Impressions and Predictions after R3 FO 2009! Add your thoughts...
The early tournament favourites before the FO began were
Dinara Serena Venus Elena Jelena Svetlana Ana
The order of how impressed I have been with these 7 players is:
1. Dinara - Wow. What a tournament she is having. Safina has great ability yet has sometimes lacked concentration in matches and that has cost her. Yet with brimming confidence I cant go past her to be the favourite to win this years FO! (As im writing this she blasts through the second set-only two games or less lost in three matches!)
2. Ana - From what i expected to how she has been playing the gap has been enormous. Quality 3 matches which put her in a good position in the latter rounds. I dont think she can win but you never know.
3. Jelena - Finally looks like she has slimmed down and has gotten her ability to counterpunch EVERYTHING that is thrown at her. She looks to have gained some confidence and her consistency looks to be back. I think she can make the SF's relatively comfortably.
4. Svetlana - I think its fair to say she is the dark-horse to win this year. Certainly has the ability but does she have the mental capacity to move through...well see. Honestly think she can be the bottom half Finalist if she doesnt face Serena in the QF...still can beat Serena yet the match will be interesting.
5. Serena - The girl can fight. Probably the only player in the world to come ino a Slam with shocking form and have the ability to win it still. Showed true fight in the first round. My concern lies whether she may get overdone by playing singles/doubles and the toll the French crowd could be for her. If she makes QF would place her as the favourite against Sveta just because of the mental edge. The winner of that match IMO will be a finalist.
6. Elena - Sorry Elena fans but I NEVER have seen anything spesh about her. True she has good ground strokes but so do other players, her movement is ok but her serve is still not flash. Her beat down by Dokic showed her cracks and her current form isnt to crash hot. That being said wouldnt be surprised if she made QFs but wouldnt be surprised if she didnt.
7. Venus- BLAH!>>>Onward and upwards (Wimbledon)
Other players people talk about are...
Wozniacki - Give her a year or two and she will be a real contender but she needs to work on a major weapon that can threaten the best players. Jelena should take her out in the 4th roud
Azarenka - Clay isnt her best surface, yet as Serena demonstrated it doesnt have to be and you can still win it. Her match against Carla Suraez Navarro will be interesting, if she can win that I think she can challenge Ana yet Carla will be a tough opponent and even if she wins I still think Ana will smack her down.
Sharapova - Great win against Petrova, showed true fight and guts that only a few players on the WTA share with her. Increasing confidence, nothing to lose and a easy draw make Sharapova a real chance of going deep in the tourney. Dont see her losing to Shevdova, or her likely future match ups -LI NA, Szvazy or Cibulkova. The last two players will pressure her through counterpunching and making Sharapova move. Should be interesing.
Momo - Embarrasing.
SO MY PREDICTIONS FOR THE
Safina def Ana
Sharapova def Cibulkova
Jelena def Elena
Svetlana def Serena
Safina def Sharapova
Svetlana def Serena
Safina FO open winner
All in all I think this will be an exciting 2nd week with some potentially awesome match ups!