Saturday, May 21, 2011
Hey, it’s Van, returning to the scene of VANtage Point’s greatest triumph…
It was a year ago when the staff at VP (that being me, Van) made one of the boldest calls in bloggers-blogging-about-tennis history with the selection of Francesca Schiavone as a finalist at the 2010 French Open. I’m officially retiring any more mention of that choice since it’s all I’ve talked about for the past 12 months (“Sir, can I take your order?”/”Sure, I’ll have a burger and fries, and oh, did you know I picked Schiavone for the French finals last year?”)
In other words, let’s move on starting with …
This Week’s Spotlight: It’s upon us - no, not the Rapture - rather, the second major of the year, the French Open. And there are plenty of storylines going into this year’s event.
For instance, how about that Novak Djokovic fellow? He’s been playing pretty well lately, huh? (And for my next obvious statement: WATER IS WET.) Rafael Nadal’s been swept up in the Djokovic win streak this year. Can he turn the tables on his new rival? What about Nadal’s old rival, Roger Federer? Is there still something left in the tank?
As for the women, there’s Caroline Wozniacki’s quest for that elusive first Grand Slam title. Will it happen here? Or is it Maria Sharapova’s time? All that talk about players and their particular storylines makes for a nice segue into ...
Players to Watch: All eyes are on Djokovic, which is how it should be when someone’s on a near historic run like he is. I think he’s going to do just fine at this tournament. There's also Nicolas Almagro, a player poised for a major breakthrough. If you were to poll the men on who no one wants to play early on, after Djokovic and Nadal, the next likely man would be Juan Martin del Potro. Something has to give if he meets Djokovic in the third round.
On the women's side, watch out for defending champ Schiavone, who will surprise a lot of folks again. The other shock finalist from 2010, Sam Stosur, could have another nice run here. But you know who can really shake things up, provided her body holds up? Victoria Azarenka. She should take her place among …
The Final Fours: For the men, I think it will be Nadal over his countryman Almagro, then Djokovic topping Federer. On the women’s side, it’ll be Stosur (who I like to upset Wozniacki in the quarters) turning the tables on Schiavone and Azarenka topping Sharapova. And let’s keep it clean Vicki: no potty mouth!
And the Winners Are … : Unbelievable, historic, whatever you want to call it: I just don’t see anyone topping Djoko this tournament. And it’s Azarenka’s time. She seems to have the fire and game to join the Grand Slam-winning elite.
So get ready for an exciting tournament, folks. Au revoir!
Van Sias writes the blog Tennis Talk, Anyone? Follow him on Twitter @ttanyone and Facebook here.
[Photo(s): Getty Images]