Ain't gonna happen at the French Open
May, 23, 2014
By Peter Bodo | ESPN.com
Grand Slam events never go as expected; we all know that. Your odds of predicting all the brackets might be slightly better than those you faced filling in your NCAA basketball tournament bracket with a trembling hand (it was visions of Warren Buffett’s billion bucks dancing in your brain). But they still ain’t good, pal. Those of you who are already whining about the tough draw doled out to your favorite -- or about the free ticket to the final issued to said favorite’s bitter rival -- need to keep just two words in mind: Virginie Razzano.
Every draw is great -- or horrible -- until it isn’t. That’s the reality.
Remember how Serena Williams’ projected stroll to the French Open title in 2012 started -- and ended -- with the daughter of a French magician, No. 111-ranked wild card Virginie Razzano?
Well, guess what? They could, but probably won’t, meet again this year -- this time in the quarterfinals. But note that, once again, Williams is paired with a French wild card in her first match. This time, it’s 23-year-old Alize Lim. I doubt her father also is a magician, which is just one of the reasons I’m not going out on a Lim to predict the upset.
In fact, let me tell you some of the other things that just aren't going to happen at Roland Garros, according to what I see in my crystal ball.
• No. 17 seed Tommy Robredo will not equal the feat he turned last year, when he won three consecutive matches from two sets to love down. The last time that happened was 1927; the next it happens will be the year 3000.
• We will not see another Serena vs. Venus Williams Grand Slam final. We won’t even see them clash in the third round, as the draw suggests. Venus, who will be 34 just days after the end of the tournament, has a potentially tough second round against China’s Jie Zheng.
• Former US Open champ Samantha Stosur, seeded No. 19, will not allow No. 17 Roberta Vinci to get away with “softest seed” honors. Stosur will be upset in the first round by Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig.
• Lenny and Myla Rose Federer will not be upset by Leo and Charlene Federer in the 4-and-under invitational mixed doubles. Mirka will sit in the guest box of Lenny and Myla, Roger will be in the one assigned to Leo and Charlene. Tony Godsick will dash madly between the two, and the winners’ trophy will be presented by twins Bob and Mike Bryan.
• No. 10 seed John Isner and Nicolas Mahut will meet in the third round. But they will not establish a new record by playing a 71-69 in-the-fifth set.
• Maria Sharapova, the No. 7 seed, will not beat Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, but she will launch a new line of candy to commemorate their non-rivalry, Bitterpova.
• Andy Murray, seeded No. 7, will not win Roland Garros. Ernests Gulbis, who knows? Tomas Berdych, could happen! Teymuraz Gabashvili? You never, ever write anyone off. Except, in this case, poor Andy, who hasn’t won three consecutive matches since Miami.
• Ana Ivanovic, seeded No. 11, will not make it past French youngster Caroline Garcia, but Ivanovic will get the opportunity to clench and pump her fist enough times to establish a new personal record.
• Rafael Nadal will not have to play all three men who beat him on clay this year, as the draw suggests (Nicolas Almagro, fourth round; David Ferrer, semis; Novak Djokovic, final). Well, the joke’s on them. Nadal will be upset in the second round by hard-charging Austrian youngster Dominic Thiem.
• Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand will not get far enough into the tournament to have WTA officials scrambling to double-check their spelling of her name.
• Ferrer, seeded No. 5, will not win the French Open this year, even though the top four men, Nadal, No. 2 seed Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer will all be upset victims. When 32-year-old Ferrer walks out on the Chatrier court and sees that the only thing standing between him and that long-sought Grand Slam singles title is Germany’s Tobias Kamke, his head will explode.