Elena Dementieva (RUS) vs. Anabel Media Garrigues (ESP)
Dementieva made quick work of Petra Martic in the opening round, taking the Croat down 6-1, 6-1. I am sure Dementieva is feeling good because she doesn't have to play Justine Henin in the second round! She had to play her at the Australian Open and the Sony Ericsson Open in the second round and lost both of those matches. She was a finalist here back in 2004 but hasn't been past the quarterfinals since.
Media Garrigues took out young American Melanie Oudin 7-5, 6-2 in the first round and is a good clay court player. She reached the semis at Strasbourg last week (before falling to Sharapova) and advanced to the fourth round at the French back in 2007. She's currently ranked #43 in the world but was as high as #16 last May.
Dementieva is 3-1 against Medina Garrigues and beat her last year on the hard courts of Dubai. Medina Garrigues grew up playing on clay all the time and she is very comfortable on the surface. Her best Grand Slam results have been at the French Open and she is not an easy out. I don't think Dementieva' serve is going to hurt her in this match. Her groundstrokes are some of the best on tour and everyone knows how well she moves. If Medina Garrigues is able to keep her off-balance then she could be in trouble, but I believe that Dementieva has too many weapons.
Nick's Pick - Dementieva in 2 sets
Nadia Petrova (RUS) vs. Agnes Szavay (HUN)
Petrova dispensed of Shuai Peng 6-0, 6-3 in the first round and is a two-time semifinalist at the French. She's currently ranked #20 in the world and has been to the quarterfinals of the last three clay court tournaments she played in this year (Charleston, Rome and Madrid).
Szavay beat Stephanie Foretz 6-2, 6-2 in the first round and is trying to get back to the fourth round for the second straight year. She comes into the tournament ranked #47 in the world, but was as high as #13 back in April of 2008.
Szavay is 1-0 against Petrova with that win coming back in 2007 at the US Open. Petrova is a big girl but she moves well and knows how to win on clay. She spent some time at the Academy in the past and I've enjoyed working with her. Petrova will play an aggressive game and will not back down from anyone. At the same time, Szavay is a tough competitor who has the tools to win, but she hasn't been able to put it together on the big stage. I look for Petrova to win in two close sets.
Nick's Pick - Petrova in 2 sets
Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Kleybanova comes into the French ranked #28 in the world and had an easy win over Mariya Koryttseva in the first round. This is her third appearance at the French Open and the second time she has been past the first round.
Since winning the French Open back in 2008, Ivanovic hasn't been past the fourth round of any Grand Slam tournament. Her ranking has fallen to #42 in the world and she has changed coaches a couple of times. She is definitely going through a rough patch, but we all know what she is capable of producing. It will be interesting to see over the next six months to see how she plays.
Kleybanova is 2-1 against Ivanovic and beat her earlier this year in the Fed Cup. The game of tennis needs Ana Ivanovic to play well, but she hasn't been able to get back to the same place she was in June of 2008. I enjoy watching her play and still think she has what it takes to compete at the Grand Slam level. Kleybanova is built like a tank, but for her size she covers the court well and she has great power. This match could really go either way, but I have to give a slight edge to Kleybanova because of how they have played in 2010, but it's going to be close.
Nick's Pick - Kleybanova in 3 sets