Wertheim Picks Justine to Win AO Over Kim, Masha, Nicole in SF - TennisForum.com

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post #1 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow Wertheim Picks Justine to Win AO Over Kim, Masha, Nicole in SF

Australian Open women's seed reportJon Wertheim, SI.com


Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's and women's seeds at the Australian Open. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses to keep an eye on and his predicted winners.

It's hard to recall a major so ravaged by injuries. If you ever needed proof that tennis injuries have officially reached crisis proportion, note the All-Star team of players who won't be in Melbourne. And be assured, there are more to come. Before the game cannibalizes itself, will someone -- anyone! -- address this in a meaningful way?

Depleted cast and all, the show will go on. Inasmuch as anyone can withstand seven matches in two weeks, here is our 2006 Australian Open seed report:

Top 16 seeds


1. Lindsay Davenport: It's hard to recall the last time Davenport wasn't in position to win a non-clay Slam. But something has always held her back, be it injury, attitude or a red-hot opponent. If there's karmic justice, Davenport deserves her fourth Slam. Can she finally break through? If she beats Justine Henin-Hardenne, we say yes.

2. Kim Clijsters: She's no longer Aussie Kim, Mrs. Hewitt-to-be, but Clijsters will have the crowd's affection as she tries to win back-to-back majors. After the '05 U.S. Open, surely she believes she has what it takes to thrash the field. On the other hand, especially for a player whose success is predicated on motion, we worry about the hip injury.

3. Amelie Mauresmo: Yes, we know the expression 36 times bitten, 37 times shy. But suddenly Mauresmo inspires optimism. It wasn't just that she won the '05 WTA Championships -- it was her (uncharacteristic) measured, poised performance. Plus, at the Slam, with the fewest klieg lights, she is least likely to choke. Right? Maybe?

4. Maria Sharapova: Returns to see the scene of the crime, the site of her crushing loss to Serena Williams. Sharapova has the will and the ambition to win; the question is always whether her body -- her chest muscle in particular -- and unimaginative game will cooperate.

5. Mary Pierce: Can Pierce -- one of the better stories of '05 -- keep it up in '06? The Melbourne winner 11 (gulp) years ago, she went light on this season's tune-ups, so it's hard to gauge the state of her game and physical health. She has the benefit of an unimposing draw. Possible third-rounder against Martina Hingis will be must-see TV.

6. Nadia Petrova: Now that she finally won a title, look out.

7. Patty Schnyder: Same old, same old. Temperamental Swiss lefty is fun to watch and always dangerous (plus she's had success in Australia). On the other hand, one wonders if she has the mental acuity to win the big prizes. She lost early in the Sydney tune-up.

8. Justine Henin-Hardenne: Hard to believe it was just last June that JH-H was the most feared player in women's tennis. Her complete and adaptable game always make her a force. Injuries and ailments got the better of her last summer and fall, but she looked sharp in tune-ups. It says here that the winner of her likely quarterfinal with Davenport is the de facto final.

9. Elena Dementieva: It always seems that Dementieva's dead duck of a serve doesn't beset her as much as it should. Once the rally begins, she can slug (and retrieve) with the best of them. Third rounder against Jelena Jankovic is intriguing.

10. Venus Williams: VW gave us that breathtaking Wimbledon and then -- poof -- vanished. Her lack of match play and the latest injury to her shopworn body are hardly encouraging. But then again, you could have said the same thing before last summer's Wimbledon.

11. Natalie Dechy: She had Davenport on the ropes last season and couldn't finish the job. Has made a living (and a nice one at that) at being a perfectly respectable opponent who lives up to her seeding and then capitulates to the bigger names. Look for more of the same Down Under.*

* In keeping with Tennis Writing by-law XI(a)(ii), that will constitute our sole use of "Down Under" for this column.

12. Anastasia Myskina: As her mother regained her health, Myskina's game improved. And she has to be motivated by Hingis' essentially crowing, "When I saw a marginal player like Myskina win a major, it inspired me to return." But Anastasia has never done particularly well in Melbourne and, inauspiciously, only played doubles in lat week's tune-up.

13. Serena Williams: Since her heroic '05 run in Melbourne, she has been a cipher, a non-factor who breaks down both emotionally and physically. The comprehensive tune-up loss to Dementieva is inauspicious, but no player can turn it on and off quite like the Williams sisters.

14. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Hard to believe a quality athlete with a versatile game could allow herself to sink this low. The '04 U.S. Open champ is desperate for a strong Slam. Her play early this year has been encouraging.

15. Francesca Schiavone: Flashy Italienne is coming off a breakthrough year, but she still hasn't won a title.

16. Nicole Vaidisova: Following the Sharapova blueprint, it's time Vaidisova abdicated her throne as queen of the Tier III's and entered the big-time. Will this be her '04 Wimbledon? I wouldn't bet against it.

Seeds 17-32

17. Daniela Hantuchova: This train has never gotten completely back on the tracks. And perhaps it never will. But there's still a lot of potential waiting to be unlocked.

19. Dinara Safina: Marat's little sister has been quietly making a name for herself of late.

21. Ana Ivanovic: A top-10er by year's end, she has already beaten Mauresmo in '06.

22. Anna-Lena Groenefeld: Wish she were coming in with more momentum, but her serve alone ought to be good for a few rounds.

27. Marion Bartoli: Cerebral Frenchwoman comes in playing well. Tough opener, though, against Amy Frazier.

32. Sania Mirza: Indian sensation has improved ranking by more than 200 spots since last year.

Dark-horse nation

Martina Hingis: Enough said.

Karolina Sprem: Her game might have holes, but she's too heavy a ball-striker to be ranked too modestly.

Amy Frazier: Ageless American veteran still a difficult opponent for most players.

Vik Kutusova: The best player you've never heard of.

Lucie Safarova: Talented teen has already won a title in '06.

Iveta Benesova: Because reader Todd E. implored us to pick her.

Michaela Krajicek: Lots of untapped talent.

First-round matchups to watch

Evgenia Linetskaya vs. Maria Kirlienko: Two of the better young Russians.

Lisa Raymond vs. Elena Likhovtseva: Two vets, both former quarterfinalists.

Patty Schnyder vs. Eleni Daniilidou: Beware of Greeks in Melbourne.

Hingis vs. Vera Zvonareva: Tough first-rounder for each.

Doubles Winner

Raymond and Samantha Stosur: They won their last Major, plus we still have questions about the collective health of Virginia Ruano Pascual/Paola Suarez.

Semifinals

Henin-Hardenne vs. Sharapova

Vaidisova vs. Clijsters

Finals

Henin-Hardenne vs. Clijsters

Winner

Henin-Hardenne
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post #2 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:26 PM
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Vaidisova in the semis? Fuck off.

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post #3 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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Wertheim couldn't find his ass with both hands.

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post #4 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:32 PM
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Oh my god. I like his articles but he's practically obsessed with Vaidisova.

dementieva + sharapova + bartoli + chakvetadze
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post #5 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:34 PM
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I'm not sure any of those four will make the semifinals.


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post #6 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:39 PM
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vaidisova in the semis eh.....bold could also be very stupid...

but i predicted justine a few days ago as well

I'm not young enough to know everything.
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post #7 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:42 PM
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F*r)_#))ig J*#*#

"I told her, `You don't want to get into a hitting battle with Sharapova, because it would be uneven for Sharapova, because Sharapova only has one good side and that's her backhand,"'. "`You don't want to get into that for the simple reason you would win. So try to hit some balls to her strong side, to her backhand, and that would help you with your match for tomorrow

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post #8 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:43 PM
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OMG I hope he just didn't give Justine the death-kiss

Allez.
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post #9 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:48 PM
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Didn't he make the same prediction for Wimbie 2005? OMG (scared)
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post #10 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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Im just wondering, out of the blue, but is this column the ONLY thing his job entails??? because if it is, that is a pretty damn cushy job...he barely works half of the year, he gets to travel to all the grand slams, and he doesnt even have to come up with a scoop, he just answers e-mails most of the time...

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post #11 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allez-H²
OMG I hope he just didn't give Justine the death-kiss
C'mon, last year he picked correctly Serena, Justine & Kim.

Pretty Ok.

~ JUSTINE ~

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post #12 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huh?
Im just wondering, out of the blue, but is this column the ONLY thing his job entails??? because if it is, that is a pretty damn cushy job...he barely works half of the year, he gets to travel to all the grand slams, and he doesnt even have to come up with a scoop, he just answers e-mails most of the time...
I think he covers basketball too but now sure
Some people get to have cushy jobs
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post #13 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 04:55 PM
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Vaidisova in the semis is a very bold prediction.

Ever since seeing Vaidisova for the first time in Toronto last summer, she won me over as a fan with her game. She's got huge potential, but she is nowhere near ready for that kind of run at a major. Not yet. Give the girl some time.
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post #14 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady
C'mon, last year he picked correctly Serena, Justine & Kim.

Pretty Ok.
shhhhhhhh Lady I'm trying to put Justine in the underdog-position

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post #15 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 2006, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Slam
Vaidisova in the semis? Fuck off.
ditto

Maria Sharapova
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