US Open Preview: The Women

Written By: achangeofends - Aug• 27•10

Alright, so after spending an hour or two fighting with my new printer and watching several hours of ESPN2’s coverage of the Pilot Pen tournament, I have finally come up with my draw for both the men and the women at the US Open. I know, I’m previewing the women’s draw. I’m sure you’re all shocked. What did I learned from scouring the draw? There are an awful lot of names that I neither recognize nor am able to pronounce. However, I am working on this. Currently, I’m watching the Wozniacki/Dementieva semifinal from New Haven on TV. Don’t worry, I can actually recognize both of these ladies. On a side note, I have to say that Caroline worries me a bit. I’m not sure she should have played New Haven this week. It gives her very little time to prep for the USO and she’s had a lot of medical treatment for her back. She may have clinched the US Open Series, but was that worth sacrificing the title in New York?

You’re probably not wondering about my method, but I’m going to tell you anyway. I sat down with a paper copy of both the men’s and women’s draw (sans qualifiers!) and filled in every single slot. Some of my picks are based on obvious gaps in talent, some are hunches, and some are pure wishing. I got a little help from the head to head feature on the WTA website, but that can only tell you so much. If you were dedicated enough to read this far, here is your reward: my picks for the 2010 US Open (women’s side.)

First Quarter:

Seeded Players: Caroline Wozniacki (1), Lucie Safarova (26), Aravane Rezai (18), Maria Sharapova (14), Svetlana Kuznetsova (11), Maria Kirilenko (23), Yaroslava Shvedova (30), and Li Na (8).

Poor Caroline Wozniacki has gotten a lot of flack for being the number 1 seed at this year’s US Open. It’s not her fault that Serena withdrew and it’s not her fault that she’s number 2 in the world. The points don’t lie. She’s won enough matches to be number 2 in the world, plus she’s only 20. She won her first Masters Series title in Montreal last week and has won this year’s US Open Series. She also comes in to the Open as last year’s runner up. To put it lightly, she’s no slouch. However, she did end up with a fairly unfortunate draw. Should they both make it, Caroline will face Maria Sharapova (a former USO champ) in the round of 16. Like I mentioned, I think she’s played a lot of tennis and may have tired herself out. By the time she makes it to Sharapova, she’ll likely be exhausted. Sharapova has been in good form recently and should prevail. I believe she’ll most likely face Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals. Both Sharapova and Kuznetsova have won the US Open before and Kuznetsova won a title this summer, which Sharapova did not. However, Sharapova is a USO favorite and thrives under the lights. Her serve is way more consistent than last year when she lost to Melanie Oudin. Plus, she’ll want as many opportunities as possible to show off her new dresses.

Semi Finalist: Maria Sharapova

Possible Sleeper: Anna Chakvetadze

Best First Round Match: Maria Sharapova vs. Jarmila Groth

Second Quarter:

Seeded Players: Jelena Jankovic (4), Kaia Kanepi (31), Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (22), Yanina Wickmayer (15), Agnieszka Radwanska (9), Nadia Petrova (17), Alexandra Dulgheru (25), Vera Zvonareva (7)

The second quarter doesn’t quite have a stand out for me. Jelena Jankovic generally puts on a good show and makes it deep into the second week (my guess is she’ll bow out in the quarters,) but for someone who has been world number 1 (she’s currently 5,) she can never seem to convert. If there were any year to have a break through performance, it would be this one. Serena Williams is out of the US Open! She’s far and away the best female tennis player in the world, so her absence opens up the field quite nicely. Jelena hasn’t got a particularly difficult section of the draw. I think Kaia Kanepi had her run at Wimbledon and it’s now over. Yanina Wickmayer made the US Open semi finals last year, but I don’t think she’ll be able to repeat. I’m not entirely sure who Alexandra Dulgheru is. I’m mildly kidding here, but really who is she? The only real threat to Jelena Jankovic in this section is Vera Zvonareva. Vera has mostly been known as a bit of a head case in her time in tennis, but at the moment, she’s doing something right. She made it to the Wimbledon final in both singles and doubles. She may have lost both, but in my book losing to Serena (in the singles) is no big deal. It happens to everyone. This time Serena isn’t there to impede her progress. I think Vera’s got enough game to take out Jelena in the quarter finals and I peg her as this year’s semi finalist.

Semi Finalist: Vera Zvonareva

Possible Sleeper: Andrea Petkovic

Best First Round Match: Nadia Petrova vs. Andrea Petkovic

Semi Final: Maria Sharapova d. Vera Zvonareva

Third Quarter:

Seeded Players: Francesca Schiavone (6), Alona Bondarenko (29), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (20), Victoria Azarenka (10), Shahar Peer (16), Flavia Pennetta (19), Tsvetana Pironkova (32), Venus Williams (3)

So there’s a Williams sister in this section. That means she should be the semi finalist, right? Wrong. Venus is now 30 years old. She hasn’t won a Slam in 2 years and she is coming into the US Open with some knee injury that kept her from playing the entire summer. If she has a chance at another Slam before retirement, it’s Wimbledon. I think her US Open days are over. Interestingly, she’ll get her chance to avenge her weird loss at Wimbledon 2010. If all goes accordingly, Venus will play Tsvetana Pironkova in the 3rd round. I don’t think Williams will let Pironkova shock her again. Francesca Schiavone is the next highest seed in this section. I’m not even sure why people are talking about her as a contender. I know she won the French Open and that was a lovely story. But she’s 29 years old and until May has never proven to be all that good. I think she’ll lose early on and eventually we’ll stop talking about her again. So I don’t think Williams or Schiavone is in contention. My pick for section number 3 is Victoria Azarenka. She has had a wonderful summer and proven herself to be a consistent player with a big game. Several experts have chosen Vika as the champion, but I think they’re getting a bit ahead of themselves. She will make the semis though.

Semi Finalist: Victoria Azarenka

Possible Sleeper: Agnes Szavay

Best First Round Match: Alona Bondarenko vs. Vera Dushevina

Fourth Quarter:

Seeded Players: Samantha Stosur (5), Alisa Kleybanova (28), Daniela Hantuchova (24), Elena Dementieva (12), Marion Bartoli (13), Zheng Jie (21), Petra Kvitova (27), Kim Clijsters (2)

Alright, Kim Clijsters is the reigning US Open champion. She defeated Serena Williams in the semi finals last year, a match that included the infamous battle between Serena and the linesman. Kim’s comeback has been pretty impressive and her best performance has always come at the US Open. At the moment, she’s dealing with a slight hip injury. We’re not sure how serious it is because she hasn’t gotten a scan yet. Kim said regardless of what was going on with her hip, there was no way she would miss the USO so it didn’t matter. The fact that she thinks she’s got a shot at defending her title makes me believe that the injury isn’t that serious. She’s also got a pretty good section of the draw. I think she’ll probably get Marion Bartoli in the 4th round. I’m not sure why, but I really like Marion Bartoli and would love to see her make a play here, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Samantha Stosur would normally be a big factor, but her game is much better suited to slow courts and she’s dealing with an ongoing arm injury. I think Kleybanova may end Sam’s USO dreams in the 3rd round. Dementieva’s always dangerous and she’s a former USO finalist, but she’s not a great closer. We saw that in tonight’s New Have semi final. I’m going out on a limb here and saying Kleybanova will make the quarters. It’s a hunch, but you never know. Clijsters will be the semi finalist. Also of note, this quarter includes former world number 1 and 2008 Roland Garros champion Ana Ivanovic. It’s been a long road from number 1 for Ivanovic. Something completely inexplicable happened after her Grand Slam win and her ranking seems to drop further every week. However, there have been some signs of hope for Ana this summer and I would love love love to see her put in a good performance here, but the foot injury she suffered in Cincinnati scares me a little. We’ll see.

Semi Finalist: Kim Clijsters

Possible Sleeper: Ana Ivanovic

Best First Round Match: Daniela Hantuchova vs. Dinara Safina

Semi Final: Kim Clijsters d. Victoria Azarenka

Final: Maria Sharapova d. Kim Clijsters

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