Dinara Safina are claycourt titlists this year and could win a lot of tennis matches
based on their aggressive groundstrokes alone.
Maria Sharapova (RUS) v. Dinara Safina (RUS) Dinara Safina Image
I'm not sure why the French Open organizers have chosen to schedule this match on the second showcourt, not the main one. It could be glamor girl Sharapova's last match in Paris. Sharapova leads Safina head to head 3-2 but lost to Safina at the 2006 French Open in this very round 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.
Safina has won her last nine matches, all on clay including a three set surprise win versus Serena Williams of the USA. Sharapova is 27-2 for the year and has improved greatly as a clay court player but I still think Safina is the superior claycourter.
Both play a similar hard hitting ground game. Safina has improved her game more than Sharapova in recent months. But in the end I think Sharapova will impose her baseline game more than Safina will and finish with the lower error count.
Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) v. Robby Ginepri (USA)
After both the Williams sisters' shocking exits last week, Ginepri is the lone American left in the Paris singles draws, although
he may not last much longer unfortunately for America. Gonzalez leads Ginepri 3-0 with wins on grass and hard courts. You would think clay would favor the Chilean even more so.
Ginepri entered Paris with a 6-24 career clay court record and it's nice to see a player who had recently struggled to produce quality results record his best grand slam finish since reaching the semifinals of the 2005 US Open.
Roger Federer (SUI) v. Julien Benneteau (FRA)
France's Benneteau has won two five setters and a four setter to reach a showdown with world number one Federer and will need to be ready to go the distance once again to win today. If Federer can win enough net approaches and keep the French crowd significantly out of the match, he should draw closer to a third consecutive final round appearance.
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) v. Gael Monfils (FRA)
Ljubicic leads Monfils 3-1 but has never faced the Frenchman on clay. Some of the upsets I've picked on previous days have thrown my picks' win-loss ratio off to say the least, but I think Monfils' extremely physical power baseline game can win on clay and payoff if he can believe in himself.