It's hard not to be a little frustrated. That’s what I am. That’s what Caroline Garcia was. I feel her pain. After the big build up to the French Open this year, after tinkering with my fantasy team on Tisque, the anticipation was rampant on Monday as it all kicked off. Then it all came crashing down as one of the players who I had been most excitement about seeing going on a Roland Garros rampage through the rounds, bombed out in the first round. Yes, we are talking about young French starlet Caroline Garcia.
The disappointment is a two-pronged thing. Her unexpected loss against Donna Vekic meant that there was a personal failing to spot the potential danger of her slipping up. It was a bit of a bitter blow to my ego. The second thing was that it means that I know have to go on the hunt for a new, young underdog to power through the rounds in the City of Lights. Everyone loves an underdog, and I know Garcia wasn’t going to win the title this year, but I wanted confirmation that her good season so far was going to at least get her to the final eight and cement future Slam potential.
Garcia’s defeat against Vekic came after Garcia had secured the first set in the match. But there was an early hint that she was just feeling too much pressure when she coughed up a mistake in the first set to make it 1-1. There were the two double faults as well. She was visibly frustrated with herself and the aces that Vekic was raining down didn’t help Garcia settle. So now after last season’s disappointment against Ana Ivanovic, I’ll just have to wait another year for her to redeem herself.
So to where can my young starlet / underdog attention switch to? Garbine Muguruza? No, don’t like the draw which she has in front of her. Karolina Pliskova? Certainly done enough to warrant some big attention this season but has looked a little bit below par though after her win in Prague. Nonetheless, I’ll keep her in mind. Vekic herself could fall perfectly into the category which I am looking for, boundless potential, but if Garcia had held composure then she wouldn’t have been in the second round.
No, it will be Kristina Mladenovic to fill in the French-void that Garcia leaves me with. She isn’t in bad form either having run to the final of Strasbourg where she lost the final against Sam Stosur in the three sets recently. Again, am I saying that Mladenovic can win the French Open 2015? No, highly unlikely, but with her first round hammering of 6th seed Eugenie Bouchard, who has become as listless as Agnieszka Radwanska lately, she has big confidence and has set herself up for a very nice run to the quarter finals.
I’m hoping that Mladenovic and Pliskova square off in the fourth round, I really do. That will guarantee that one of my post-Garcia French Open “one’s to watch” will be in the final eight. I could give myself a pat on the back for that. My frustrations would be eased.