I really, really hope so. After almost six years as a pro player (has it really been that long?) Anna is overdue for a tournament win. Yet, I wouldn't necessarily hand Anna the title just yet. She still has to win three more matches before she can claim the title and the competition is pretty tough.
Anna has been in this position before. At the Seat Open in 2000, she blew through the draw including a defeat of defending champion Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals. It looked like she was ready to claim her first title. Then in the semifinals, she lost to Maleeva 3 and 4. Sometimes, it appears that Anna's nerves really get the best of her.
Yet, I have to admire her determination to overcome a horrible injury and regain her pre-injury form. She played throughout the fall during the indoor season and in exhibition matches. She skipped Christmas to go to Auckland and train for this tournament, which demonstrates her resolve to show her critics that she is serious about her tennis.
I really hope that in a few days Anna will be holding up that championship trophy as the 2002 Auckland champion. I also hope that her nerves and resolve will be able to get her through these matches. Considering Anna's current ranking, this tournament may be her best chance this year to get that much desired tournament win. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
apoet29, you are totally right! Everything you said in your post, is correct. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
One thing I should also mention, this is the smallest WTA event Anna has played in her career. She has never played below Tier III until now. In fact, in the past she mainly plays Tier I and Tier II. I think that was a mistake, she should have started out with the smaller events and then worked her way up. However, there is now no seeds left in her portion of the draw. In the bottom half, Nagyova (whom I considered the biggest threat) has also been eliminated. That leaves Kremer and Panova as the top seeds. At filderstadt, Anna lost to Kremer 7-5 in the third set, but played an awful match, including 25 double faults. So, if Anna can come close to beating her at 30% of her full ability, she should have no problem being fully healthy. She hasn't faced her next opponent, Gagliardi before, but Anna is fully capable of beating her. Again, the nerves thing might do her in but I think she's ready to hold the winner's trophy at last! <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
I also agree with your points Vanity! While I admired Anna's ambition of wanted a higher tiered event as her first tournament win, she didn't seemed to realize that she had to work her way up to winning those types of events. With the top seeds gone, this is really the best opportunity that Anna has ever had to win a tournament. The only real threat to her may be Talaja, who has beaten Anna before. Hopefully though, Anna will make it through. We'll just have to wait and see.
I keep forgetting about Talaja!!! <img src="eek.gif" border="0"> <br />She had a rotten 2001 though... but she might be refreshed now. However, either way, I think Anna can do it! <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
After a good 2000, Talaja suffered some bad injuries, which she had a difficult time recovering from. Silvia had to go through qualifying to get into the main draw. So if indeed Talaja does reach the final, she may be too tired to play an aggressive Anna. All we can do is wait and see, which of course, is half the fun.