Four Canadians earned direct entry into the French Open, while two went through the qualifying draw to get entries into the second grand slam of the year at Roland Garros.
The rise of Canadians in the tennis world continues in 2014 as the clay season hits a climax with the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris. Genie Bouchard won her 1st WTA tournament at the Nuremberg Cup in Germany on Saturday and Milos Raonic lost in the semis at the ATP Masters Rome to world #2 Novak Djokovic. While most of us expected Genie to win a tourney soon, it was surprising that it happened on clay. The same could be said for Raonic’s run in Rome but he’s accustomed to the clay through 3 years of training with Galo Blanco in Spain.
Clay is hardly the best surface for Canadians (except Nestor) but I am calling for Milo and Genie to reach the Quarterfinals and Nestor/Zimonjic to win the men’s doubles title.
Milos Raonic, 8th seed
Opened with a straight sets victory over Australian wildcard and up and comer Nick Krygios. Raonic’s run to the semis in Rome bodes well as clay isn’t the best surface for his big serve. Milos has improved his groundstrokes and continues to be aggressive coming to the net. Consistency will be his Achilles heel but with the way he has been playing of late, a deep run at Roland Garros is expected.
Prediction: Quarterfinals (losing to Novak Djokovic)
Vasek Pospisil, 30th seed
Struggling in 2014, with an 0-7 record since the Australian Open and nursing a back injury from Chennai in January. No signs of recovery yet.
Prediction: 1st round loser vs. ATP #60 Teymuraz Gabashvili
Peter Polansky, Qualifier
1st round Loss vs Berdych, 6th seed, but qualifying for his 2nd French Open is a feat in itself for him.
Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic
Coming into Roland Garros, hotter than tamales. The pair has won 4 tourneys in 2014, including the last 2 ATP Masters on clay in Rome and Madrid. I think they will keep the ball rolling and Nestor will capture his 5th Roland Garros men’s doubles title and 2nd with Zimonjic.
Prediction: Winners (rolling over the Bryan Brothers in the semis)
Genie Bouchard, 18th seed
Won her first WTA tourney at Nuremberg, gaining momentum going to Paris. Genie has a tough draw, starting with Shahar Peer in the 1st round, Angelique Kerber (#8 seed) in round of 16 and then Aga Radwanska (#3 seed) if she reaches the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Quarterfinals (losing to Aga Radwanska)
Sharon Fichman, Unseeded
Comes into the French Open with momentum like Genie. Fichman is ranked #77 and won an ITF tourney earlier this month in Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France. She plays the 6th seed, Jelena Jankovic in the 1st round but will likely fall short in a tough 3 sets.
Prediction: 1st round loss
Aleks Wozniak, Qualifier
Wozniak has had a great season returning from injuries, reaching the round of 16 in Indian Wells and Monterrey. She faces the 26th seed, Sorana Cirstea, who should handle Wozniak in straight sets. A strong 2nd half of 2014 should put Wozniak back into the top 100, from her current ranking of 149.
Prediction: 1st round loss
Photo credits: Tennis Canada, RolandGarros.com