Hello everyone! As in previous years, I will be at the Open this year (first six days probably), so I will be posting my daily reports in this thread! To start it off I wrote a little preview
All of it will also of course be posted on Tennisrulz.com
US Open Preview
By Pierre Cantin
Hello to all of you!
As it is my custom as this time of the year, I will be heading towards New York City to attend the 2003 US Open!
This time, I have tickets for Monday through Thursday and Saturday (Friday is also a possibility) so I should be seing a good amount of tennis! I will of course be posting here on Tennisrulz as well as on Wtaworld myt daily reports and impressions of the matches I see, players I talk to, etc! I am as excited as ever about this tournament, my favourite one out of those I had the pelasure of seeing! Since I am leaving in a few hours, I will write a little about what I expect from the Open, what I think or hope will happen as well as the matches I intend to see. I will also be taking a few hundred photos although I have not turned digital yet so they will not appear on Tennisrulz for a while (hopefully not too long!).
Ok, so I will first dive the draw in 8 sections
Kim Clijsters, the #1 seed and player in the world will have a fair amount of pressure on her in the next two weeks. Already, it seems that the media and some fans have been questionning her #1 ranking, is it deserved? I personally do think she deserves that spot, she has the most titles this year and has been the most consistent. Would Serena be #1 if she was not injured? Yes, probably but we can do a lot of speculation by saying if! So anyway, Kim should not have any problems getting through her first two matches but third and fourth rounds possibly against Kuznetsova and Zvonareva certainly mean she will need to be near the top of her game early! Also in this section is a matchup between two of the young talents in the game, Ashley Harkleroad and Vera Douchevina. While Douchevina is the unknown and lower ranked of the two, she has been doing wonders on the junior circuit and successfully qualified for the main draw thanks to improved play. Add to that the fact that Ashley Harkleroad has been injured since Wimbledon and played only once since, losing her opening match this week in New Haven. I really do hope both can offer a good show and I'll probably be there to see the match! Vera Zvonareva, one of the most unstable players on the tour is capable of the best and the worse so although she probably is the most likely in this section to challenge Kim, I'm not fully convinced she will be able to play enough solid matches to get there!
Kim Clijsters (1) def Vera Zvonareva (13)
This is certainly a very interesting section! The top seed here Amelie Mauresmo has been struggling with injuries for... well in fact it seems like since forever! But she does usually come up better in such big events and I think she might be able to pull up her level even though she clearly lacks the preparation. The other seed, Daniela Hantuchova, is clearly one of the saddest stories so far in 2003. Her confidence level is going down quickly and although she is still in the top 10, her tennis is not anything close right now. And in her first match, she will face Marion Bartoli, a young talented player who has defeated a few good players in New York and who with her agressive service return is dangerous for players who are not in full confidence. Although I do hope Daniela can get things back in order, I don't get the impression she'll be able to on this occasion. Two young Russians will also get much attention on my part. First Maria Kirilenko, the 16 year-old who qualified for her first ever main draw in a grand slam. She does not have the game yet to go very far I think (I'll be happy if she surprises me) but count on me to go cheer for her, and look for one of the up and coming players on the tour. The other one, Lina Krasnoroutskaya, is capable of very big performances as she proved in Toronto last week, I do think she could offer a good challenge to Mauresmo and cause a surprise here!
Lina Krasnoroutskaya (26) def Marion Bartoli
With Lindsay Davenport in shaky shape right now, this section would be wide open provided that Lindsay withdrew. I do hope Lindsay can in some way get things better and at least be able to win a few matches to be able to rest in between...Other than that, Nadia Petrova, the #19 seed has not been playing her best tennis lately but she does have an ok draw and could do well here! I will also probably go see Daja Bedanova, one of my favourite players, who like many others has been on the downward confidence track this year and desperatly needs some positive to build on!
Nadia Petrova (19) def Lindsay Davenport (3)
I have been told quite a few times that Chanda Rubin is the most under-estimated player on the tour and unfortunately never had a chance to see her play enough to actually pass a judgment on that. Her high ranking and a few big wins in the past months would lead me to agree with that opinion but this year's US Open might be a good occasion for her to really get some recognition because she does have a good draw and especially when you consider that Lindsay Davenport is far from her best right now. I do think Chanda might be able to a bit farther than her previous attempts this year if she is able to consistent
Chanda Rubin (8) def Conchita Martinez (12)
In my opinion, this is the strongest part of the draw. I do think #6 seed Jennifer Capriati is in a very good position to perform very well here, with little attention on her and a confidence builder in winning her tournament in New Haven. But she does have a very interesting road. In her third round, she could meet 16 year-old Russian sensation Maria Sharapova. Masha, surely one of the next stars on the tour is still capable of poor performances like any girl of her age. But at her best, she has showed great signs! Then, if Capriati gets there, she could meet Elena Dementieva who is playing outstanding tennis right now. Elena's serve is a problem but other than that she has been hitting the ball with power and depth and certainly is someone to look out for.
Jennifer Capriati (6) def Elena Dementieva (11)
Some sections could be weak given some new players announcing they would withdraw but this section, marked by the absence of Venus Williams is without a doubt the most open. Other than Ai Sugiyama, the two top seeds, Silvia Farina-Elia and Francesca Schiavone are now known for their hard-court abilities and I don't really see who could get out of this section. Klara Koukalova has been playing good tennis, Srebotnik posted some good wins, Schiavone is also dangerous...
Ai Sugiyama (15) def Katerina Srebotnik (33)
Well this section counts on two players that I like very much, Anastasia Myskina and Jelena Dokic. Both, although Jelena even more, have had some tough years and are looking this as a final opportunity to start a good end of year and hopefully end things in a good way. Myskina has quite an easy road ahead of her while Dokic would have to beat perhaps Pierce and Maleeva in rounds #2 and #3, wins she "should" get in normal circumstances but given her low confidence level, it will not be something easy to do. I really do hope that both do well here although I fear one of them will not make it to the fourth round...let's ohpe I'm wrong!
Anastasia Myskina (7) def Magdalena Maleeva (10)
This section, will probably not be much of a problem for Justine Henin-Hardenne with her high confidence level and perception that she should win every match she enters. But there are many players that should be interesting to look for here, namely, Safina, Gullickson, Benesova
Justine Henin-Hardenne (2) def Anna Pistolesi (21)
Kim Clijsters (1) def Lina Krasnoroutskaya (26)
Chanda Rubin (8) def Nadia Petrova (19)
Jennifer Capriati (6) def Ai Sugiyama (15)
Justine Henin-Hardenne (2) def Anastasia Myskina (7)
Kim Clijsters (1) def Chanda Rubin (8)
Jennifer Capriati (6) def Justine Henin-Hardenne (2)
Kim Clijsters (1) def Jennifer Capriati (6)
So I guess I will be wrong on most predictions but what I will not be wrong about is how much fun this will be
So that's all for now, I'll post my Day 1 report Monday evening