Now on a career best 28-match winning streak, Williams has dropped just 10 games, spending barely more than 4 hours on court, on her way to the business end – the second week – of the prestigious Grand Slam tournament. The 31-year-old number one seed has breezed through the first week on the red clay, summarily dashing the hopes of AnnaTatishvilli (Georgia); Caroline Garcia (France); Sorana Cirstea (Romania); and Roberta Vinci (Italy) of take home the championship hardware.
Serena’s devastating path of destruction through what has historically been a dicey and grueling first week for the 15-time Grand Slam champion has left her critics no choice but to predict that she won’t be denied the big prize this year. Being the last woman standing at Roland Garros has eluded her – much to her chagrin – since 2002, but a new coach, Patrick Mortagou, and renewed passion and focus could change that scenario this time around.
With the “light work” behind her, Serena will now have to face what could be the first test of her journey to the winner’s circle, a meet up with Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova in a quarterfinal match. Kuznetsova has been flying under the radar during the tourney this year due to a long injury layoff and resulting drop in the rankings, but she certainly knows her way around the Roland Garros red clay; she won the championship in 2009.
The unseeded all-court Russian, formerly ranked world no. 2, has stopped Serena on her way to claiming the big FO prize before – the year she won it – and with what appears to be a return to form, she stands the greatest chance of being the proverbial fly in the determined frontrunner’s ointment. However, most betting folks are putting their money on Williams, who’s form and determination are seemingly transcendent and the greatest they’ve ever been, based on her stellar run from last year’s Wimbledon till now. She’s lost just 3 matches since around this same period last year.
Still lurking in this year’s FO draw that would likely meet Serena in the final – provided she clears the remaining quarter and semifinal obstacles – are fellow Grand Slam champions, no. 3 seeded Victoria Azarenka and no. 2 seeded Maria Sharapova. She has very comfortable winning records over both women, however, which makes the conclusion of this year’s final all but forgone if she get’s to that point.
If you ask Serena Williams, she’s sure she’ll be able to conquer her Roland Garros demons this year. In fact, she’s so sure, she’s boned up on her french in order to deliver her winner’s speech in the country’s beloved language.
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