February 8, 2012

Francesca Schiavone had a disappointing Australian Open, crashing out in the second round to her compatriot Oprandi, 6-4, 6-3.

After such a promising start at Melbourne Park, beating home favourite and current US Open champion Samantha Stosur, expectation of the number 10 seed’s success was high and yet it was the unseeded Romina Oprandi, currently ranked number 80 in the world, who outclassed Schiavone in just the second round of the competition.

Oprandi started the match with a heavily strapped thigh, and repeatedly had treatment for a hamstring problem, and then a foot injury late on in the match. These continual interruptions eventually led Schiavone to complain, but this was ignored, and Oprandi’s injuries didn’t seem to affect her game as she put in a solid performance, with few mistakes, a high first serve percentage, and a very impressive 83% success rate on her second serve points.

In contrast, Schiavone made 35 unforced errors along with 9 double faults, and failed to find the kind of form that she is capable of producing. The match was over in 84 minutes, with Schiavone’s defiance even less noticeable in a short second set.

Schiavone is primarily a clay court player, though she also enjoys quite a lot of success on hard court, so it is a surprise that the Australian Open was such a disappointment for her – last year she made it through to the quarterfinals in Melbourne.

The 31-year old has had a lot of success in recent years, especially in the French Open, and is again one of the favourites according to the best Roland Garros betting odds.

In 2010 the Italian won at Roland Garros after being seeded just 17th, and almost repeated the feat in 2011, only falling in the final to Li Na. She is now ranked number 11 in the world after achieving a career high of number 4 at the start of 2011.

Schiavone will have plenty of time to prepare for this year’s French Open, the next grand slam, which takes place towards the end of May.