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Venus puts injury worries behind her



Pam's Picks

Shriver
Former WTA Tour pro Pam Shriver is providing ESPN.com with in-depth analysis throughout the French Open. Shriver, a tennis analyst for ESPN, was ranked as high as No. 3 in singles play. She won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.


PARIS -- Venus Williams made the biggest improvement from the second round to the third round of all the women. She looked lost against Evie Domonikov with unforced errors and sloppy play. On Saturday, against a better opponent, Venus again came to net and her differential (more winners than unforced errors) was positive.

Based on that improvement, you can look at her as someone you can take seriously going into the second week. Her much-talked about injury (stomach muscle tear) appears to be behind her as she was serving 120 mph toward the end of the match, snatching the tournament record on the women's side from Nadia Petrova. Venus should be pleased with this match and it was nice seeing mom, and coach, Oracene Price not shaking her head after the match.

Fourth round picks
Serena Williams (1), United States vs. Ai Sugiyama (16), Japan
They haven't played in the past three years, which might be good for Sugiyama, who showed that she's not only fit but can handle the pace of the top players by defeating Kim Clijsters in the Scottsdale final. But going on Serena's annihilation of Barbara Schett 6-0, 6-0, it's hard to see Sugiyama winning.
Pick: Serena

Magui Serna, Spain, vs. Amelie Mauresmo (5), France
The last remaining French woman against Ashley Harkleroad's conqueror. Mauresmo has fallen at this hurdle a few times at the French -- last year to Paola Suarez. Because Serna's a lefty with lots of different spins and an all-court game, she poses problems for opponents.

But Mauresmo is 3-0 against Serna, with two of those matches being very close. Mauresmo's a better player than Serna. The question is how will she handle a second week at the French, where she's never won matches. She's been to at least the semifinals at all the other majors and never even been to the quarters here. Mauresmo is the favorite, but she's no sure thing.
Pick: Mauresmo

Justine Henin-Hardenne (4), Belgium, vs. Patty Schnyder (19), Switzerland
One of the better matches in this round. I don't think her name's been uttered on the air except for results. She's a former top-10 player who beat Steffi Graf when Graf was at the top of her game. Schnyder has won big matches before so Henin-Hardenne will have to be playing well. It's another lefty-righty matchup. Schnyder, with Seles fading, is now the best left-hander in women's tennis.

I still think Henin-Hardenne will win the match. She lost in the first round last year, so now having won three matches, she is dangerous. She's been the best clay-court player the past two years along with Serena, so this is going to be a competitive match.
Pick: Henin-Hardenne

Petra Mandula, Hungary, vs. Chanda Rubin (8), United States
You'd never know that Mandula is a previous French Open quarterfinalist. She should be happy with this draw. You don't mind facing an eighth seed instead of one of the top four. So, Mandula is again a possible quarterfinalist because Rubin is streaky. Although in the last 12 months, Rubin has played fewer and fewer inconsistent matches.

Matches against someone like Mandula are a challenge because the pressure is on Rubin as the favorite. Because Rubin recently won in Madrid, give her the slightest edge but have an eye out for a possible upset.
Pick: Rubin

Jennifer Capriati (7), United States vs. Nadia Petrova, Russia
Petrova is just blasting through her part of the draw winning her last five sets 6-0, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. You just have to sit up and pay attention when someone is playing that kind of dominant tennis even when they're playing a past champion like Capriati.

Capriati had such an easy match against Julia Vakulenko, I'm not sure we can even tell how Capriati is playing. But we'll find out against Petrova. She's dangerous, but her biggest issue is that she's had too many injuries.

Capriati looks to be through the last eight but will go into this match prepared for a real struggle.
Pick: Capriati

Vera Zvonareva (22), Russia, vs. Venus Williams (3), United States
Last year, Zvonareva took a set from Serena. This year, she plays Venus, only she's now seeded 22. She's one of these improving Russian players who looks to be a constant fourth-round player, and in the next 18 months we'll find out if she's better than that. She's good. I'm not convinced she's going to be a contender in a major, but she's still a teenager and handles the big moments pretty well.

As mentioned earlier, Venus seems to have found a comfort zone. Based on her pattern that once she gets her teeth in a major she doesn't usually lose in the middle rounds, look for Venus to win.
Pick: Venus

Lindsay Davenport (6), United States vs. Conchita Martinez (24), Spain
The big question mark for Davenport is her toe with no day to rest. She really struggled with it in her match against Natalie Dechy. Evidently a nerve is inflamed in her left foot. She was limping noticeably at the end of the match, reminding everybody how little she's played on clay for several years. While she's won a lot of matches on clay this year, it's clearly her least favorite surface and the only major she hasn't won.

Conchita Martinez loves clay. We thought we'd written her off, and here she is in the majors still hanging around. Davenport is going to need patience here. Early in Davenport's career she lost every match to Martinez. It became a matchup Davenport hated. On paper, it's a possible upset. Martinez has not dropped a set the whole tournament.
Pick: Martinez

Magdalena Maleeva (15) Bulgaria, vs. Kim Clijsters (2), Belgium
Kim Clijsters is playing as well as Serena, maybe better. She routed Suarez 6-2, 6-1. Clijsters is a good clay-court player and next faces Maleeva, who was last seen coming off the court looking completely wilted after playing Rita Grande. I think the veteran Bulgarian is headed home after this match.

Kim Clijsters is playing too well to not win this match. I'll be shocked if it's not Clijsters in the quarterfinals. Clijsters seems to be doing everything pretty well.
Pick: Clijsters
 

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Yep, I'd go along with that. One Eurosport commentator has put a bet on Petrova to win the whole thing, so watch out for her against Capriati. Normally I wouldn't set much stall by his opinion, but when you consider that last year he also placed a wager on Costa midway through the men's tournament...
 

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SERENA and JUSTINE

are still the ones to beat.

Serena: she won it. she has the best serve. when in a grand slam she BRINGS IT!

Justine: she can play! she's developed this wicked atp-like forehand. WOW!

---

Venus:: her movement sucks on clay and some of her balls land just too short....she's my fave forever and i hope she wins it nevertheless.

Lindsay's hitting cleanly but i don't see her winning the title.

and for the rest....

chokers!
 

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duh... I bet it was hard to make those predictions... she had to think outside the box... oh Pamela, I really do want your job :rolleyes:
 

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Don't blame her, blame women's tennis. True, it's not the most demanding of tasks trying to predict the second week of a Slam in the women's event, but is that her fault? At least she's suggesting that there might be a couple of upsets along the way.
 

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Well shes not really going out on a lib at all except for perhaps Conchi, but appart from that shes saying nothing that many of us have not said.
 

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The only 2 I would question is Cochi defeating Davenport. I don't think it will happen. Lindsay is a better player than her past matchups with conchita.

Also, I think if Petrova plays well she has a chance against Jen. I think Petrova has improved from the las time I saw her play. She was playing good tennis against Monica. I somehow still do feel that she will not have enough to defeat Capriati, but she probably will rattle her a little.
 

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Hendouble said:
Yep, I'd go along with that. One Eurosport commentator has put a bet on Petrova to win the whole thing, so watch out for her against Capriati. Normally I wouldn't set much stall by his opinion, but when you consider that last year he also placed a wager on Costa midway through the men's tournament...
LOL he placed like a Euro on her at 150/1 and why not, IMO she CAN beat anyone left in the draw

Pam...dont really know her, but still dont really like her, but i take her predictions apart from im going with Petrova and Davenport :)
 

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I agree with all except the Davenport match. I think Pam felt as if she had to pick an upset, so she went with Conchita. Even she doesn't seem convinced in her analysis of the match. Capriati will come out firing and beat Petrova. If an upset will happen, it will be Schnyder over Henin-- but I don't see that happening. I see the top-8 getting through.
 

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I have a question though. If Patty Schnyder is now the best lefty in tennis, how come she has less ranking points than Monica in more than twice as many tournaments? Also, how many Tier I/II Finals has Patty been in during 2003?
 

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disposablehero said:
I have a question though. If Patty Schnyder is now the best lefty in tennis, how come she has less ranking points than Monica in more than twice as many tournaments? Also, how many Tier I/II Finals has Patty been in during 2003?
My questions exactly!!! I think we know who the best lefty on the tour is. ;)
 

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tennisIlove09 said:
Schnyder, with Seles fading, is now the best left-hander in women's tennis.
I don't know about this until Monica retires...
 

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Lindsay will shut Pam's mouth when she beat Martinez. She said that the toe thing was not that serioud and besides that she would do some treatment. Lindsay also said that it's one of those things that appear one day, and dissapear the next one. I strongly believe that if Lindsay is healthy she will win easily

Let's hope so,
Joaco
 

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TM said:
Venus:: her movement sucks on clay and some of her balls land just too short....she's my fave forever and i hope she wins it nevertheless.
Venus movements sucks on clay??

I would have said that last year, but she is sliding very well on the dirt.

Sure, she's no Henin-Hardenne, but she is moving great on it, really sliding into many of her shots, especially the ones up at net.

:worship: :worship: :worship:
 

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When Capriati beats Petrova tomorrow, I am gonna give all of you people who picked her to win some serious negative points:p ! (and you can do the same to me if she actually does win, which I don't think is likely) Jen Jen is playing better than she was in Rome, and seeing as she beat Nadia there, I don't see her loosing this one tomorrow. I think there are two possible upsets for tomorrow:
Conchi def. Davenport (all depends on Lindsay's attitude. Is she sick of Europe yet?:p )

Vera def. Venus (which Venus will show up? Vera has the talent to beat all but the very best Venus, but it would take a Very best Vera to do so)
 

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MY Predictions:

Serena def. Ai 6-4; 6-1 Starts off slowly, then never looks back

Momo def. Serna 4-6; 7-5; 6-3 Momo will show great maturity in nearly loosing a match she should win, but then digging deep and pulling off an ugly win

Juju def. Schnyder 6-4; 7-5 Schnyder will play very well, but Juju is just too good. This should be a very entertaining matchup for me. Two good claycourters

Rubin def. Mandula 6-2; 6-2 Chanda will have the easiest match of the fourth round I think. She has too much power and skill NOT to win

Capriati def. Petrova 7-6(6); 6-3 Petra might win the first set, but has too little experience to uproot a player as much of a fighter as Capriati (or a healthy Seles:p ). I say she builds a lead in the first, then Jenny comes back. Discouraged, her level of play will taper off in the second.

Venus def. Zvonareva 5-7; 6-4; 6-2 Vera has the talent, and likes clay (I think:eek: ), but is a mental nut. She probably won't even win that first set, but I will give it to her anyways, because this match could really go either way. If Vera shows up at her best, she can beat Venus unless the American plays her very best tennis. Unless Venus plays badly however, Vera isn't gonna win with anything short of her smartest, bravest brand of tennis.

Davenport def. Martinez 6-4; 7-5 Kicking and screaming the entire way, but pulling it off

Clijsters def. Maleeva 6-3; 6-2 Might be easier, but Kim is gonna get through pretty easily
 

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The hardest match here will be for Henin, Venus and Petrova but I will still bet on them for upset is just 20% for me.
 

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Pam, would you really call September of 1998, when Patty defeated Graf, the time when "Graf was at the top of her game"? She was losing regularly to much lower ranked players at that point.
 

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Pam i think u're a dumbass... Lindsay will kick Martinez today even if Conchita loves clay.. duh :rolleyes:
 
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