Friday, 14 April 2017

Clay court season beckons

The year has moved very quickly and we now head to the clay court season leading into the second major of the year at Roland Garros.  There are currently tournaments underway on both the ATP and WTA tours in Switzerland, Colombia, Morocco and The USA.

Not all the big guns have decided to play this week but the red clay of Houston has attracted the US Davis Cup quartet of Jack Sock, John Isner, Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson as the top four seeds.
Disappointed at losing the quarter final tie to Australia, all four bounced back to reach the quarter finals of the US Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston.

Joining them in the last eight are two Spaniards Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez, fellow American Ernesto Escobedo, and Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.

Bogota, Colombia is hosting the Claro Colsanitas Open, and gives the opportunity for many of the players ranked 50 and lower to avoid qualifying and be guaranteed a place in the main draw.
One prominent name to take advantage is Italian Francesca Schiavone, 2010 Roland Garros champion but now ranked 168.  She has had a 6/9 win loss record this year but in Bogota has reached the semi final, in the process knocking over 6th seed Patricia Maria Tig in the first round and in a major upset, eliminating top seed Kiki Bertens in a straight sets quarter final coup.

Schiavone will play third seed Johanna Larsson in one semi final, while the other semi will feature two Spanish players Sara Sorribes Tormo and fourth seed Lara Arruabarrena.

Tommy Robredo provided a huge upset in Marrakech defeating the top seed Grigor Dimitrov in three sets.  Robredo at 34, once a top five player, but now ranked 385 and hardly on court at all this year, is a quarter finalist along with other unseeded players Struff, Vesely and Coric.  
Paire, Kohlschreiber, Lorenzi and Ramos-Vinolas are the seeds who are the next opponents for the unexpected four, respectively. 

The Biel Bienne Ladies Open in Switzerland is headlined by top twenty player Barbora Strycova.

Apart from Strycova and seventh seed Julia Goerges, who meet in a quarter final, all the seeds were dumped in the first round or in the case of Carla Suarez Navarro the second.
Anett Kontaveit, ranked 99 and from Estonia, is through to the semi finals
17 year old Czech qualifier Marketa Vondrousova is ranked 233 and is a set up in her quarter final against Kristyna Pliskova.

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