Saturday, May 29, 2004 Updated: May 30, 9:16 AM ET
Capriati pushing edge too often
By Pam Shriver Special to ESPN.com
It's unusual to have so many dramatic upsets of top players -- including the defending champions losing to unknown players -- on both the men's and women's side of the draw.
In the case of Justine Henin-Hardenne, Tathiana Garbin is a good player, but the Belgian's loss was a product of a lack of match play in the past seven weeks. She simply was not confident in either her physical or mental capabilities to get through a tough match.
With the bad, we've also seen some good -- like the unique sight of Martina Navratilova playing singles. It's something I never expected to see again. It's also good to see the return of the Williams sisters, Jennifer Capriati and Amelie Mauresmo. Finally, most players (not the Belgians) are healthy again.
Plus, there's the emergence of new stars like Maria Kirilenko of Russia, who pressed Serena Williams in the second-round. Serena won 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, but we'll be talking about this 17-year-old for the next 10 years.
Here's a look at the fourth-round matches still scheduled to be played on Sunday:
Jie Zheng, China, vs. Paola Suarez (14), Argentina
Suarez has been to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros before, when she defeated Mauresmo in the round of 16 two years ago -- so Suarez is comfortable in the bigger matches at the majors. Although Zheng seems to be the best women's Chinese player ever, it's hard to know how good she'll be in this situation. Until Zheng proves she can handle such a big moment, you have to give the edge to the Argentine. Pick: SuarezAmelie Mauresmo (3), France, vs. Magdalena Maleeva (21), Bulgaria
Mauresmo seems finally to be learning how to live with the great pressure of the French Open. Now, that's not saying she's ready to win the whole thing, but she's too good an all-court player to lose in this round to Maleeva. Although Maleeva looked OK against Shaughnessy, Maleeva's never been that comfortable on clay. Pick: MauresmoAnastasia Myskina (6), Russia, vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (11), Russia
These two players are the closest in rankings in the fourth round. There's a lot of tension among the Russian players at this event with their Olympic spots up for grabs. The Olympics, which are in Athens, Greece, in August, hold so much prestige for the Russian players that they are fighting to be part of the team.
These two are pretty evenly matched. Myskina has the edge in rank, but she called the trainer out to the court the other day, calling her physical readiness into question. Aside from that, based on their head-to-head record, with Myskina leading 2-1 after winning their two most recent matches, the pick here should be Myskina. But this match could easily go either way.
Pick: MyskinaFabiola Zuluaga (23), Colombia, vs. Venus Williams (4), United States
No player can take any match on clay for granted -- even Venus, who has a win streak going. Venus has had the best clay-court spring of her career. She should know, though, that she needs to concentrate because she's not playing on a surface where she can afford to let her concentration drift.
Zuluaga had a breakthrough at the Australian Open earlier this year, as she reached the semifinals of a major for the first time. So, she knows the pressure she will face in a round-of-16 match against Venus. That's all the more reason for Venus to get down to business early and not let up.
Pick: VenusJennifer Capriati (7), United States, vs. Francesca Schiavone (17)
There's potential for an upset here because Schiavone is tough on clay and doesn't make many unforced errors. Also, she's had some pretty good wins in the past 12 months, which is why her rank is the highest of her career. Additionally, despite some success against Serena Williams in Berlin, nothing has been easy for Capriati recently -- at some point that will catch up to her.
Pick: SchiavoneShinobu Asagoe, Japan, vs. Serena Williams (12), United States
Like her sister, Serena needs to come in focused and end this match quickly. She can't stumble through a match the way she did in the second round.
Asagoe is a good fighter and tends to compete well. Asagoe has won some close matches in Grand Slam tournaments, so she's a danger.
Pick: SerenaESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.