Hantuchova's the more accomplished player. She's faster and has more shots. Conchi showed two weeks ago how vulnerable Alex is to finesse/junkball tennis, which Dani has all the tools to play. So why am I picking Alex to win?
Dani has a weakness. She likes to prove she can hit just as hard as the biggest hitters. If you start hitting really hard at her, she ALWAYS hits hard back. Well almost always. AND she stays on the baseline, turning herself from an all court player to Jelena-Dokic-with-a-bigger-serve. Look at her matches vs the real big hitters. Venus, Serena, Monica, Lindsay, Jenn, even Kim. It's like 0-10. But she can handle Mauresmo, Henin, Dokic. With them, she SEES how all court tennis will win. Against a big hitter, she unfailingly retreats to the baseline.
Well, if Alex comes out hitting big and isn't making a lot of errors, what do you figure Dani will do?
I'm not making this up. Look at her semi at New Haven vs Venus, or match vs Serena this summer. I know people here have those on tape. You'll see it. She parks on the baseline and just stays home. Serena doesn't make approaching easy, of course, (Notice that it's veteran players who manage it against her. Maleeva, Rubin, Schnyder.) but she spent a lot of time on the baseline vs Monica at Roland Garros.
If Alex gets Dani in a baseline macha
-fest, then Alex will win. If anything involving drop shots and slices and volleys and lobs happens with any frequency, then they're playing Alex's serve-and-volley vs Dani's all court game, a match Dani should win handily.
Trouble is, I can point to match after match whee Dani HAD to know she couldn't win from the baseline, and knew she played better if she advanced, but she stayed on the baseline.
02 Roland Garros 16 SELES 6-4 7-5
02 Wimbledon QF S.WILLIAMS 6-3 6-2
02 New Haven SF V.WILLIAMS 6-3 6-3
02 U.S. Open QF S.WILLIAMS 6-2 6-2
Tell the truth. Weren't you yelling at the screen during the USOpen, telling her to get off the baseline? I was, and I was rooting for Serena. It's just frustrating to see Dani fail to take advantage of her skills teim after time.