapova is the clear favorite to come out of this section, and as some have been saying, it's her tournament to lose.

    After struggling big time for a set-and-a-half against Caroline Garcia, Sharapova showed up huge and thwarted her the rest of the way.

    Her two biggest threats in the bottom section are probably Yanina Wickmayer and Andrea Petkovic.

    Wickmayer has a big game but has struggled with consistent play. Petkovic is up and coming and handles herself very well for a young player.

    Still, Sharapova is mentally tougher than any woman on tour and has looked solid on clay this season, which gives her the advantage.