Six Canadians in the French Open singles draws: an analysis

The Eh Game

ROLAND GARROS – Four – Milos Raonic, Genie Bouchard, Vasek Pospisil and Sharon Fichman – made it straight in.

Two more – Peter Polansky and Aleksandra Wozniak – earned their way in by winning three matches in the qualifying event.

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Here's a brief look at what the Canadians' French Open draws look like, and how they might fare.

THE MEN

MILOS RAONIC

While Raonic feels he could have done a few things better during the clay-court warmup events, he gave himself all the opportunities he could have asked of himself. And he lost to very good players having very hot weeks.

With all that, the 23-year-old earned himself the No. 8 seed, which is a good spot to be; it ensures that if he can get through the early rounds, there's no chance he could meet one of the top four before the quarterfinals.

The key, of course, is getting there. On the plus side, he's in the non-Rafael Nadal half of the draw. "His" big gun, if he can get there, would be No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic.

Raonic's first match, against a fearless young Aussie up-and-comer named Nick Kyrgios, will open his Roland Garros campaign with a bang. If he gets through that, he would play the winner between two big, hard-hitting Czechs: Lukas Rosol and another youngster, lefty Jiri Vesely.

Third round? Likely No. 29 seed Gilles Simon of France, who gave Nadal everything he could handle 10 days ago in Rome, but who might not stand up against the Raonic attack. Fourth round? Perhaps No. 9 seed Kei Nishikori. Or No. 20 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov. Raonic has lost to both of them this year.

All in all, a challenging but doable path.

VASEK POSPISIL

The No. 30 seed has been so far under the radar, he's practically been underground during the clay-court season as he deals with his ongoing back issues. We haven't even run into him once on the Roland Garros grounds the last few days.

Apparently the health is better, but Pospisil pulled out of the warmup event in Nice last week to focus on Roland Garros and beyond – to his preferred parts of the season on the grass and the summer hard courts.

In other words, no one is expecting much – likely even Pospisil himself. Especially in the best-of-five set format.

His first-round opponent will be Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia, who is a dangerous opponent on a good day and backs down from no one. If he can manage to win that, next up would be qualifier James Duckworth of Australia or Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, who is having a good clay-court season. Not that there's much point in looking beyond that, but behind Door No. 3 (the third round), stands Señor Nadal.

PETER POLANSKY

For the 25-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., the victory is really in the qualifying.

His reward – so to speak – is a date with No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych on Court 1 Monday.

Regardless of the result, that's a great experience for Polansky in only his second French Open, his first since 2009.

Berdych practiced two hours with Raonic on Friday; let's hope they didn't spend any time going over a Peter Polansky scouting report.

THE WOMEN

GENIE BOUCHARD

It's her second French Open, her first as a seeded player. And if it appeared for most of the spring that the No. 18 seed was going to come to Paris woefully short on both match play and confidence, she turned that all around with her first WTA Tour title in Nürnberg, Germany Saturday.

Her draw, by the way, is quite friendly.

First up is Israeli veteran Shahar Pe'er, who isn't a big threat as a singles player these days.

Next would be Julia Goerges of Germany or qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal. Bouchard's first seeded opponent could be No. 12 Flavia Pennetta of Italy. After that? Possibly Angelique Kerber, who is the No. 8 seed but is in the throes of a pretty tough stretch of her career.

A long, long, LONG way down the road could lie No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals. Radwanska defeated Bouchard in the first round at the big tournament in Madrid a few weeks ago.

SHARON FICHMAN

In her first French Open, Fichman has drawn No. 6 seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the first round.

It will, at the very least, be entertaining. Any match involving Jankovic tends to be. But it's not the best outcome for Fichman. We'll take that one match-by-match and not look ahead.

Fichman also is playing doubles with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a "déjà vu all over again" pairing. The two won the French Open junior doubles title together here back in 2006, beating a couple of no-namers called Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

ALEKSANDRA WOZNIAK

There were worse outcomes, in terms of where the 12 women's qualifiers ended up in the singles draw. Wozniak could have ended up playing Maria Sharapova in the first round.

She ended up with Sorana Cirstea of Romania, the No. 26 seed.

While you can't discount her chances in that one, the calf injury she suffered during her final-round qualifying match probably is an X-factor in the equation.

If Wozniak recovers well, and can get by that one, her second round would be relatively simpler before Jankovic looms in the third round.

Jankovic and Wozniak had a pretty dramatic battle on Court 2 at Wimbledon a few years ago, with Jankovic prevailing 6-4 in the third set. Wozniak defeated her in straight sets at the Rogers Cup in Montreal in 2012.

All of that, of course, is health permitting.

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