Friday, May 4, 2012

How will Sara Errani stack up against the elite?

This has been a dream season so far for Italian Sara Errani: She made the quarterfinals at the Australian Open early in the season and has just reached her third final of the year on clay, this time in Budapest.

She's actually on a 14-match winning streak in '12 on the dirt and doesn't seemed to be having too many problems against the opponents she's come across. She blitzed through the field at her last event in Barcelona. If she wins this title, you'd have to consider her among the favorites at the French Open in a few weeks.

Or would you?

She's knocking off top-25 talent at these tournaments, but what happens when she faces Agnieszka Radwanska or Samantha Stosur? Or even Maria Sharapova, who has already won one of the biggest clay-court events so far this season in Stuttgart?

I actually think Errani will do OK. Granted, she's not beating current members of the top 10 right now, but winning usually begets winning. If she heads into the later rounds in Madrid or Rome on that huge streak, it'll take a big effort to beat her. Errani's ranking isn't likely to make it to the top 15 come French time, but she'd definitely be a dangerous matchup for someone like Caroline Wozniacki early on if they were to play. And I'd take Errani in a match against a good number of the top 32.

She may not have the elite status yet, but it looks like it's coming for Errani--perhaps even post-French Open.

(Photo: The Associated Press)

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