Marquee Names Target French Form
Published May 15, 2011 10:10
STRASBOURG, France - Marion Bartoli's quest for comfort and form on clay arrives on home soil this week, as top seed at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. And with Roland Garros now just days away, the 12th-ranked French No.1 isn't the only player dreaming, or having nightmares, about the red stuff.
Andrea Petkovic, newly arrived in the Top 20, is the $210,000 tournament's No.2 seed on a shiny ranking of No.15. Unlike Bartoli, the 23-year-old German loves clay, and after slightly disappointing losses in Madrid and Rome she'll no doubt be out to prove it.
Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, having accepted a wildcard, is Strasbourg's No.3 seed. The Serbian star clearly knows a thing or two about the surface, and seems to be on the cusp of a return to the play that saw her lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen three years ago. Could a good week on the banks of the Rhine set the scene for her fortunes to go full circle?
Another wildcard, Nadia Petrova, holds down the No.4 seeding; the Russian powerhouse has been a bit quiet so far on this clay swing, yet is always a threat. Maria Kirilenko and Daniela Hantuchova are seeded No.5 and No.6 respectively, with Kirilenko opening against last year's finalist, Kristina Barrois of Germany.
And watch out for the No.7 and No.8 seeds, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Lucie Hradecka, who both boast fine records here: Medina Garrigues has won the Strasbourg title three times, most recently in 2008; the Spaniard will provide a stern first round test for Melanie Oudin. For her part Hradecka, was the singles runner-up to Aravane Rezai two years ago, and with Sania Mirza is top seed this week in the doubles.
The other singles wildcards have gone to France's Alizé Cornet, who plays Mirza first up, and Pauline Parmentier, who tackles China's Zhang Shuai. Also lurking in the draw is Jelena Dokic, who was runner-up here way back in 2002; she faces a tricky opponent in the form of Simona Halep.