Just days before Roland Garros, we have two more titlists at the tournaments leading up to the claycourt Grand Slam – Agnieszka Radwanska and Francesca Schiavone.
Radwanska may not be a top contender for the Roland Garros title, vulnerable against big hitters on clay, but now that she’s won the Brussels Open and taking into account the well-known fact that this season she’s been defeated only by world No.1 Victoria Azarenka and Petra Cetkovska, the Pole has only reinforced her image of a hot 2012 player. It’s true that Radwanska faced no Top 20 opponents en route to the Brussels title (her highest-ranked competitor was world No.25 Kaia Kanepi in the semifinals), but still it’s always an achievement to take home some hardware. In the Brussels final against Simona Halep, the Romanian was serving for the set when the top-seeded Radwanska bounced back to win nine straight games for a 7-5 6-0 victory.
At the French Open, Radwanska, who is yet to go beyond the fourth round, has a possible second-round clash with Venus Williams.
Francesca Schiavone defeated Alize Cornet 6-4 6-4 in the final of the Internationaux de Strasbourg, making a very nice introduction to Roland Garros, where she was the champion two years ago and a runner-up last time. The Strasbourg title is especially welcome given that it’s Schiavone’s first title since Roland Garros 2010 and a light of hope given that after the semifinals of Brisbane in early January she had not won more than one match at subsequent ten events.