View Full Version : Does the unexpected happen in Australia?

Helen Lawson
Oct 16th, 2002, 06:29 PM
Boy, I see some pretty heavy crapping on Capriati right now. Perhaps rightfully so. Venus has been dubbed burned out and tired. Serena and Amelie seem to be the new darlings of the tour. Hingis is washed up and past her prime and can no longer compete with power players, even so-called "second rate" power players.

I am not saying any of this is not warranted, but I remember last year at this time. Hingis was seriously injured and had been in a decline for many, many months. Even before the injury, there was the shocking loss to Dementieva at Kremlin Cup, which seemed to be one in a series, whether you count the loss to Kim at Indian Wells or the loss to ASV as the starting point, or even the loss to Capriati that January in Australia. Once dubbed the Tier I Queen, she wasn't even that at the end of 2001. Capriati had not won a tournament since the French Open and suffered two losses to Testud and was being called out of shape/the "comeback" over. No one gave her a prayer of defending her title in Australia. Venus had once again had an amazing Summer and, in top champ-form, defended her entire Summer, except for Stanford. Monica was washed up and puffing her career titles by claiming depleted Tier III and Tier IV titles in Asia. In typical Serena form, she does not play for months and then claims the championships in Munich. .

But then the Australian Open came along. Serena was hurt. I thought Hingis looked the best I have ever seen her, which was quite good. Her serves were much better and better placed than I have ever seen them. I didn't see that terrible second serve thing until late in the second set. She was moving great, it was almost the Hingis of old. Capriati defended her title (though by the slimest of margins). Monica plays a great match against Venus and beat her, and pushed Martina to the limit. Venus did not look that great the whole tournament.

So, are end-year results really indicative of a player's chances in January? Remember in 2000, no Venus and smokin' hot U.S. Open champ Serena came to play? She looked awful and was ground into a fine dust and blown away by Elena L. in the fourth round.

It seems to me over the years, there are always surprises here, moreso that at the other majors. If this is true, what can we really say about player's chances in January based on today's results?

Oct 16th, 2002, 06:35 PM
Jen will win again. ;)

Most people wrote her off at the end of last year, but she did it again.

Of course Serena is the favourite, but you never know if she is in perfect shape in January, same for Venus.

I'm hoping for Lindsay. :D

Oct 16th, 2002, 06:55 PM
Amelie the darling of the tour? Nope. Not when you go back to your old ways and choke away a match after being up 5-2 in set three:p ! And I couldn't be happier.

Helen Lawson
Oct 16th, 2002, 07:11 PM
It is not my favorite slam in terms of watching (coverage is poor and poor times here) and the surface and all aren't that fun, but I love the not-knowing part. In many ways, it is the most exciting.

I know almost every Slam has elements of surprise, but to me, the Australian Open is the best at this.

Oct 16th, 2002, 07:23 PM
Somehow I think next years AO will be a real dogfight ( maybe catfight is more appropriate)....I expect hingis to be back and playing well ..you can't argue against what shes done at the AO open for the last 6 years so she'll always be a fav if in form...Jennifer will want to start off hot like the last 2 years ...lindsay is hungry for another slam ,I think Vee and serena will be there more prepared than before .. AO completes the family slam in singles and doubles ,Monica won't want to let another opportunity like last year slip away if she gets within striking distance Amelie usually plays well in Australia and now she's more conifdent....then there emerging top players clijsters,henin hantuchova etc..they've got to feel its about time one of them broke through and won a slam ...time is not on their side as much as most people think if they don't break through soon they'll have to contend with whole bunch of even hungrier young Russian talent ..and even in the mid range there are a bunch of players who might not win the whole thing but can pretty much take out at least one top player....Then again who knows maybe anna will win and things will get really interesting.