Three to See: Day 2 Women's Previews
Each day during the French Open, we'll preview—and predict the winner of—three of the most compelling women's matches.
(7) Li Na vs. Sorana Cirstea
—Head-to-Head: Li leads 1-0
The 43rd-ranked Cirstea was a 2009 French Open quarterfinalist and has bounced a Grand Slam champion from a major before: She upset U.S. Open champ Samantha Stosur in the first round of the Australian Open in January. The Romanian is an aggressive baseliner who will take her cracks; if she’s landing the first strike, an upset is possible. But Li is coming off the Rome final, swept Cirstea in Paris last year, and all three of her clay-court losses this season have come to Top 4 players.
The Pick: Li
(24) Petra Cetkovska vs. Simona Halep
—Head to Head: Halep leads 1-0
Since reaching the fourth round of the French in her 2008 debut, Cetkovska has played only one match in Paris, falling in the first round three years ago. The 37th-ranked Halep hits bigger than her 5’6” frame suggests and plays with the consistency to challenge Cetkovska. Halep has been solid on dirt—she was a semifinalist in Fes and lost to Agnieszka Radwanska in the Brussels final—and she beat Cetkovska, 6-2, 6-4, on a hard court in Indian Wells this March.
The Pick: Halep
(31) Jie Zheng vs. Alize Cornet
—Head to Head: Zheng leads 2-1
Neither woman is at her best on clay: Zheng has failed to survive the second round in six of her eight French Open appearances, while Cornet has escaped the second round just once in seven appearances. The 28-year-old Zheng has lost her opener in three of four clay events in 2012, hits an extremely flat ball, and is vulnerable to opponents who can work the width of the court. Nice native Cornet is coming off the Strasbourg final; she's the in-form player and the pick here.
The Pick: Cornet