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Upsets clear path for Clijsters

Jon Wertheim, SI.com






On Sunday, two of America's French Open hopes, No. 3 seed Venus Williams and No. 7 seed Jennifer Capriati, were sent packing. SI.com caught up with Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim to get his take on these upsets.

SI.com: How surprising is it that neither Venus nor Capriati survived the fourth round of a tournament in which both have played in the final?

Jon Wertheim: Ironically, I think Venus losing is the lesser of the two upsets. First off, she lost to Vera Zvonareva, a player who is destined for the top 10. Plus, she really hasn't been herself this tournament and isn't nearly the player she was a year ago, let alone two years ago. Venus had already dropped a set to Evie Dominikovic, so when she loses on clay to a young baseliner like Zvonareva, it's surprising but not shocking.

Capriati's loss is shocking. She'd been playing well and, remember, won this tournament only two years ago. And the player who beat her, Nadia Petrova, isn't nearly the player Zvonareva is, or at least will be.

SI.com: Do you think Capriati became complacent after resurrecting her career and winning the Australian and French opens in 2001?

Wertheim: I do think Capriati became a little bit complacent. She hasn't won a tournament since the Australian Open last year, and her work ethic tends to go up and down. Also, she never really has learned to give opponents proper respect in terms of scouting them. She didn't tend to pick up on what Petrova was doing Sunday, and I think that hurt her as much as anything.

SI.com: It seems like Venus almost has given up in the face of Serena's four straight Slams. Has she lost that drive and begun to focus on other things?

Wertheim: I don't know what's up with Venus Williams and I don't think anyone does. After the loss Sunday she actually said she felt like she was making progress, which is just a bizarre comment to make by someone who used to win Grand Slams and is now going out in the fourth round. I think it had to have wounded her that Serena has won four straight majors, not necessarily that Serena has beaten Venus four times in a row, but just that Serena is doing so much of the winning. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, whether Venus can regroup or if we've seen the last of her success -- because right now it looks like her game is really headed south.

SI.com: Are the American women entering the kind of clay drought that the American men long have been in?

Wertheim: I don't think the American women are going by way of the American men on clay. Chanda Rubin is still in this; Lindsay Davenport had a bad toe, so we'll sort of excuse her; Laura Granville, Venus, Serena -- it's not the same situation as the men, where once again by the second Saturday only one American, Andre Agassi, was left. Agassi is doing wonderfully, but he is 33.

SI.com: Who benefits most from the ousters of Capriati and Venus?

Wertheim: The big winner in Sunday's madness is No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters, who now plays Conchita Martinez for a spot in the semifinals and then the Zvonareva-Petrova winner in the semis. She certainly couldn't have asked for more than that. Clijsters is somebody a lot of people are picking to break out here, and it certainly seems like she has a golden opportunity. Serena, on the other hand, has to play Amélie Mauresmo and then likely Justine Henin-Hardenne and Clijsters -- the last three players to have beaten her. So if Serena can win this, she will really have made a statement. Clijsters should cruise to the final, then she'll just have to lay it out there and see what happens.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim is in Paris covering the French Open for the magazine and will file regular reports from Roland Garros.
 

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I don't think Martinez is an easy opponent on clay.
 

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Hagar said:
I don't think Martinez is an easy opponent on clay.
:wavey:

It all depends, a good Clijsters still shouldn't have too many problems. I just regret the missed opportunity to get bonus points for beating high ranked players
 

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Hagar said:
I don't think Martinez is an easy opponent on clay.
it always depends on wich conchita shows up.

with conchita you never know :eek:
 

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I think Kim starts as the favourite but so far her form has not convinced me yet. You never know what good old Conchita comes up with. And the match will probably be played on the Suzanne Lenglen and Kim doesn't like that court, she said in an interview.
 

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I don't know about Conchita?. Watched
Conchita vs LD and she was in one of those
"Vamos Espana Fed Cup!!" type moods. LD was
cleary injured, but Conchita was still punching
her fists vamosing away. It could be get very interesting
for us neutral viewers. :)
 

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rain is not in kim's advantage :eek:
 

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Oh well, I'm sure it will be an interesting match. We'll find out the result soon ;)
 

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Greenout said:
I don't know about Conchita?. Watched
Conchita vs LD and she was in one of those
"Vamos Espana Fed Cup!!" type moods. LD was
cleary injured, but Conchita was still punching
her fists vamosing away. It could be get very interesting
for us neutral viewers. :)
Conchita has a good record against Lind Z, so mentally she's ready, the reason why she played well. :worship:
 

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Basictennis,

Conchita was on a losing streak to LD.
The last time she beat LD was back in 1998!!!!
All she knew was that she never lost to LD on clay.

Conchita has only played Kim 3 times. All on hardcourt.
She lost the last two meetings. We're talking clay this
week. I think Conchita will be up for Kim's battle. What
do you think that 6-0 choke-a-ton with 4 DF's in a row
against Maggie yesterday tells Conchita about Kim?
Conchita is a very smart player. The other thing- it
rained a while ago. The courts won't be playing so dry
on Tuesday. It should be an interesting match.
 

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Exactly, the mere fact that Conchita knows that it's Lind Z worst surface gave her the mental edge already.;)

It would be different story against Kim because Conchita knows what Kim can produce on clay....she's young, quick and fearless.;)
 

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I don't think that Capriati's loss is that much of a shock. She has been playing well recently, but to me she's still on a comeback trail from her erratic form at the end of last year. The consistency will come.

Anyway, Petrova has produced some great tennis in this tournament so it's not like JenCap lost out to a player much less good than her.
 

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I keep saying that a lot depends on how conchita comes out of bed tomorrow early

that's not to bash. I have seen to many matches were she didn't seemed to care and also when she does care and that difference is not to overlook!
 

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Basictennis;

but what in the world was the 6-0 first set to Maggie
yesterday really about then? It was 4 double faults
on her own serve! Fearless? It was more like fearful
yesterday.
 

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There mere fact that an ON JenCap lost to a lady whom she described as "ON" is a clear indication that JenCap is stuck to her own level of play; no improvement thus far.:devil:
 

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Greenout said:
Basictennis;

but what in the world was the 6-0 first to Maggie
yesterday really about then? It was 4 double faults
on her own serve! Fearless? It was more like fearful
yesterday.
Kim has practiced her mental toughness in that match in preparation for Conchita. :worship:
 

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Watch out for a big upset against Kim. :eek:

Although its nice to see most of the posters here actually givig Conchita a chance - thanks guys! :kiss:
 

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tennisIlove09 said:
Upsets clear path for Clijsters

Jon Wertheim, SI.com






On Sunday, two of America's French Open hopes, No. 3 seed Venus Williams and No. 7 seed Jennifer Capriati, were sent packing. SI.com caught up with Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim to get his take on these upsets.

SI.com: How surprising is it that neither Venus nor Capriati survived the fourth round of a tournament in which both have played in the final?

Jon Wertheim: Ironically, I think Venus losing is the lesser of the two upsets. First off, she lost to Vera Zvonareva, a player who is destined for the top 10. Plus, she really hasn't been herself this tournament and isn't nearly the player she was a year ago, let alone two years ago. Venus had already dropped a set to Evie Dominikovic, so when she loses on clay to a young baseliner like Zvonareva, it's surprising but not shocking.

Capriati's loss is shocking. She'd been playing well and, remember, won this tournament only two years ago. And the player who beat her, Nadia Petrova, isn't nearly the player Zvonareva is, or at least will be.

SI.com: Do you think Capriati became complacent after resurrecting her career and winning the Australian and French opens in 2001?

Wertheim: I do think Capriati became a little bit complacent. She hasn't won a tournament since the Australian Open last year, and her work ethic tends to go up and down. Also, she never really has learned to give opponents proper respect in terms of scouting them. She didn't tend to pick up on what Petrova was doing Sunday, and I think that hurt her as much as anything.

SI.com: It seems like Venus almost has given up in the face of Serena's four straight Slams. Has she lost that drive and begun to focus on other things?

Wertheim: I don't know what's up with Venus Williams and I don't think anyone does. After the loss Sunday she actually said she felt like she was making progress, which is just a bizarre comment to make by someone who used to win Grand Slams and is now going out in the fourth round. I think it had to have wounded her that Serena has won four straight majors, not necessarily that Serena has beaten Venus four times in a row, but just that Serena is doing so much of the winning. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, whether Venus can regroup or if we've seen the last of her success -- because right now it looks like her game is really headed south.

SI.com: Are the American women entering the kind of clay drought that the American men long have been in?

Wertheim: I don't think the American women are going by way of the American men on clay. Chanda Rubin is still in this; Lindsay Davenport had a bad toe, so we'll sort of excuse her; Laura Granville, Venus, Serena -- it's not the same situation as the men, where once again by the second Saturday only one American, Andre Agassi, was left. Agassi is doing wonderfully, but he is 33.

SI.com: Who benefits most from the ousters of Capriati and Venus?

Wertheim: The big winner in Sunday's madness is No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters, who now plays Conchita Martinez for a spot in the semifinals and then the Zvonareva-Petrova winner in the semis. She certainly couldn't have asked for more than that. Clijsters is somebody a lot of people are picking to break out here, and it certainly seems like she has a golden opportunity. Serena, on the other hand, has to play Amélie Mauresmo and then likely Justine Henin-Hardenne and Clijsters -- the last three players to have beaten her. So if Serena can win this, she will really have made a statement. Clijsters should cruise to the final, then she'll just have to lay it out there and see what happens.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim is in Paris covering the French Open for the magazine and will file regular reports from Roland Garros.
This man doesn't give too much credit to Conchi ir the Russias, does he??
 

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irma said:
I keep saying that a lot depends on how conchita comes out of bed tomorrow early

that's not to bash. I have seen to many matches were she didn't seemed to care and also when she does care and that difference is not to overlook!
I agree with you.

Kim is the favourite tomorrow, but there's no denying Conchita's experience. She has the kind of career results that Clijsters ought to aspire to. Not to be underestimated by any means.
 
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