French Open Monday: Champions In Action
Published June 02, 2013 12:00
Monday, Fourth Round
Court Philippe Chatrier
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR #3) vs. Francesca Schiavone (ITA #50)
Head-to-head: Azarenka leads 2-1
At 32, Francesca Schiavone is the oldest player left in the draw, and in the first week she produced some vintage displays, highlighted by a 62 61 dismissal of home favorite Marion Bartoli. Yet despite these showings, and her stellar record at Roland Garros, at No.50 in the world, she remains an outsider for the title.
The next round will present a sterner test of her credentials as she takes on one of the game's big guns, Victoria Azarenka. It is nearly two years since Azarenka lost to a player outside the Top 50 (and that was a certain Serena Williams) and Schiavone will need to draw upon all her guile, guts and shotmaking if she is to stand any chance of causing the upset.
 Maria Sharapova (RUS #2) vs.  Sloane Stephens (USA #17)
Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 2-0
Sloane Stephens may be just 20 years old, but she is already developing a rather handy habit of producing her best tennis when it matters most. At the last four majors, she has reached the third round or better, including a semifinal appearance at the Australian Open this January. This run catapulted her into the Top 20 and also ratcheted up the expectation levels a notch or two.
After disappointing showings on the hard in February and March, Stephens finally seems to have rediscovered her mojo in Paris to set up a much anticipated meeting with defending champion Maria Sharapova. Although she saw her 21-match win streak on clay come to an end recently, Sharapova has looked in fine fettle in the opening week, winning all three matches in straight sets. Stephens' speed and retrieval skills could endanger this statistic and, as she showed in Australia, will relish the opportunity to showcase her talent against one of the sport's leading lights.
Court Suzanne Lenglen
 Maria Kirilenko (RUS #12) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA #67)
Head-to-head: Kirilenko leads 1-0
While Bethanie-Mattek Sands may be ranked outside the Top 50, she is currently playing tennis befitting a player far higher up the tennis pyramid. The charismatic American has already notched up 26 wins this year, with half of these coming during a confidence-boosting and reputation-enhancing clay court season.
Now in the fourth round of a major for just the second time, she takes on another player enjoying an upward career trajectory, Maria Kirilenko. Over the past year or so, Kirilenko has been one of the WTA's most improved players and, when on song, her cerebral game and fit-as-a-fiddle physique is a match for most. Mattek-Sands found this out to her cost in Miami, when she was out-maneuvered over two sets in their only career meeting to date.
Around the grounds…
Following Mattek-Sands and Kirilenko on Suzanne Lenglen is the final fourth round encounter, between former semifinalist Jelena Jankovic and the high-flying Jamie Hampton. Meanwhile, in the doubles, defending champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci and No.2 seeds Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova are both in action.