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Nick's Picks: First Round
by Nick Bollettieri
Thursday, August 21, 2003


Nick will be offering his thoughts on a variety of matches throughout the 2003 US Open. Here are his first round picks:



Men’s Featured Matches

Andre Agassi (1) vs. Alex Corretja
Andre, the top seed of the US Open, has no easy ride to the second round. His opponent, Alex, has been around a long time and his record versus Andre gives a loud message: Watch Out! Nick’s Picks: Alex has experienced a difficult 2003 season, winning only 10 of 26 matches. Andre will accept the challenge and not waste time in any way or give away any points. The New York crowd will push Andre to the second round. Andre in 4 sets.


Max Mirnyi (18) vs. Nikolay Davydenko
Max is number one in doubles, but do not put aside his current singles ranking of 18 with recent wins over Hewitt, Coria and Srichaphan. Nikolay is a young Russian with very solid groundstrokes and plays similar to Andre. Nikolay’s mobility and speed could frustrate Max from the baseline. Nick’s Pick: The old Russian veteran playing the young Russian will put extra pressure on Max. However, recent confidence and an improved forehand with a rocket serve will give Max the victory in 4 sets.


Michael Chang vs. Fernando Gonzalez (15)
Michael is winding up his farewell tour. His heart and will to win remains in place but his legs say, “I am so tired of running and running all the time.” Fernando has a huge serve and forehand, but still lacks the consistency to be a contender to win a Grand Slam. Nick’s Pick: Fernando has too much firepower for Michael, but must be cautious of Michael who will fight for every point. Fernando in 4 sets.


Arnaud Clement (31) vs. Brian Vahaly
Arnaud is a veteran who can do a little of everything and covers the court with excellent speed and balance. Brian is another young American with exceptional talent. He was a three-time All-American at the University of Virginia with excellent results on tour this year. Nick’s Pick: Brian must cut down on unforced errors and be prepared to remain mentally tough at all times. New York fans could be the difference in this match, but the French veteran is too smart to lose in the first round. Clement in 4 sets.


Xavier Malisse vs. Olivier Rochus
Xavier has ability to create shots that are beyond comprehension. He is loose as a goose with excellent movement. Olivier is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 130 soaking wet, but is a roadrunner covering every inch of the court. Nick’s Pick: Xavier has too many guns but must accept the clear fact that his mental approach to the game is questionable. Playing a Davis Cup teammate will also be a negative factor. Olivier will take advantage of his mental breakdowns and this could be a determining factor in many ways. Xavier in 4 sets.


Carlos Moya (7) vs. Scott Draper
Carlos has had some early exits on the hard courts this summer. However, his serve and return of serve will put endless pressure on Scott throughout the match. Scott defeated Marty Fish and Greg Rusedski at Indianapolis this summer. He is a veteran who fears no one on a hard court surface. His lefty serve must get him a lot of free points for him to advance to the second round. Nick’s Picks: Carlos has no weakness, but he cannot let down in anyway. Carlos in 4 sets.


Tim Henmen vs. Andy Roddick (4)
Tim must play Andy and the mindset of his coach Brad Gilbert. Tim defeated Andy in the semi-finals of Washington this summer. Andy must come out cool, calm and collected. The New York fans will be jumping and the girls will be cheering. Nick’s Picks: Tim must attack at all times and also slow down the pace with biting slices. Andy must have a big serving day and follow the advice of his coach. Andy in 4 sets.


Mariano Zabaleta (27) vs. James Blake
Mariano’s results early in 2003 have been up and down, but he is beginning to get in the groove making the quarterfinals in Cincinnati. His unusual serve motion is off the wall, but the firepower he develops ranks him as one of the top servers of the game. James’ results have also been up and down. He cannot think about how well his fellow Americans, Fish and Roddick, are playing. He must think about how good he can be. Nick’s Pick: Mariano must have a big serving day. Mariano in 4 sets. James in 5 sets.




Women’s Featured Matches


Kim Clijsters (1) vs. Amber Liu :yawn: :zzz:
Kim on paper has no detours to the quarterfinals of the US Open. Being number one can change you mentally, which it did in Toronto where she lost to one of the many up-and-coming Russian players, Lina Krasnoroutskaya, in the third round. Amber is a 19-year-old wild card and a former NCAA singles champion. Nick’s Pick: Amber will not go down without a fight, but it will not be enough in her pro debut. Kim in 2 sets.


Lindsay Davenport (3) vs. Els Callens : :dance:
Lindsay was recently married and has a regenerated attitude toward her tennis. She is probably wondering where her husband is, but she still has a big serve and blistering flat ground strokes. She also is a two-time Grand Slam winner. Els is a very solid all-court player with an excellent two-handed backhand. Nick’s Pick: Lindsay in 2 sets.


Conchita Martinez (12) vs. Sarah Taylor :bowdown:
Conchita is tired, battered and looking for the green pasture, but deep down she is still dangerous and can do all sorts of things with the ball. Sarah is coming off an injury and must win this match mentally by staying in every point and making less unforced errors. Nick’s Pick: Experience will be the factor that gives this match to Conchita in 2 sets.


Maria Vento-Kabchi vs. Chanda Rubin (8) :kiss:
Chanda is always a threat, especially when she’s healthy and without injury. You can look and look, but she has no real weakness. Maria is patient and crafty. She has improved her fitness, which has made her tougher to beat and is coming off a semi-final showing at Stanford with wins over Petrova and Dokic. She is confident, but just doesn’t have the tools to come out of this one on top. Nick’s Picks: Rubin in 2 sets.


Elena Bovina (16) vs. Ludmila Cervanova :bounce:
Ludmila makes her living on the baseline. Consistency and point building are her strengths. She runs well and is able to keep balls deep. Her weaknesses are the serve and net play. Nick’s Picks: Elena will overpower and dominate Ludmila. She will overcome her own unforced errors and ride her big serve to victory in straight sets.


Maria Sharapova vs. Virginia Rauro Pascual :hug:
Maria will be a top-of-the-line player within two years. She must play longer points and put variation into her game with angles and spins. Virginia is a top doubles player who also can play singles against anyone. To beat Maria she will vary her shots, which could be effective because of Maria’s lack of pro experience. Nick’s Picks: Maria will take advantage of the second serve of Virginia and win points from her offensive serve and powerful ground strokes. She is a hitter in every facet of her game. Maria in 3 sets.


Alexandra Stevenson (31) vs. Emilie Loit :tape:
Emilie moves well, can change the rotation of the ball with a biting slice, and has an excellent one-handed backhand similar to Mauresmo. Alexandra has had a roller coaster year, but still has two huge weapons: serve and killer forehand. Nick’s Picks: Emilie will try to move Alexandra at all times, plus change the pace of the ball. Alexandra must serve well and keep her unforced errors to a minimum. This match could go either way! If I’m put into the corner and had to make a decision I would say this would be an unpopular American upset with Emilie winning.

Mary Pierce vs. Katarina Srebotnik :bounce:
Katarina is a tall girl with a big serve and huge groundstrokes and serve. Mary will offset her power by questionable movement by Katarina. Nick’s Pick: Mary in 3 sets.


Shenay Perry vs. Amy Frazier :eek:
Amy is an old veteran who has played the same way since the beginning of her career. She has excellent groundstrokes with very little spin. Shenay is an up-and-coming young American who has recently won two challengers. Nick’s Pick: Shenay hits with a little too much spin enabling the old veteran to reach to many balls. Amy in 2, maybe 3 sets.
 

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Well, Tim vs. Andy won't happen, so, who cares now??

In case people didn't know, Safin and Canas withdrew from the US Open, and Henman was promoted to a seed, taking him away from Andy.
 

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I feel kinda bad for Amber..she's trying to test the waters and her first 2 tournies (unless I missed one) she runs smack into Kim :eek:

Nick thinks she'll put up a fight..but last time she could only manage 2 games..I don't think that's something you forget quickly.

Pierce/Srebotnik could be a really interesting match I think :)
 

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VeNuS FoReVeR said:
Well, Tim vs. Andy won't happen, so, who cares now??

In case people didn't know, Safin and Canas withdrew from the US Open, and Henman was promoted to a seed, taking him away from Andy.
Wrong. Chela was promoted. Henman will be promoted if Costa withdraws, which is looking quite possible :(
 

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Hawk said:
I feel kinda bad for Amber..she's trying to test the waters and her first 2 tournies (unless I missed one) she runs smack into Kim :eek:

Nick thinks she'll put up a fight..but last time she could only manage 2 games..I don't think that's something you forget quickly.

Pierce/Srebotnik could be a really interesting match I think :)
Doesn't really matter, Amber hasn't done well all summer save for the Los Gatos challenger...she got herself demolished by one of the Serra Zanetti sisters 6-0, 6-2 two weeks ago.

Amber isn't going to put up a fight at all...she's going to fall over even easier than her 1-6, 1-6 loss at Stanford.
 

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Lindsay Davenport (3) vs. Els Callens :
Lindsay was recently married and has a regenerated attitude toward her tennis. She is probably wondering where her husband is, but she still has a big serve and blistering flat ground strokes. She also is a two-time Grand Slam winner. Els is a very solid all-court player with an excellent two-handed backhand. Nick’s Pick: Lindsay in 2 sets.
Oops, Nicky...
 

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Andre Agassi (1) vs. Alex Corretja
Andre, the top seed of the US Open, has no easy ride to the second round. His opponent, Alex, has been around a long time and his record versus Andre gives a loud message: Watch Out! Nick’s Picks: Alex has experienced a difficult 2003 season, winning only 10 of 26 matches. Andre will accept the challenge and not waste time in any way or give away any points. The New York crowd will push Andre to the second round. Andre in 4 sets.
He thinks Corretja can get a set from Agassi? He hasn't been paying attention this year . . .


Max Mirnyi (18) vs. Nikolay Davydenko
Max is number one in doubles, but do not put aside his current singles ranking of 18 with recent wins over Hewitt, Coria and Srichaphan. Nikolay is a young Russian with very solid groundstrokes and plays similar to Andre. Nikolay’s mobility and speed could frustrate Max from the baseline. Nick’s Pick: The old Russian veteran playing the young Russian will put extra pressure on Max. However, recent confidence and an improved forehand with a rocket serve will give Max the victory in 4 sets.
1. Max isn't Russian.
2. He thinks Davy can get a set from Mirnyi? Again, he hasn't been paying attention ;) Kolya will have to have a better time of it in NY than he did in Cincy to even give Max a match here.


Michael Chang vs. Fernando Gonzalez (15)
Michael is winding up his farewell tour. His heart and will to win remains in place but his legs say, “I am so tired of running and running all the time.” Fernando has a huge serve and forehand, but still lacks the consistency to be a contender to win a Grand Slam. Nick’s Pick: Fernando has too much firepower for Michael, but must be cautious of Michael who will fight for every point. Fernando in 4 sets.
Repeat after me: he thinks Chang can get a set from Gonzo? :lol: Only if Gonzo is still hobbling around on his bum knee.


Xavier Malisse vs. Olivier Rochus
Xavier has ability to create shots that are beyond comprehension. He is loose as a goose with excellent movement. Olivier is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 130 soaking wet, but is a roadrunner covering every inch of the court. Nick’s Pick: Xavier has too many guns but must accept the clear fact that his mental approach to the game is questionable. Playing a Davis Cup teammate will also be a negative factor. Olivier will take advantage of his mental breakdowns and this could be a determining factor in many ways. Xavier in 4 sets.
The X-Man used all of his mental stability for the moment in his match vs Potato in Cincy. The smallest Rochus brother will run down all of his shots and Malisse's ship will sail from the dock after the first set or so ;)


Tim Henman vs. Andy Roddick (4)
Tim must play Andy and the mindset of his coach Brad Gilbert. Tim defeated Andy in the semi-finals of Washington this summer. Andy must come out cool, calm and collected. The New York fans will be jumping and the girls will be cheering. Nick’s Picks: Tim must attack at all times and also slow down the pace with biting slices. Andy must have a big serving day and follow the advice of his coach. Andy in 4 sets.
Love Nick's bold predictions of 4 set wins for all the men :lol: It's looking more and more likely that Henboy will be promoted to a seed so this might not even come off.


Mariano Zabaleta (27) vs. James Blake
Mariano’s results early in 2003 have been up and down, but he is beginning to get in the groove making the quarterfinals in Cincinnati. His unusual serve motion is off the wall, but the firepower he develops ranks him as one of the top servers of the game. James’ results have also been up and down. He cannot think about how well his fellow Americans, Fish and Roddick, are playing. He must think about how good he can be. Nick’s Pick: Mariano must have a big serving day. Mariano in 4 sets. James in 5 sets.
Because, you know, James hasn't been playing well this year :rolleyes: Blake does need to believe he can win the match, but he looked very good in Cincy and is playing equally as well this week in Long Island. If he can make Zab hit backhands he can win in less than 5 sets.

Kim Clijsters (1) vs. Amber Liu
Kim on paper has no detours to the quarterfinals of the US Open. Being number one can change you mentally, which it did in Toronto where she lost to one of the many up-and-coming Russian players, Lina Krasnoroutskaya, in the third round. Amber is a 19-year-old wild card and a former NCAA singles champion. Nick’s Pick: Amber will not go down without a fight, but it will not be enough in her pro debut. Kim in 2 sets.
Didn't she already have her pro debut? Either way, I can't see her pulling a Lina K and upsetting Kim. Not when she only got 2 games from her in their last meeting.


Alexandra Stevenson (31) vs. Emilie Loit
Emilie moves well, can change the rotation of the ball with a biting slice, and has an excellent one-handed backhand similar to Mauresmo. Alexandra has had a roller coaster year, but still has two huge weapons: serve and killer forehand. Nick’s Picks: Emilie will try to move Alexandra at all times, plus change the pace of the ball. Alexandra must serve well and keep her unforced errors to a minimum. This match could go either way! If I’m put into the corner and had to make a decision I would say this would be an unpopular American upset with Emilie winning.
LMAO! Don't most people spend the year contemplating which player will be the first to "upset" Alexandra in whatever draw we're looking at for the week?
 

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lol...

zabaleta-blake is the only first rounder not going to end in 4 sets...
 

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These picks are rather lame...

Why does he think Liu will give Kim a tough match? Kim has been crushing all lower ranked players, and Liu doesn't even go far in challengers...

The obvious Lindsay error about her grand slams, and I don't know what the hell he's talking about in her paragraph...

Nick, your former pupil Elena Bovina doesn't even go after a big serve anymore...

Alexandra has had a roller coaster year? She's had ONE good tournament... and 20 1st and 2nd round losses.

And this is just the women's matches I mentioned. :p
 

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TennisHack said:
2. He thinks Davy can get a set from Mirnyi? Again, he hasn't been paying attention ;) Kolya will have to have a better time of it in NY than he did in Cincy to even give Max a match here.
To be fair, Davydenko did just beat him in April this year in their only meeting. Of course, that was clay and this is hard.

Some of those 4 set predictions are ridiculous. My only guess is that predicting in 4 is the safest because you're never going to be that off.
 

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About Els Callens:
"Els is a very solid all-court player with an excellent two-handed backhand."
Somebody acknowledging Els' qualities! :D
 
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