French Open set to begin

As the French Open begins on May 27, another highly charged title clash is anticipated.

updated: May 27, 2007 14:04 IST
  • Total Shares


As the French Open begins on May 27, another highly charged title clash is anticipated.

Roger Federer will be mounting another charge on the clay title that matters.

While in the women's section, defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne starts as the favourite, but could face stiff opposition from not just second seed Maria Sharapova, but also Serena Williams.

Roger Federer did more than just beat Rafael Nadal in the final of the Hamburg Masters last weekend. He snapped the King of Clay's 81 match winning streak on his favourite surface ahead of his favourite grand slam the French Open.

But is that one Federer win enough to doubt Rafa's ability to complete a hat-trick of titles in successive years?

The top seed himself feels he's finally cracked the code to beating Nadal but also says this will be the toughest leg in his grand slam aspirations.

Meanwhile, in the women's singles draw, defending champion and top-seed Justine Henin-Hardenne is still considered the favourite as she starts against 67th-ranked Russian Elena vesnina. Interestingly, Justine Henin Hardenne had won the girls title here in 1997.

Dark horse

However, she could run into Serena Williams, the dark horse for the title, in the quarter-finals. Playing at Roland Garros after two years, Serena will look to win her second title of the year, and her second French Open title in six years.

It's a tough tournament for her as well to set her on course for a calendar slam. Her biggest opponent though, could yet again be her groin injury.

Second seed Maria Sharapova was doing her best for Sochi's Olympic bid campaign recently, but her own in the French Open begins with a potentially tricky first-round match against home favourite Emilie Loit.

Sania Mirza meanwhile, takes on 87th-ranked Alberta Brianti. The 52nd-ranked Hyderabadi will look to advance beyond the first round for the first time in three attempts.

If she does succeed, then she might run into seventh seed big hitting Ana Ivanovic. Hingis meanwhile, is missing in action thanks to a hip injury.

But in the absence of the Swiss miss, her fiance will be partnering Mahesh Bhupathi in the men's doubles. Incidentally Bhupathi won his first grand slam title at the same venue exactly 10 years ago. He had won the title with Rika Hiraki in the mixed doubles.