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Wimbledon women's preview:
Venus, Sharapova favored for final clash
Beware of Henin-Hardenne, Mauresmo, Hingis

By Matthew Cronin, TennisReporters. net

The women's Roland Garros title was wide open in one way - the road to the final. However, the road to the championship was very narrow and contained one, hardcore, spirited clay courter who was the favorite going in and titlist going out - Justine Henin-Hardenne. Everyone else proved to be no more than pretenders.

That is not the case at Wimbledon, where all roads are narrow. Only five women have the proper styles to be able to triumph in the House of Williams :) (Venus and Serena have won five out of the last six titles) and three of those are mental question marks. :haha:

The Wimbledon seeding committee needs to develop a more radical formula to seed the women. Here's how I would have radically placed the Top 10, taking into account rankings, recent form and grass court prowess.

1. Venus Williams
2. Maria Sharapova

3. Amelie Mauresmo
4. Justine Henin-Hardenne
5. Nadia Petrova
6. Martina Hingis
7. Svetlana Kuznetsova
8. Nicole Vaidisova
9. Kim Clijsters
10. Dinara Safina

Defending champ Venus and Sharapova (the '04 winner) can serve big, lace ground strokes and strike fear into their foe's hearts with their burning gazes. Even though Venus is still a bit rusty and isn't serving as well as she can due to an arm injury, and Sharapova is still contending with a sore ankle and is just coming off her first major choke at a Slam, let alone taking a stunning loss to Jamea Jackson at Birmingham.

If they don't get put on the same side of the draw, Sharapova and Venus should play each other in the final, with Venus attempting to do what she did last year against the Russian: relentlessly defend until she exhausts her 19-year-old opponent. Maria will attempt to do what she couldn't last year - serve very big and control points early and often. She needs to win this title very badly, because her chances at the US Open are much less.

Henin-Hardenne has the tools to win, but hasn't shown that her body can keep up with the long, arduous journey from the French winners' circle to Wimbledon's final Saturday. Fortunately for her, RG didn't sap much her of strength like it did last year and she's confident she can get back to the final again. With her slice, quick hands and volleying ability, she could be the first player to go back to back at RG and Wimbledon in the same year since Steffi Graf (’96, ’95, ’93, ’88).

Mauresmo can serve and volley, but doubts about her psychological condition arose again after another Parisian meltdown and then a loss to Natalie Dechy at Eastbourne. The No. 1 could be in for another swoon. Vaidisova has the serve and smoking groundies to pull a Sharapova, but her nerves are in question.

Kuznetsova is a fine volleyer who has reached the quarters before, but her overly western forehand is less effective on turf. The speedy Clijsters is good enough to beat anyone outside of the Top 10 on a mediocre day, but her strokes are too loopy to he effective against elite players on grass. The broad-shouldered Petrova is a terrific all-around player, but her mental state is in flux after her awful first round loss at RG.

The legendary Hingis could certainly reach the semis with the right draw, but it's hard to see her besting Sharapova or Venus if they are playing well. If Safina serves big and keeps points short, the semis are not out of the question.

Don't forget about another big server, German Anna-Lena Groenefeld, and there's no reason to discount Jackson's chances at the second week either. She's moving very well.

If Vera Zvonareva can get her sore toes healthy by next week, her nicely balanced baseline attack could be lethal to a seed. The same goes for the crafty Maria Kirilenko, and I like Flavia Pennetta's approach on this surface, too. I could see Na Li having a minor impact on court (she's made a major impact off court by being the first Chinese woman ever seeded at a Slam) and could also see Ana Ivanovic pulling an upset if she serves very well.
 

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No way should the seedings be changed that radically. But his analysis of the top players is pretty spot on, IMO.
 

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thats a pretty better rank.. if they had been made exceptions.. then those have to apply for everybody..
 

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I'd put Clijsters at fifth - I think he's seriously underestimating her prospects - and bump Kuznetsova a notch up the list, right in front of Hingis. Very good analysis on the whole, though.
 

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loving his outside shot picks
 

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Actually Kuznetsova supposedly has a semi-western forehand.
 

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I would put Hingis much higher.
 

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seriously, his "top 10" are a joke...did he see other players on grass than i did?
for sure,maria and venus are two of the favorites, but i don´t understand why he put clijsters so low and petrova and vaidisova so high...and i mean, petrova didn´t play on grass this year so far i guess...strange thing!!
 

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I guess NOONE cares that Sharapova is 1-9 against the trio of Mauresmo. Henin, and Clijsters and that Center Court is Venus Williams' house.
 

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What does he mean by three of those are mental question marks?
 

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venus_rulez said:
What does he mean by three of those are mental question marks?
yeah i didn't really get that either...like, maybe he's counting 02-04 where Serena and Venus had to play each other, and then 04 where Serena never really came out of the locker room?

I also love how people just BLATANTLY ignore what Venus and Serena have done on the tennis court. I.E. Serena's back to back RG and wimby titles in 02, and the fact that Venus is the defending Champion STILL people call JHH, Clijsters, Mauresmo and Sharpie the favorites over her. Da Nile ain't just a river in Egypt people!!!!!
 

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K-Dog said:
didn't Serena go back to back at RG and Wimbledon in 2002? CRONIN IS AN IDIOT!!
That's what I was thinking :scratch:
 

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Hots4Safin said:
yeah i didn't really get that either...like, maybe he's counting 02-04 where Serena and Venus had to play each other, and then 04 where Serena never really came out of the locker room?

I also love how people just BLATANTLY ignore what Venus and Serena have done on the tennis court. I.E. Serena's back to back RG and wimby titles in 02, and the fact that Venus is the defending Champion STILL people call JHH, Clijsters, Mauresmo and Sharpie the favorites over her. Da Nile ain't just a river in Egypt people!!!!!
Did he say that?
 

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i kind of like this article, but jon, get your shit right. serena has been the most recent to go back to back, not steffi graf you fucking idiot.
 
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