from Bud Collins of MSNBC
Collins is expecting another all-Williams final but sees Serena falling to big sister Venus.
FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y., Aug. 30 ó Itís hard to find any faults with someone who has won the last two majors and just breezed past 26th-seeded Nathalie Dechy, 6-1, 6-1, in the third round of the U.S. Open. Serena Williams has played flawlessly in this yearís Open and looks poised to make a run at another major.
THROUGH THREE ROUNDS of the tournament, Serena has lost only eight total games. Thatís an amazing statistic. Coming in, my one concern for her here in New York was that she might be overconfident after winning the French Open and Wimbledon. Obviously that hasnít been a problem.
NO CHINKS IN THE ARMOR
Everything has been working well for Serena. Her serve has been dominant, sheís returning well and her groundstrokes have been solid. Many skeptics felt her inactivity after Wimbledon might become a problem here. The only tournament she played after the Championships was at Los Angeles, where she was upset by Chanda Rubin in the quarterfinals. But people forget that Serena practices with her sister Venus. What better competition is there than that?
ROAD TO FINAL GETS TOUGHER
Serena shouldnít have a problem making the quarterfinals and if she does sheíll face either Justine Henin or Daniela Hantuchova. Henin gave Serena a struggle in Rome earlier this year, and I expect the same would happen here. As for Hantuchova, Serena handled the 19-year-old Slovakian rather easily in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, but Hantuchova keeps getting better and better and canít be overlooked. But Serena gets the edge in either matchup.
Assuming she makes the semifinals, Serena will potentially face Lindsay Davenport. Davenport has been playing very well and she is one of the few players with the power to stay with Serena. But the fourth-seeded American has only played in four tournaments after returning from right knee surgery. So I canít see her being in shape enough to stay with the fleet-footed Serena.
ANOTHER WILLIAMS FINAL?
I know Iím not going out on a limb, but I expect a Serena-Venus final for the third straight major
. The only difference this time is that I think Venus will win
. It would be a great final too, because I think the more and more the sisters play, the more competitive they become with one another as was seen at Wimbledon. They are the only players capable of matching each otherís power and speed and both will be desperate to win.
For Serena, itís important that she wins a third consecutive major and her second Open title. But I think it will mean even more to Venus if she wins her third straight Open and lets her little sister know that sheís not going to roll over for her. Both are playing great and making a prediction is almost like tossing a coin, but I just feel itís Venusí turn
I think it is, once again, time for VENUS to get another slam as well.
However, her last obstacle may be litle sis.