Roland Garros 2011 has been awaited as a big occasion for world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki to win her maiden Grand Slam, or as a venue where Kim Clijsters will reassert the dominance of the “old generation”, or maybe as an unexpected place for Maria Sharapova to remind us what she’s made of. Let’s not forget defending champion Francesca Schiavone and an always-lurking possibility of an emergence of a lesser known player or new player in the limelight such as Petra Kvitova and Julia Goerges.
Top seed Caroline Wozniacki will play Kimiko Date Krumm in the first round, and then has possible matches against Daniela Hantuchova and the 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. In the quarterfinals the Dane could face last year’s runner-up Samantha Stosur. But let’s not overlook that world No.18 Julia Goerges, who largely owes her fame to the two recent victories over Wozniacki, is in the same quarter of the draw.
Third seed Vera Zvonareva is in the second quarter, as well as defending champion Francesca Schiavone, who failed to impress in the clay lead-up to the French Open but this week in Brussels she reached the semifinals where she lost to Wozniacki. The Italian’s first opponent will be Melanie Oudin. Jelena Jankovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Flavia Pennetta, Alisa Kleybanova and Nadia Petrova are also in this quarter.
In the third quarter of the draw is the 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic, as well as Li Na and younger guns such as Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova. Kvitova defeated Azarenka in the Madrid final, but this time just one of them can go further than the quarters. However, before that encounter, the ninth-ranked Kvitova has to beat Li, while Azarenka has Ivanovic on her way.
Second seed Kim Clijsters hasn’t played any tournaments on clay this season because of her wedding injury, but that should not be much of a problem for the Belgian, even though she’s actually making her first appearance at Roland Garros in five years and will have her ankle taped heavily. The biggest name in Clijsters’ quarter is seventh seed Maria Sharapova, who is actually not a good mover on clay, but her recent victory at the Premier-level tournament in Rome and her status of an established champion make her a hot contender. The most interesting first-round match-up in this quarter is between seed No.15 Andrea Petkovic and Bojana Jovanovski.
This is just a short overview, you’re more than welcome to add your thoughts about the draw in the comments!