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Pro Tour

Can Venus take the BNP Open title?

BT Media Group

By Jason Barron

Venus Williams will face the 8th ranked Angelique Kerber in the Quarter-finals of the Indian Wells Tournament on Thursday, March 14th.

Williams is having a great tournament with her most impressive win coming against the 3rd ranked, Petra Kvitova winning in 3 sets 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

Williams followed that performance up with a straight sets win over fellow American, Christina McHale 6-2, 7-5. Williams was able to use her court savvy and a variety of shots to defeat the less experienced player.

Williams then beat German player, Mona Barthel in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. It was a back and forth match, but Williams was able to be more consistent in her service games and came out on top. 

Williams has seen her ranking drop to 36, but with a great performance at Indian Wells her ranking should rise. Kerber provides a tough challenge for Williams as she is an excellent defensive player able to get a lot balls back in play.

Williams will need to finish the points when she has the opportunity and not get into a lot of long baseline exchanges with Kerber.

Williams should look to hit to Kerber’s forehand side as it is not as consistent as her backhand. If Williams can serve well and keep the points short she will give herself a better chance at winning and advancing to the Semi-finals. Williams has a 3-5 record against Kerber, with Williams most recent win coming in 2017. 

Williams has shown great fight to get to the last 8 and Kerber will not make it easy for her to advance. This should be a competitive match that could go either way. With her sister, Serena Williams unfortunately having to retire during the second set of her match, Venus is still going strong and hoping to win the title.

It has been another great performance for Venus at Indian Wells after she advanced to the Semi-finals of the tournament in 2018. Tune in on Tennis Channel and the ESPN App for continuing coverage from Indian Wells. 

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Pro Tour

French Open Men’s Qualifying: Who will advance?

Getty Images

By Editorial Team

This season has been a series of ups and downs for many on tour. The black male component has taken a back seat for the most part with the exception of Felix Auger-Aliassime and Gael Monfils.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a second (and in some cases a third) chance for several black players on the tour with the French Open Qualifying Draw getting under way. The question still remains: who will advance on the men’s tour?

With seven players all in the same ranking category it can be difficult to know who exactly will break out and become the next rising star or “bounce-back” story. Our editorial staff has put together a brief run-down on each player with his chances of at least making it through to the main draw at Roland Garros.

Donald Young is always in contention (as the top rated junior who never seemed to break out) keeps up the good fight with strong family backing and athletic ability. Facing fellow American Marcos Giron in the first round is definitely a challenge, but Donald should be up to challenge on the slower surface.

It will be critical for Donald to apply pressure and force the California college star to make errors early in the match. If Donald is to have a chance he must play aggressive and go for his shots. If he is able to advance here, it should be smooth sailing into the final qualifying round even with a possible match-up against Thanasi Kokkinakis in the next round.

Darian King has a favorable draw going up against the 14th seed Peter Polansky whom he defeated 6-4, 6-1 recently on red clay in Houston, Texas at the Men’s Clay Court Championship last month.

With a probable first round win, Darian’s road to the main draw does not get easier with Muller and Triocki in his path. However, Darian’s ability to stretch points and pull out tough 3 set matches puts him in good position to earn a qualifying spot next week.

Mikael Ymer and Elias Ymer both have great chances of qualifying and making a splash at this year’s French Open. With good draws against players that they have recent wins over, it should be a family affair in the main draw.

Dustin Brown has an uphill battle against Denis Istomin without being as active on tour as usual. It will be nearly impossible for Dustin to pull off the upset here, but the red clay does work in his favor. If Dustin is able to push Denis deep in the 3rd set anything can happen, but the odds are definitely against him in this early round match.

Michael Mmoh should be able to rise above his opponents as a seeded player here in Paris and earn a spot in the main draw. Michael has the potential to upset some top ranked players if he is able to maintain a steady baseline pattern against some of the best clay court specialist on the ATP Tour.

Chris Eubanks may struggle a bit as his dynamic serve may be tapered by the red clay surface. Chris’ backhand has improved dramatically with the help of new coach Chris Hill, but having to put three matches together in a row on such a slow surface may prove too challenging for the 6’7″ for the Georgia Tech star from Atlanta.

Jay Clarke has an all court game and with a determined professional approach to his game anything is possible for him this week. The only hindrance could be a tough draw against players in top form (including American Noah Rubin) that he would have to defeat in each round. Built for the faster surfaces, we look for Jay to make a big impression this season. However, the French Open red clay may not be his best surface.

In conclusion, Michael Mmoh and the Ymer brothers have the best changes of qualifying in this year’s French Open and we look forward to seeing more of them as the season unfolds.

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Pro Tour

Cori Gauff receives French Open Wildcard at age 15

coco2
Andrew Ong/USTA

By Editorial Team

Cori “CoCo” Gauff has had such an amazing start to her pro career with round of 16 and quarter finals appearances in ITF W100 events and a ITF W25 final appearance this year.

A recent surge into the top 350 on the WTA Tour at age 15 has many players and fans scratching their heads in disbelief. It has been quite some time since such raw talent and athletic ability has graced a tennis court.

Most fans see glimpses of Venus and Serena as they watch Cori dismantle seasoned pros in straight sets. In any metric, she is definitely on pace to make a name for herself in the sport of tennis.

This week her attention has shifted from the green clay in Florida to the red clay in Europe as she plays the W60 Saint-Gaudens in France this week. She was able to defeat the lucky loser, Lucia Bronzetti 6-4, 6-4 to now face the 4th seed and 143rd ranked, Harriet Dart in the second round.

This will be a good test for Cori going into the French Open where she was able to earn a wild card into the qualifying rounds of play later this month.

The wild card was secured last year with her dramatic three-set win against fellow American and doubles partner, Caty McNally.

With a sharp game and remnants of a successful run last year, Cori should be able to put herself in contention to play in the main draw during the following week.

On the other side of the coin toss, Whitney Osuigwe was not so fortunate as she was heavily banking on her strong performances in the French Open Wilcard Playoff after winning Charlottesville and reaching the semi-finals in Bonita Springs last week.

Whitney has played great tennis with impressive results to back up the phenomenal potential. Maybe she will be able to play more International and Premier WTA Tour events as the season unfolds where she can then catch her big break to crack through the top-100 rankings.

The 33 wildcard recipients were announced from Roland Garros today as follows:

Main Draw:
WOMEN’S SINGLES
1 – ALBIE Audrey (FRA)1                             
2 – JANICICEVIC Selena (FRA)                  
3 – PAQUET Chloé (FRA)                           
4 – PARRY Diane (FRA)                             
5 – PONCHET Jessika (FRA)2                   
6 – TAN Harmony (FRA)                             
7 – HON Priscilla (AUS)3                            
8 – DAVIS Lauren (USA)3                           
MEN’S SINGLES
1 – BARRERE Grégoire (FRA)2                      
2 – HALYS Quentin (FRA)1                             
3 – HOANG Antoine (FRA)                           
4 – JANVIER Maxime (FRA)                         
5 – MAHUT Nicolas (FRA)                           
6 – MOUTET Corentin (FRA)                        
7 – POPYRIN Alexei (AUS)3                          
8 – PAUL Tommy (USA)3                             
Qualifying:
WOMEN’S SINGLES
1 – ANDRIANJAFITRIMO Tessah (FRA)
2 – BENCHEIKH Loudmilla (FRA)
3 – GAUFF Cori (USA)4
4 – GEORGES Myrtille (FRA)2
5 – JACQUEMOT Elsa (FRA)5
6 – LEONARD Manon (FRA)
7 – LIM Alizé (FRA)1
8 – YEROLYMOS Margot (FRA)
MEN’S SINGLES
1 – BENCHETRIT Elliot (FRA)2  
2 – BLANCANEAUX Geoffrey (FRA)  
3 – CORNUT-CHAUVINC (FRA)
4 – DENOLLY Corentin (FRA)
5 – GASTON Hugo (FRA)
6 – GUINARD Manuel (FRA)1
7 – MARTINEAU Mattéo (FRA)
8 – MULLER Alexandre (FRA)  
9 – TATLOT Johan-Sébastien (FRA)  

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News

Townsend, Osuigwe rematch in Charleston Final

USTA

By Editorial Team

Taylor Townsend had an easier time against the red-hot Emma Navarro today in her semifinal match. While Osuigwe had to fend off the top ranked 7th seed Kaja Juvan late in the 3rd set, 6-4.

Taylor has the upper hand going into this match as she can make adjustments since her last loss to Whitney just last week in the 80k quarterfinals.

After wrapping up the doubles title today with partner, Asia Muhammad, Taylor should be fresh and in good spirits to battle the tough baseliner.

The complete match can be watched tomorrow on the Tennis Channel at 11am EST.

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