Sunday, August 26, 2007

US OPEN 2007: Women's Top 10 Preview

by Mad Professah

1 J. HENIN. The World No. 1 was a finalist at every Grand Slam last year, winning only on her beloved red clay in Paris. The Belgian's half of the draw contains both Serbian players Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, as well as both Williams sisters, as well as other hard hitters like Tatiana Golovin, Marion Bartoli, Lucia Safarova and Dinara Safina. For the third time in a row, Serena and Justine are slated to meet in a quarterfinal showdown at a Grand Slam. The first two were won by Justine. I don't think that Serena should even be playing this tournament, since she has only played one match since injuring her left thumb against Daniela Hantuchova at Wimbledon, where she lost to Justine. However, I really can't believe that Justine can make it through this draw to get to the final again.

2 M. SHARAPOVA. The "Golden Girl" of the WTA has a gift-wrapped draw in which in her half is lacking almost all of the hard-hitting seeds. In Sharapova's half she has coming-back-from-illness Nicole Vaidisova, solid but streaky Anna Chakvetadze and always sneaky Martina Hingis in addition to 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. None of these players should really prevent her from getting to her second consecutive U.S. Open final. Finalist or Champion.

3 J. JANKOVIC. The hard-hitting Serb is starting to get eclipsed by her younger countrywoman, particularly at the Slams. Jankovic lost the WTA Tier 1 Rogers Cup final to Justine Henin, the seventh time she has lost to the Belgian in seven times. Quarterfinalist or Champion.

4 S. KUZNETSOVA. The mentally fragile Russian is one of the few hard-hitting players in the current defending champion's half who can outhit Sharapova and she has won this title before. However, her focus seems to have slipped recently as her fitness level has noticeably decreased. Semifinalist.

5 A. IVANOVIC. Last year's winner of the US Open Series wasn't able to defend her title this summer but she did win a title and has already proven that she is worthy of her Top 5 status. Mad Professah is a big fan of the Serbian sisters but I'm hoping that it's the older sister that makes her big breakthrough in New York, although I wouldn't be surprised if the pretty younger sister slips through instead to take the whole enchilada.
Quarterfinalist or Semifinalist.

6 A. CHAKVETADZE. Anna started the hard court season as the hottest player on the tour by winning two tournaments in a row (Cincinnati and Stanford). Quarterfinalist.

7 A. MAURESMO. The former World No. 1 pulled out of the last Grand Slam of the year a few weeks ago with an injury.

8 N. PETROVA. Set to tussle with Daniela Hantuchova in the Round of 16. Has the game to do well on hard courts but not the mental fortitude to do well among all the glitz and attention of New York. Fourth Round of Quarterfinalist.

9 S. WILLIAMS. Serena shouldn't even be playing in this tournament. She hasn't played a tour match since losing to Henin at Wimbledon. A Melbourne Miracle will not be repeated. Early Round Loss.

10 D. HANTUCHOVA. The svelt Slovak is in the Golden Girl's lower half but is likely to meet another -ova in the fourh round, Nadia Petrova in the Round of 16. I believe she will get past that round, but not the next round against another Russian in the quarters. Quarterfinalist.


Karen said...

Hey Mad, I have to disagree with your comments regarding Serena. With pride on the line I doubt if Serena would really choose to play if she did not believe that she had a chance. If she is being over confident so be it, but I think she has a chance. I saw her today on CBS during the Arthur Ashe kids and she was on target for almost every forehand and backhand. She beat, Hantuchova, Nadal and Roger. That is saying something about her.

Craig Hickman said...

Sometimes we forget that Serena is the Hardcourt Queen. She owns five hardcourt Slams and several Miami titles.

I think she'll be just fine in New York.

Karen said...

I was just over by Bodo's blog and man let me tell you they are writing off Serena and just giving Justine all the props in the world. Someone named "Bob" posted that if it was not for a lucky let cord Justine would have beaten Serena in Miami. How many let cords were there in that match. Must have been a lot for Serena to come storming back, save 2 match points, break and hold and win the second set and then storm back in the third set. It must have been something else that allowed her to almost beat the No. 1 player in the world with one hand tied behind her back and hopping on 1 1/2 legs, so much so that to this day she still talks about the mental and physical effort that that match took out of her. Tell me that Serena is not in this girl's head. These players are really mentally weak. Go Serena. Fear no one.

Mad Professah said...

We'll see... I may modify my predictions after the first two rounds.

I just believe that if Serena were even close to being match-ready she would have played Pilot Pen. I think the only reason she didnt withdraw is because of the USTA tribute to Althea Gibson.

Craig Hickman said...

Others have pointed out the same thing, Mad. I guess we'll see.

Craig Hickman said...

Mad, how do you see Venus faring this year?