Pam Shriver picks Venus
Venus playing strong, smart
By Pam Shriver
Special to ESPN.com
SYDNEY, Australia -- It looks as if Venus Williams is the heavy favorite to win the Australian Open. She came down early this year and played last week, winning the Australian Women's Hardcourt Championships over Belgian Justine Henin.
This week, Williams just practiced while others played badly, like Jennifer Capriati, or got injured, like Serena Williams, who decided to pull out of the Australian Open after the schedule was not adjusted to give her an extra day to recover before playing again.
Former No. 1 Martina Hingis won the Adidias International title in Sydney, but she is not playing well enough to win the Australian Open unless power players like Venus play below par.
Kim Clijsters and countrywoman Henin are playing just OK as of now.
Monica Seles might step up, but she is in the tough half with Venus and Hingis.
Lindsay Davenport, who had knee surgery, will be missed as a past Australia Open champion and the No. 1 player -- for now.
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