Sunday, August 29, 2010

US Open Women's Predictions

With no Serena Williams, the women's field at this year's US Open is about as wide open as it gets, or is it?

1st Quarter

Caroline Wozniacki comes in as the top seed because of Williams' absence. She has reached just 1 Major final and has been heavily criticized due to her seeding, but the Dane comes in on a roll. Her breakthrough came in the big apple last year, and after dominating the US Open Series, Wozzi looks to be fit for yet another deep run. But she's slipped up many times already in 2010, a year that was supposed to bring her her maiden Grand Slam title. Plus, her section isn't soft.

A possible meating with popular dark-horse Maria Sharapova, nearing pre-shoulder surgery form, looms in the 4th round, and should she battle past the Russian glamazon, seasoned hard-courters Li Na or Svetlana Kuznetsova await in the quarters. Watch out for Kuzzie, who's game looks to be returning to top form.

Early-rounder to watch for: Kuznetsova vs. 40 year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm

Quarterfinals: Kuznetsova def. Sharapova

2nd Quarter
When looking at the draw's 2nd section, no one immediate springs into mind as the clear favorite. Jelena Jankovic is the top seed, but she's no sure bet to make a run. When she's fit and free of excuses, she's one of the game's best, shown at this same tournament two years ago, when she reached the final. Without confidence, though, she's vulnerable to lose to anyone. Vera Zvonareva has kept up her game from Wimbledon, where she reached the finals, and Radwanska, Petrova and Wickmayer all love the hard-courts.

This quarter is deep in talent, but low in confidence, which could be just the recipe for a sleeper like Andrea Petkovic to shine. The German has a tricky start against Petrova, but has the ability to knock off the other women standing in her way, like Zvonareva and Radwanska. Look for the youngster to make a big run, but fall short against a certain Serb.

Early rounder to watch for: Sabine Lisicki vs. Coco Vandeweghe

Quarterfinals: Jankovic def. Petkovic

3rd Quarter
Venus Williams should have an easy time sailing through the 3rd quarter, where she sits, seeded 3rd. Francesca Schiavone is the next highest seed, but she doesn't seem to be too inspired after winning the French Open, and will probably bow out in the early rounds on a surface that hasn't always brought her the best results. Victoria Azarenka, though, could give Venus some trouble. The Belarusian has been a popular pick to go far, and even win this year's Open, but it's been more than 2 years since the elder Williams triumphed at a slam, and with her sister gone, there are no excuses this time. Azarenka has had a great summer, but I'm not convinced she's ready to go a full 2 weeks without a mental breakdown of some sort.

Shahar Peer and Flavia Pennetta are two clean hitters that could provide some bumps for the section's top seeds, but they lack the consistency and mental toughness to capitalize on their talents. Anaztasia Pavlyuchenkopva is also primed for a breakthrough, but an early run-in with Azarenka could put an end to her hopes.

Early-rounder to watch for: Pennetta vs. Agnes Szavay

Quarterfinals: Williams def. Azarenka

4th Quarter
The 4th quarter looks to be the toughest quarter, and 2nd seeded Kim Clijsters will have her hands full trying to defend her US Open title. The Belgian played beautifully in winning the title in Cincinnati before suffering a heel injury that kept her out of the rest of the US Open Series. Sam Stosur, 5th seed, was the tour's top player in the first half of the year, but since her runner-up appearance in Paris, the Aussie has looked all kinds of shaky, and isn't in a position to make noise in NYC, especially on a surface that doesn't benefit her lethal kick-serve. A 3rd round encounter with a powerful Russian seeded 28th, Alisa Kleybanova, could send Stosur packing.

Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina and Ana Ivanovic have all been around the game a while, and despite having fallen far from the top of the rankings, are all capable of putting together a run. Each has reached multiple Major finals, but are lacking in confidence and have had dismal 2010 seasons. Clijsters is the safe pick, and most likely the right one.

Early-rounder to watch for: Daniela Hantuchova vs. Safina

Quarterfinals: Clijsters def. Dementieva

Semifinals: Jankovic def. Kuznetsova, Clijsters def. V. Williams

Finals: Clijsters def. Jankovic

Champion: Kim Clijsters

No comments: