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French Open Thursday: Past Champs Featured

Maria Sharapova headlines a trio of former Roland Garros winners in second round action.

Published May 29, 2013 12:00

French Open Thursday: Past Champs Featured
Maria Sharapova

PARIS, France - The last three French Open champions, Francesca Schiavone, Li Na and Maria Sharapova, all will be on court in pursuit of more Roland Garros glory.

Thursday, Second Round

Court Philippe Chatrier
[2] Maria Sharapova (RUS #2) vs. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN #77)
Head-to-head:
Sharapova leads 1-0
The statistics heavily favor Maria Sharapova being victorious in her second round tilt with Eugenie Bouchard. First of all, the last time she failed to reach the third round of Roland Garros was in her tournament debut in 2003. Also, she has the best clay court win percentage among active players and is tied with Svetlana Kuznetsova for the best French Open win percentage among active players. Finally, her first round rout of Hsieh Su-Wei gave her 13 wins in her last 14 matches here.

While Sharapova disposed of Bouchard easily in their only previous encounter in the second round of Miami in March, Bouchard has come a long way since then. The 19-year-old reached her second WTA quarterfinal at Charleston last month and her first WTA semifinal at Strasbourg last week. She came into Roland Garros with a career-high ranking and is Canada's highest-ranked player. An upset of Sharapova would be her second Top 10 win, with the first coming by retirement over World No.9 Samantha Stosur in Charleston.

Court 1
[6] Li Na (CHN #6) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA #67)
Head-to-head: Li leads 2-0
Li Na's first round win over Anabel Medina Garrigues was her 20th at Roland Garros and raised her winning percentage here to 80%. A good omen for her is that the first time she reached the Australian Open final, in 2011, she went on to pick up her first Grand Slam title at the French Open later that year. And once again she was runner-up in Melbourne this year. She beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands for the second time on clay en route to her only final since the Australian Open in Stuttgart last month.

That match was Mattek-Sands' first Premier-level semifinal in over two years, an event that was highlighted by her third Top 10 win over then-World No.7 Sara Errani in the second round. Her strong season has also included a runner-up showing in Kuala Lumpur.

Court Suzanne Lenglen
(21) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL #21) vs. Francesca Schiavone (ITA #50)
Head-to-head:
Tied 1-1
If Kirsten Flipkens and Francesca Schiavone's clash on Thursday is anything like their last one, fans are in for a treat. In the first round of Hobart in January, Flipkens rallied from a 5-2 third set deficit to defeat Schiavone in a third set tie-break. Schiavone's record sits at just 12-12 on the season, but she did collect her fifth WTA clay court title last month in Marrakech. And Roland Garros can bring out the best in her, as the 2010 champion and 2011 runner-up has won 15 of her past 17 matches here. She will be seeking her 100th career Grand Slam match win here, which is her 51st consecutive Grand Slam main draw, the longest active streak.

Flipkens came into Roland Garros with a career-high ranking during a season that has seen her make a semifinal and three quarterfinals. She will be playing an Italian for the second straight match, having gotten past Flavia Pennetta in her opener.

Around the grounds…
World No.3 Victoria Azarenka takes on Annika Beck and 2012 Roland Garros semifinalist Petra Kvitova looks for her fourth win in four meetings with Peng Shuai.

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