The year's final major will kick off in just 3 days. I'm hoping to make a trip down to Flushing Meadows on the 6th of September to see some 3rd round action but watching it on ESPN is just as great. The women's event is wide open this year, like it has been for all of the majors in 2009. Dinara Safina comes in as the top seed, followed by Serena Williams, the defending champion, Venus Williams and Elena Dementieva. The sisters were put on the same side of the draw, making a semifinal matchup a possibility. Jelena Jankovic (5) was drawn to Safina's quarter, Svetlana Kuznetsova (6) to Dementieva's, Victoria Azarenka (8) to Venus', and Vera Zvonareva (7) to Serena's. Dementieva comes into New York on a roll, having easily defeated Serena and Maria Sharapova en route to the title in Toronto. Other big storylines in the big apple include the return of Kim Clijsters, who won the title in NYC in 2005, but retired in 2007. The Belgian impressed tennis fans with her performances in the US Open Series, compiling wins over Marion Bartoli and Azarenka. Carolina Woziacki, Flavia Penetta, Ana Ivanovic and Amelie Mauresmo could make some noise as well.
Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic are the headliners in this section. Safina has a fairly easy road to the quarterfinals, with 16th seeded Virginie Razzano and 19th seeded veteran Patty Schnyder trying to crash the party. Safina could possibly run into big-hitting Alisa Kleybanova in the 3rd round, which could cause problems, but I expect the Russian to conquer her foes. Jankovic and compatriot Ivanovic could meet in the round of 16, but the 11th seeded 2008 French Open champ, who hasn't made it past the 4th round of a major in six tries, will have to battle past Sabine Lisicki, the 23rd seed.
Quarterfinals: Jankovic def. Safina
This quarter is dominated by Russians, with Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova and Maria Sharapova all looking to reach the semis. Sharapova, who won this title in 2006, will look for revenge against Demenieva in the 3rd round, who she lost to in the finals in Toronto. Kuznetsova knows how to play on the hardcourts, having won this title in 2004. Petrova has also had success, reaching the quarterfinals on 2 occasions. Caroline Wozniacki, the 9th seed, hasn't had her breakthrough at a Grand Slam event yet, but she has played great tennis at other tournaments, and could very well cause problems for Kuznetsova, who could play the Dane in the 4th round. Look for Dementieva to keep her hot streak going.
Quarerfinals: Dementieva def. Kuznetsova
Venus Williams has been playing very poorly since he loss in the Wimbledon final, but with a Williams sister, current form is irrelevant. Victoria Azarenka is the second highest seed in this section, and the Belarusian has come very close multiple times to reaching a GS semifinal, but Agnieszka Radwanska, who has expierenced success in New York, could knock Vika out. Kim Clijsters, the ULTIMATE sleeper, could have a blockbuster matchup with Venus Williams in the 4th round, but will have to advance past talents such as Marion Bartoli and Anabel Medina Garrigues before getting the chance to knock out the 7 time GS champion. Michelle Larcher de Brito, the very loud youngster from Portugal, could create trouble for Radwanska and Na Li, but not enough to make a serious run.
Quarterfinals: Williams def. Radwanska
The 4th and final quarter is absolutely loaded, with Serena Williams leading the way, followed by Aussie Open semifinalist Vera Zvonareva, 10th seeded Flavia Pennetta, Roland Garros semifinalist Sam Stosur and 2 time GS champion Amelie Mauresmo. Zvonareva missed much of the middle of the season with injuries, but is a very strong hard court player. Pennetta had impressive showings in the US Open Series, and entered the top 10 for the first time. Mauresmo upset Svetlana Kuznetsova in New Haven, and has proved herself on hard courts, winning the Australian Open in 2006. Serena played poorly in a loss to Dementieva in Toronto, but the younger Williams sister has dominated the Grand Slams in 2009. Although she has never lost in the first round of a major, Williams does have a tricky opening match against American Alexa Glatch.
Quarterfinals: Williams def. Mauresmo
Dementieva def Jankovic
Serena def. Venus
Dementieva def. Serena