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It Keeps Getting Better

© DR
Vincent DAVOLI
 
 
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Sunday, 08 February 2009 at 15:35
Player names were drawn on Sunday and the main draw for the 17th Open Gaz de France is now set in stone.  Given this year's highly competitive field, we could see some first round upsets.  
This 17th Open GDF SUEZ promises to be hotly contested.  With three former number 1's (S. Williams, Mauresmo, Jankovic), the Porte de Saint-Cloud tournament has probably never had such depth.  WTA supervisor Fabrice Chouquet, who oversaw Sunday's draw, highlighted this and pointed out that the Open GDF SUEZ is now one of the tour's 18 most important tournaments, Grand Slams included.  With a total of $700,000 (100,000 more than last year) up for grabs, the tournament held at Pierre de Coubertin stadium has assumed an even more prestigious spot on the WTA circuit.

With such a deep field, first round upsets should come as no surprise.  While Serena Williams got a relatively easy draw and will face Iveta Benesova, Jelena Jankovic will have to be on guard from the first match.  The Serbian will face Italy's Francesca Schiavone, who has been ranked as high as 11 in the world.  In the second round, she could meet Agnes Szavay, the surprise finalist in Coubertin last year.  Other seeds also have their work cut out for them.  Anabel Medina Garrigues (7) has a dangerous first round match against world no. 24 Kaia Kanepi.  The Spaniard was present at the draw on Sunday and hid her eyes and closed her ears as fate decided her first round opponent.  Patty Schnyder will also have to be on her toes.  The Swiss number 6 seed will face off against Alona Bondarenko, who currently sits at 31 on the world rankings and looks capable of pulling off an upset.

The draw was rather kind to the French players.  Virginie Razzano and Nathalie Dechy, both of whom received wildcards, were spared first-round meetings with seeded players.  The player from Nîmes will face her practice partner from Sunday morning Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.  Nathalie Dechy will get things underway against Romanian Sorana Cirstea.  The two seeded French players also got a favorable draw.  Alizé Cornet won't know who she's playing until Monday morning when the qualifying tournament finishes.  As for Mauresmo, she will have a chance to take revenge for her Fed Cub loss against Italy's Sara Errani.

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