Hello to all of you and welcome back to my reports! Many of you have posted very nice comments about both articles and especially photos in the past few years so I am more than happy to be back again Mostly because of the time factor, I did not write anything either in the French Open or the Rogers Cup in Toronto, two events I was lucky enough to see in person this year. However, I did take some photos in Toronto and will include some of my good ones in this article as well as in the bottom. They are from the first 4 days as well as the Player's Sunday Gala at the Toronto Hilton Hotel. I am writing this from my hotel room, it is Sunday night, and I have tickets for the first 6 days of the tournament. So I can only hope there will be good weather and good tennis! Every night i will be posting about my daily comments and also posting some photos I will have taken! Always feel free to ask me about other players or more comments or photos, I'll be glad to see what I can do
Now to start off my preview! This year's US Open should be very interesting, is it wide open? Certainly isn't? But something tells me that it could be a time where someone new could emerge, you know the 2005 Maria Sharapova? Maybe not in terms of looks, popularity, etc (although many of the prospects have lots going for them in those aspects) but just through their games. Anna Chakvetadze, Nicole Vaidisova, Sesil Karantantcheva, Ana Ivanovic and so many others could make a big run in this year's US Open!
In this article, I will give a brief review of what I expect from this year's Open as well as just a quick review of matches I expect/hope to see tomorrow (and thus from which you can expect to see photos!).
Maria Sharapova has to be the obvious favourite in this quarter, she is by far the top ranked player, and has been in general solid in grand slams, rarely losing to unknowns. But she has a very very tricky first round as she faces the dangerous Eleni Daniilidou, who is able of pulling off pretty big upsets, certainly some tough luck in that draw considering Maria has not played in a while. I doubt that Alicia Molik will be able to have much of an impact, she has incredible talent and had such a great start to her year... but injuries yet again set her back and her return last week was rather unconvincing... So the only person who could come out of this quarter in my opinion outside of Maria is Dinara Safina... she has a game filled with a lot of great shots, she has everything necessary. Problem is that her movement is simply not good enough to play someone like Sharapova who can handle her power. So I think Dinara could go to the quarters IF she does not face Maria...which will not happen so I'm putting Maria in the quarters
Wide open...that's how I'd say this quarter looks like! Sure, there is the defending champ, who is still hanging in the top 5. But Svetlana Kuznetsova has been everything but convincing for a while now... And Nadia Petrova seemed as well to be destined to so many nice things but is not playing great tennis right now. That leaves me with Nicole Vaidisova, a young talented player who is probably not ready for a big run, but she could do some damage and I'll pick her to cause a surprise and advance to the quarters!
Interesting quarter, there are a few players who've had tough days lately but who can always be somewhat dangerous, Ai Sugiyama and Elena Bovina! And then, the obvious, Kim Clijsters, who is making a very impressive return and who is considered by many one of the big favourites for this event, she could finally get that whole "No slam wins" discussion over with. She could face a challenge by one of the up and coming players, Ana Ivanovic. Ivanovic has a very impressive game, she has charisma, that look, she's got everything! But in many ways, her game still needs to be worked on and against an all-around talent like Kim Clijsters, I don't think Ana will be able to take that extra set...so Kim moves on!
Wow... such an interesting quarter!! I have special interest as Maria Kirilenko is playing there, she has yet to break through and this will probably not be the time as well... But given the fact that both Serena and Venus have not played in so long, this could well be a good draw after all. To be realist, it is hard to imagine someone other than those two come out of the quarter. But Serena was clearly injured while in Toronto and Daniela Hantuchova could provide a big challenge for Venus... In the end, I think Venus will come out on top but it won't be easy and some surprises could happen in this part of the draw!
The other Belgian, Justine Henin-Hardenne is in the 5th quarter, she did display that she was close to being to back to her good self in Toronto and it should be no problem for her to advance. Sure, Gisela Dulko has been playing well and Mary Pierce is always someone to avoid in grand slam events... but Justine has proved time and again that she is tough to beat in such important events...
Amelie, Amelie, Amelie... Like Kim Clijsters, all eyes are always on her in each grand slam, wondering if she can finally take such a title, she has not been able to do so that far, but who knows, she certainly has the game to do so. She has an interesting quarter but no too many challenges. Myskina (if her shaky game takes her to the 4th round) could be a challenge, and hopefully will, but Amelie's variety will make a big difference...
Can you say wide open with me? Can you? This quarter is also very interesting, Elena Dementieva is the top ranked player, she could certainly make it to the quarters, of course her serve is a major part of it. Then there's #29 seed Anna Chakvetadze who is playing very well, she has a lot of points to defend here but it could be an interesting tournament for her! Interestingly enough, Anna will face a young prospect up first, Viktoriya Kutuzova! Shinobu Asagoe could always move slowly through the draw... and then Patty Schnyder still has that tough lefty game with so much spins, she will face a possibly tough Conchita Martinez up first but I think Patty still has a shot... However, I'll go with Anna Chakvetadze to move to the quarters here...
The opposite of wide open would be Lindsay Davenport's situation here... She has a quarter with players such as Nathalie Dechy, Anna Smashnova, Karolina Sprem, Tatiana Golovin... What do all of them have in common? They are all playing poor tennis compared to the same time last year... they all have different and for some valid reasons but that's no problem for Lindsay, she'll roll through this one...
Maria Sharapova def Nicole Vaidisova
Kim Clijsters def Venus Williams
Amelie Mauresmo def Justine Henin-Hardenne
Lindsay Davenport def Anna Chakvetadze
Kim Clijsters def Maria Sharapova
Lindsay Davenport def Amelie Mauresmo