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How likely are Roland Garros finalists to lose early at Wimbledon?

Omair, our contributor in charge of the world of tennis stats, who has recently started his own blog, was inspired by the early losses of Roland Garros 2012 runner-up Sara Errani and Roland Garros 2012 champion Maria Sharapova at the subsequent Wimbledon and dug into the historic stats for a possible pattern.

Roland Garros seems to cast some spell on the players doing well there. This year marks the third straight year that the Roland Garros finalists have lost before the quarterfinal stage of Wimbledon. To find a player who did the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double, you have to go back to 2002, when Serena Williams defeated Venus Williams in a rematch of the Roland Garros final.

This year when Maria Sharapova won her maiden Roland Garros title, it seemed that she would be able to cast that spell away, given her good results at Wimbledon, but the spell was just too strong for her as she fell victim of German hard-hitter Sabine Liscki in the fourth round. With Sharapova out, this marked just the sixth time in the Open Era that a top seed has failed to make it to the quarters [Steffi Graf (first round in 1994 , Martina Hingis (first round in 1999 and 2001), Ana Ivanovic (third round in 2008) and Caroline Wozniacki (fourth round in 2011)]. With Sara Errani already falling to Yaroslava Shavedova in the third round, this marked the ninth year since the Open Era began that the Roland Garros finalists have failed to make it to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.

Helen Gourlay Cawley (Roland Garros runner-up in 1971) became the first Roland Garros finalist of the Open Era to lose before the quarterfinal stage of Wimbledon. In fact, she became the first Roland Garros finalist of the Open Era to drop out of Wimbledon in the first round, when she fell to Kerry Melvile Reid.

Year 1977 was the first year in the Open Era, when both the finalists of Roland Garros failed to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. Roland Garros champion Mima Jausovec fell victim of Marise Kruger in the third round and in doing so became the first Roland Garros champion of the Open Era to fall before the quarterfinal stage of Wimbledon. Runner-up Florenta Mihai lost in the second round to Lesley Charles. Since then it has happened eight times – 1981, 1983, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012.

Justine Henin became the first Roland Garros champion of the Open Era to bow out of Wimbledon in the first round, when she lost to Eleni Daniilidou 7–6 2–6 7–5. Franchesca Schiavone joined Justine Henin as the second and only other Roland Garros champion to drop the opener at Wimbledon, when she lost to Vera Dushevina 6-7 7-5 6-1 in 2010.

Year 2010 is the only year in the Open Era when the Roland Garros finalists failed to win a match at Wimbledon, as Francesca Schiavone, the champion, fell to Dushevina in the first round and Samantha Stosur, the runner-up, fell to Kaia Kanepi 6-4 6-4.

In 1991, Monica Seles became the only Roland Garros champion who did not play Wimbledon the same year she won Roland Garros, while Mary Pierce is the only Roland Garros runner-up who did not play at Wimbledon the same year, in 1994.

What's your opinion? Have you noticed any patterns? How are WTA players managing the quick change of surface from Roland Garros to Wimbledon? (photos: © Neal Trousdale)

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