Hello everyone and welcome to my first 2004 US Open report! Many of you have probably read my reports in the past years and once again I am lucky enough to be able to go to the Open this year. I am plan on going to the first six days of the tournament and will write here about my impressions on some matches, practices, I'll also be posting some photos that I'll have taken, so hopefully you will enjoy the ride. As I have said, out of the various tourmaments I have seen in my life, the US Open is clearly my favourite for so many reasons!
As I am about to leave towards New York, this first article will be a tournament preview giving impressions on the players involved, those I want to see (expect photos of those) as well what I expect from the upcoming 2 weeks. I will not talk about the ATP today though, but will be seeing some matches and reporting about them here.
Ok, so I will start by going quarter by quarter
First Quarter: After seeing the Olympic games, we have to respect Justine's preparation, she came back in a very impressive way and I think she'll do very well in this tournament. Two matches against qualifiers to start off her tournament will certainly help her take it a little easier and save herself for the second week. I will for sure try to go see the first round match between Maria Kirilenko and Elena Likhovtseva. I like Maria a lot, like her game, but I did see Elena play in Montreal against players like Myskina and she was playing very smart tennis, very patient. It should be a good test for Maria. Although, to her advantage, she is fairly consistent and patient. She will have a lot of points to defend though in this tournament, hopefully she can live well with the extra pressure. The bottom part of this quarter is pretty weak, even Nadia Petrova, who has been playing average tennis (compared to past results) in 2004 should be able to move on fairly easily, but I don't think she'll be able to do much damage against Justine...
Prediction: Justine def Nadia Petrova 6-4, 6-2
Second Quarter: This section has a few more floaters in my opinion. Kuznetsova and Sharapova have been good and bad in 2004, really depends on when, they haven't been consistent enough to think this will be easy. But usually, both are able to pick up their games in bigger tournaments. Amy Frazier is a tricky player as well, a third round against Svetlana could prove tricky as Amy has been able to cause a few upsets in 2004... The first round match between Mary Pierce and Emilie Loit should be a good one in my opinion (provided Loit is in good physical shape). Pierce has been playing much improved tennis but she has a risky ball and a first round opponent like Emilie Loit will certainly be an interesting test. If ever Loit advances, she will certainly be someone Maria would not like to face..I saw their match in New York last year and it was so sad to watch, she didn't really know what to do against such a consistent, high percentage shot player. Sure, Maria has improved and learned a lot in 2004, but she is still vulnerable to upsets such as these until she learns how to use more variety against players with such a style...
Prediction: Maria Sharapova def Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Third Quarter: Well, no draw is easy but...Anastasia Myskina must be able to smile a little when she looks at her draw. A third round against Daniilidou could be tough but I don't really expect Daniilidou to make it there...On the other side, Paola Suarez has been very good in 2004, using her experience very well, I don't really see what could stop her from a third round match against Anastasia...but still she'd have no chance...
Fourth Quarter: Wow... 4 players to watch out for here. Elena Bovina, who has played solid in New Haven this week, could meet the red-hot Lindsay Davenport in the third round, while although unlikely, a matchup between Venus Williams and Mashona Washington could draw lots of interest. And without a doubt, no fourth round could challenge a match between Venus and Lindsay! Some say Lindsay peaked too soon, I think Lindsay knows all too well what she is doing and will make a solid run here!
Prediction: Lindsay Davenport def Venus Williams 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Fifth Quarter: Is this the time? No one can doubt Karolina Sprem's huge potential, she has a tough tricky draw here, I will certainly be watching her as much as possible. She has a possible third round encounter against Sugiyama (first round vs Kostanic is not a given either), she defeated Sugiyama in Montreal but lost in the Olympics, hopefully she learned from that loss and will take revenge here, she could then face Jennifer Capriati, which would be a good matchup for her since Capriati would be the heavy favourite. By who? Well pretty much everyone who just knows Jennifer's name and has no idea who K-Lina is. But we know better, Capriati could pull it off but she has been playing poorly in 2004 and I can't imagine her confidence level being very high (although she does always pick things up in New York).
Prediction: Karolina Sprem def Jennifer Capriati 7-6, 7-5
Sixth Quarter: Serena...will she playing, or won't she? She certainly has some interesting prospects in her quarter with Benesova (very interesting player, been solid this week although is not a challenger for 2nd week action in New York), Hantuchova (been improving steadily for a few months now both in terms of her game and her confidence), Schnyder (always tricky), Golovin (solid game, has improved a lot, but I question her belief in winning against top players) and Alicia Molik who has been on fire lately...
Prediction: Serena Williams def Alicia Molik 6-4, 6-2
Seventh Quarter: Hmmm well lots of questions here... Who is Elena Dementieva? The girl who made it to the French Open final with solid ground shots that compensated well for her serve? Or is she the ever-growing shaky Russian who's serve has taken her down the spiral (where Hantuchova has been and Dokic still is)... who knows right? But losing 6-1, 6-1 to Bovina today in New Haven has to be some kind of sign right? I think Dechy is a contender, I would really really like to see Jelena Dokic get things back in hand although to be honest to myself, I have to consider that more something I hope for than something I think will happen. But out of them, I think the best player is Vera Zvonareva, she impressed me very much in Montreal and seems on the verge of something great. She is capable of controlled agression and while her emotions still get in the way, it's nothing like it was a few years ago..
Prediction: Vera Zvonareva def Nathalie Dechy 6-4, 6-4
Eight Quarter: Amelie... she is capable of such great things, and such disapointments. Although she did prove in Wimbledon that maybe fluking was only a thing that happened in Paris, we still have to consider her an outsider to really win this title. However, no problems really in her first few matches, I don't think anyone can actually even test her...
Justine Henin-Hardenne def Maria Sharapova
Lindsay Davenport def Anastasia Myskina
Karolina Sprem def Serena Williams
Vera Zvonareva def Amelie Mauresmo
Hmmm a few things... I don't think Maria just hitting hard will be enough against Justine, this would be a great match though, two great fighters, I'd probably be pulling for Maria but I don't really see her game good enough right now to beat the world #1.
Lindsay has been playing awesome and her easy win against Anastasia this summer would certainly give her some kind of edge. Also, the way Lindsay is playing right now, Anastasia does not have much to hurt her, Lindsay has the advantage of having a big serve and a powerful return game...
What a match this would be, a revenge of the Venus-Karolina match.. I don't think Serena has played enough to be able to hit with consistency and power the way she would need to. Plus, Karolina is a great fighter and she'd be very pumped up for this match.
Tough one for me to call, I saw them play in Montreal, Vera should have won the first set, she was dominating, playing well, dictating, etc. But then something went wrong and Vera just lost it, I have confidence this time she'd keep her composure and win it, she does need to win the opening set though...
Justine Henin-Hardenne def Lindsay Davenport
Vera Zvonareva def Karolina Sprem
Tough call, I think this would be a huge battle and although Justine was injured for such a long time, I think her hard work for months and the fact Lindsay played so much would come into play, Justine has always been good because mentally, I don't think anyone is better right now, she never thinks she can lost.. coming back from 1-5 in Athens against Myskina was one example, but just one of many... Lindsay can get down on herself and I think she'll have trouble accepting this loss...
Vera...I think at this point she would realise what a huge opportunity she has in this tournament and while Karolina is a great player, she still has some weaknesses that a player like Vera, if well coached (she'd have a day off to prepare for this one), could take advantage of.
Vera Zvonareva def Justine Henin-Hardenne!!!
Tough one, I guess most people will laugh off this one, but I think if a Russian can keep up the tendancy, it will be Vera. She has a solid game and I think her huge desire if well controlled will help her win a first big title, a win that could also put her in the top 5 (if all the rest happens..what are the odds on all this?).
Why is it that the world never remembered the name of Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-
kalbsfleisch-mittler-aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm?
Hey guys...a first photo of Maria (http://www.tennisrulz.com/photos/uso...harapova01.jpg) ...well actually it isn't but they had this in Niketown (which I saw today)... in case it's of interest to anyone Many more photos and my report will be up in about 24 hours, I'm excited