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tennisIlove09
Mar 19th, 2003, 07:34 PM
PLAYERS TO WATCH
March 19 2003
BY MICHELLE KAUFMAN
The Miami Herald

MEN
Lleyton Hewitt
• Rank: 1.

• Hometown: Adelaide, Australia.

• Age: 22.

• In his favor: He is a tour-best 15-1 this season, and made quick work of Gustavo Kuerten at the final (6-1, 6-1) at Indian Wells, Calif. Seems more fit and determined than ever to fend off Andre Agassi and remain top dog.

• In his way: Not much.

Andre Agassi
• Rank: 2.

• Hometown: Las Vegas.

• Age: 32.

• In his favor: Dominated tour last season and looked in even better form at the Australian Open, cruising through the bracket and scoring an easy win over Rainer Schuettler. Loves Key Biscayne, having won five titles here, including past two years.

• In his way: Pinched nerve in right shoulder caused him to skip Indian Wells and contributed to first-round loss to Thomas Enqvist at Scottsdale. Status is day-to-day.

Roger Federer
• Rank: 4.

• Hometown: Bottmingen, Switzerland.

• Age: 21.

• In his favor: Nobody on tour has won more matches this season (21). Made NASDAQ final last year without losing a set, before losing to Agassi (Hewitt was among his victims). Won back-to-back titles this year at Marseille and Dubai.

• In his way: Needs to prove he can beat the big boys when it matters most.

Andy Roddick
• Rank: 6.

• Hometown: Boca Raton.

• Age: 20.

• In his favor: Homecourt advantage. Booming serve. Proved in Australian Open marathon quarterfinal that he has fortitude.

• In his way: Minor injuries have crept up at inopportune times. Needs to work on return of serve.

Gustavo Kuerten
• Rank: 15.

• Hometown: Florianopolis, Brazil.

• Age: 26.

• In his favor: South Florida Brazilian fans are loud and numerous. Spirited showing at Indian Wells before slamming into Hewitt. Was a finalist in Key Biscayne in 2000.

• In his way: Lost badly to Hewitt in Indian Wells final. Injury-plagued last season.

Others
Keep an eye on: Rainer Schuettler, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Sebastien Grosjean, Wayne Ferreira, James Blake.

WOMEN
Serena Williams
• Rank: 1.

• Hometown: Palm Beach Gardens.

• Age: 21.

• In her favor: She could show up in a cat suit, bathing suit or three-piece suit and still win. She has won four straight Grand Slam events and 29 of her past 30 matches.

• In her way: Slight tendinitis in her knees. Older sister Venus and Jennifer Capriati would love to avenge losses at Key Biscayne last year.

Venus Williams
• Rank: 2.

• Hometown: Palm Beach Gardens.

• Age: 22.

• In her favor: Has made finals at past four Grand Slams. Beat Kim Clijsters fairly easily at Antwerp, Belgium, last month.

• In her way: Capriati, Amelie Mauresmo and Justine Henin-Hardenne in her side of draw. Hasn't played much this season.

Kim Clijsters
• Rank: 3.

• Hometown: Bree, Belgium.

• Age: 19.

• In her favor: Made four finals this season, won at Sydney and Indian Wells. Coming off big win over Lindsay Davenport. Killer forehand.

• In her way: Though she beat both Williams sisters last season, they remain thorns in her side.

Justine Henin-Hardenne
• Rank: 4.

• Hometown: Marloie, Belgium.

• Age: 20.

• In her favor: Excellent backhand. Reached semis at Australian Open and Antwerp. Beat Capriati and Monica Seles at Dubai.

• In her way: Has had trouble beating the three players ranked ahead of her.

Jennifer Capriati
• Rank: 5.

• Hometown: Saddlebrook.

• Age: 26 (turns 27 final weekend of NASDAQ).

• In her favor: Has made past two finals at NASDAQ and feels at home here. Remains one of the few players with power and confidence to upset Williams sisters. Coming off semifinal run at Indian Wells.

• In her way: Weak second serve. Poor season start in Australia, bounced in first round at Sydney and Aussie Open, partly because of eye operation in November. Skipped Tokyo. Seems to have lost exuberance for game she had when she first returned from layoff.

Others
Keep an eye on: Daniela Hantuchova, Monica Seles, Chanda Rubin, Amelie Mauresmo, Lindsay Davenport, Amanda Coetzer, Elena Bovina.

butch
Mar 19th, 2003, 08:25 PM
I agree.

I do hope that Amanda wins a couple of games. After losing to miserably last week an early exit here could signal the start of a bit of a slump.

I also think Davenport is a greater threat than Capriati - even against the Williams sisters. Davenport does have the ability, when her mind is working well, to beat anyone. Jennifer "chokes" - I remember her playing Serena in Paris last year, and at some point in that second set she screamed to herself - "Don't choke". When both players (Davenport and Capriati) play at their peak, I have greater faith in Davenport to pull through.

maccardel
Mar 19th, 2003, 10:18 PM
Capriati is on Auto and doesn't seem to slow down and rethink her game. She thinks that playing fast and aggressively makes her opponents unable to to take time to think of their game. Well Amelie fixed that at USopen last year and Capriati hasn't been the same since.....that is the secret to defeating Jen. Slow her ass down!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then deliver a swift kick ( of serve that is).

jenny161185
Mar 20th, 2003, 12:01 AM
I think Capriati has a better chance against SerenaThan Davenport, but shes in Venus' quater anyway . Im looking to Bovina for a few upsets in this tourney

Gowza
Mar 20th, 2003, 12:08 AM
personally 'players to watch' to me are young players that make make a surprise run through the draw like zvonareva did at IW. i would say watch out for zvonareva, douchevina, tulyaganova, bartoli, schaal (she has a very good draw to the 4th round), molik, golovin, daniilidou, safina. those sort of players.

i think kuznetsova or have the best chance of reaching the quarter-finals because they are in dokic and hantuchova's quarter. out of those 2 i think kuznetsova is the one more likely to do it because molik has been out with injury and didn't play well in a challenger last week (she lost first round in straight sets pretty easily).

Gowza
Mar 20th, 2003, 12:10 AM
and just when i write that molik is playing badly she earns a break point in the first game of the match against schett.