Re: STUTTGART 2013: Aint no backseat in my Porsche!
When you look at the past year, you have to give Serena the benefit of the doubt against any player on all surfaces. As far as I'm concerned, she hasn't lost since the first round of the French. The 2 losses this year were because of injury. And she tanked the match to Kerber in Cincinnati because she's was drained from her Wimbledon/Olympics domination and didn't want to be there. So this clay season will be very fascinating and telling. Is anyone out there capable of stepping up on Serena's worst surface and say "enough of this crap" and actually beat her when she's 100%? If not now, then when? Is everyone just going to count on old age or injury?
Now, as it pertains to Maria, if you take Serena out of the equation, nobody on the WTA scares me. Yes, on any given day, players like Vika or Li can beat her. But given the way Maria's level has been, she is certainly capable of another great year on clay. She's the second best on tour and nobody else is close to her right now in competing for that slot behind Serena. Azarenka has had way too much time off and is no match for Maria on clay anyway. So if Maria remains healthy and playing at her high level, you're really only looking at Li or maybe Errani as the biggest threats to Maria not named Serena for these upcoming dirt tourneys.
I'm definitely anxious to see how Stuttgart unfolds for Maria, to see if that clay magic is still there. Based on the progression I've seen from her over the first 4 tournaments, I'm confident Maria will do well over the next couple of months trying to defend her titles.