Favorites for AO: Justine, Lindsay, Masha...Venus is the darkhorse - TennisForum.com
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:21 AM   #1
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Favorites for AO: Justine, Lindsay, Masha...Venus is the darkhorse

The way things are going it looks like there are a few players that will be at the fore for the australian open..

Justine is getting back into form at the right time..

Lindsay is always a threat....unless she also gets injured

Maria....(i dont think she is injured)

The reason why i dont have Kim is cuz....shes injured.

Venus could be the darkhorse in this tourney..

Pierce...is never talked about that much, but seems to make it a habit to go deep into slams these days.

I'd love to see Serena do well and win it like last year...but her fitness seems much worse than last year.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:26 AM   #2
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It's a shame, because Kim would have been one of the favorites for sure But still, if it's only a strain (which we all hope), she could be ready for AO and be among the top favorites!
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:29 AM   #3
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I don't see how Venus is the dark horse...Maria has nothing on her, and Justine...please.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Billabong
It's a shame, because Kim would have been one of the favorites for sure But still, if it's only a strain (which we all hope), she could be ready for AO and be among the top favorites!
I agree with that. Kim was surely the favorite before her injury, I hope she can play in a healthy state and do well.

Venus and Maria don't seem too bothered by their recent injuries? If not, they're real threats to the title. But Lindsay has to be the main favorite now, and as a Justine fan, it's so exciting to see her playing well again and getting her top form back it's hard not to count her as one of the favorites.

I'd love to see Amelie living up to the expectations after her YEC win and do some real damage in the Open. Actually, I'll be rooting for her next to Justine to win this slam, but after losing to Ivanovic again, I don't know.

Mary can reach the final, but will she win it?
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:33 AM   #5
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Venus Williams cannot be a darkhorse...that's rediculous....Venus has to be one of the favorites...
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:34 AM   #6
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Amelie has to be in there somewhere. Perhaps not the people's choice, but she is a strong contender. She just won the YEC Championships for heaven sake. That's the next biggest tournament outside the majors.

She'll stun all doubters this year at a slam, like she did at the YEC after losing to Srebotnik and Schiavone in first/second rounds. She also lost a close Wimby Semi to Lindsay after losing second round to Dushevina (first match) in Eastbourne.

She believes in herself now - and when her game is on, she is tough to beat.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by pcrtennis
Venus Williams cannot be a darkhorse...that's rediculous....Venus has to be one of the favorites...
That too.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:42 AM   #8
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Venus the dark horse,and maria a favourite??

I'd put my money on venus 9 times out of ten,over maria.IMO Maria is more of a dark horse,and she has had this injury for months.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:43 AM   #9
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i tagged her as the darkhorse cuz she is still not all the consistent..

if everything clicks for her then she will no doubt be one of the favs..

but the question is, will things fall into place at the right time
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junlee_vee
I don't see how Venus is the dark horse...Maria has nothing on her, and Justine...please.
Don't make me laugh!

Ok, no way is she 'The dark horse'...At least not since wimbledon last year where she showed she can pull it big time once again, but saying Maria + Justine have nothing on her! Perleese!
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:48 AM   #11
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Venus and Pierce both have a better chance of winning this tournament than Lindsay does.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:53 AM   #12
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Women's field wide open in AustraliaBy Mary Joe Fernandez
Special to ESPN.com


(ESPN tennis analyst Mary Joe Fernandez looks at the world's top-five players and how they will fare at the 2006 Australian Open)


1. Lindsay Davenport
Her goal is to win another Grand Slam event before she retires. (Davenport has three career Grand Slam victories, but none since the 2000 Australian Open). She came so close last year in the finals at Australia and Wimbledon and just wasn't able to close it out. For some reason, it becomes a mental battle for her once she gets to that final stage. Davenport is a smart player and doesn't get enough credit for that. I saw her in December, and she's in extremely good shape. You have to like her chances to win in Australia.


2. Kim Clijsters
She could be Davenport's biggest challenge because of her speed (although a hip injury suffered this week has her status for the Open in question). Clijsters has given Davenport a lot of trouble in the past, but Davenport beat her at the French Open and Wimbledon last year.

Clijsters had an amazing comeback in 2005. She didn't play in Australia last year, so she should be looking forward to playing Down Under. (Clijsters advanced to the final in 2004, the semifinals in 2002 and 2003.) When Clijsters is playing well, she's such a complete player because she plays the best defense of anyone and also can be aggressive and consistent at the same time. The Rebound Ace courts will suit her game.


3. Amelie Mauresmo
She thinks this could be her year to win a Grand Slam event. Mauresmo ended 2005 by winning the WTA Championships, and that was a huge breakthrough


AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez
Amelie Mauresmo is the best active player who has yet to win a Grand Slam event.for her. It also was the biggest event she has won because she had to beat players she hadn't fared well against in the past. Mentally, that will help her a lot.

Mauresmo finally figured out that she has to use her variety because she's one of the most talented players on the tour. She's the best player never to win a Grand Slam event, and Australia is where she made her breakthrough, reaching the finals in 1999 (the only time she advanced to a Grand Slam final). I'm a big believer that you play well where you have good memories.


4. Maria Sharapova
She has had to deal with health problems; that's No. 1 right now. Sharapova struggled at the end of 2005 with a pectoral strain and didn't play much in the second half of the season. That's really the only thing holding her back.

I love her game and attitude. She is starting to become more of a complete player and is looking to be more aggressive. Let's see how she is healthwise because, if healthy, she will be one of the players to beat because she has such big belief in herself.


5. Mary Pierce
She was a great comeback story in 2005. After last year's French Open, I didn't think Pierce was going to be able to keep it up but she played even better. Until the final of the WTA Championships, she played better than everybody else.

Pierce has been serving huge and winning her service games easily, which allows her to really swing freely in her return game. She's fit and healthy, and you can see she's enjoying herself on the court.


Grand Slam Champs Worth Watching


Justine Henin-Hardenne
She's another one with question marks because of her health. Last year, whenever Henin-Hardenne played, she played really well. (She won four straight


A knee injury forced 2004 champ Justine Henin-Hardenne to miss last year's Australian Open. titles, highlighted by beating Pierce at the French Open.) We'll see how she is physically. Mentally, she is very strong, and -- like Mauresmo -- has the most variety on the tour, including the one-handed backhand that separates them from everybody else.


Serena and Venus Williams
Injuries are a concern for both. It's such a vicious cycle for Serena. She plays and gets hurt. If she can get herself fit again, there's no reason Serena can't get back to winning majors and being the threat she was.

I thought Venus would get a boost last year after winning Wimbledon, but she had injuries as well. When Venus is healthy, her best is better than everybody else's. But again, because of the injuries and the amount of time the sisters have had off, other players are not as intimidated anymore and believe they can beat the Williamses.


Martina Hingis
She was the queen of the Australian for a while. She's one who outsmarts her opponent and uses strategy to her advantage. It's as though you are watching a chess game with Hingis. I really think she'll do well. Playing in Team Tennis got her fighting spirit back, and she obviously missed tennis enough to give it another try.

The shot that let Hingis down was her serve, so let's hope she has worked on and improved that area of her game. Her head is so good that I think she still can play with the top players.


Pay Attention To …

Elena Dementieva is one you have to beat because she won't go away. Her serve has prevented her from winning the big one, and I don't know whether she can overcome that because it has become so mental. If she can do so, then Dementieva becomes a contender because she hits the ball so fast and so well off the ground. Despite her serve, she's always around and competing into the late rounds.

Ana Ivanovic's fitness was one of the things she needed to work on, but she hits the ball really cleanly and is dangerous.

Svetlana Kuznetsova: I always thought she and Sharapova were the best of the young Russians. She's such a good athlete, but she really struggled last year.

Nadia Petrova is another player who is dangerous, and it's just consistency that's missing in her game. She did win her first tournament in 2005, which should give her some confidence.

Patty Schnyder always plays well in Australia. I used to play against her, and she was known for how unpredictable she was; but now, it's just the opposite. Schnyder uses her spin and is left-handed (the only lefty ranked in the top 30), which gives players trouble.

Nicole Vaidisova is young (16), and she had a terrific 2005 season. She's tall and strong, and she moves well. She still needs some maturing, but that will come with time. Vaidisova can provide a huge scare at any moment.


Mary Joe Fernandez won 7 singles and 17 doubles titles during her 15-year career on the WTA Tour. She is providing ESPN.com with analysis throughout the Australian Open.


-Mary Jo says that Venus and Justine are champions to look for. Maria has been injured just as much and been off the court doing as much stuff as Venus or Serena. She is so biased "I love Maria's game." Yeah that statement pretty much takes all her credibility on that pick away. I'll telling you, Venus is going to win this one. If not her, Justine will pick up this title.

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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alkan
Don't make me laugh!

Ok, no way is she 'The dark horse'...At least not since wimbledon last year where she showed she can pull it big time once again, but saying Maria + Justine have nothing on her! Perleese!
Maria has not wo a slam, and went down to Venus all of last year. Justine has never dominated a Williams. It is okay to have your favorites, but keep it real, lol.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 03:57 AM   #14
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venus is a favorite, NOT a darkhorse. i'd consider sveta, dementieva, ivanovic, vaidisova, etc. etc. darkhorses
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 04:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aholloway
Maria has not wo a slam, and went down to Venus all of last year. Justine has never dominated a Williams. It is okay to have your favorites, but keep it real, lol.


Yes Maria has won a slam


And she would probably have won another if she'd beaten Serena in the semi at the Aus open. She also got to the semis at all the slams. Not bad, methinks. I think she's gonna be a serious contender.
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