Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eye on the Big Apple - Day one wrap up!

The first women's match on Arthur Ashe saw women's third seed Maria Sharapova come with in a whisker of being a huge upset. The Wimbledon runner up struggled with her play throughout the match as she took over two and half hours to dispatch 19 year old Heather Watson, 3-6 7-5 6-3. Sharapova was plagued with unforced errors during her match, hitting an astonishing 58.

Petra Kvitova, who defeated Sharapova to claim her first major title at Wimbledon, was not as fortunate as the Russian in her first round match. Kvitova's tough match up which was always a possibility for a surprise saw Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru victorious 7-6 6-3. Dulgheru has been suffering injury since the beginning of the clay season, but seems to be finding her way back into form. Petra did put in a good bid for the unforced error count, but fell short only managing 52.

Only playing her 11th match of the season, Venus Williams was not expected to perform well in any aspect. The seven time slam champion, served very well in her 6-4 6-3 victory over Vesna Dolonts. Speak of Venus; for the fashionista's amongst us, she didn't look to trashy and I liked the dress from the front...I just hope she doesn't turn around!

Agnieszka wan the battle of the Radwanska's while Madison Keys, Laura Robson, Julia Goerges, Vera Zvonareva, Tsvetana Pironkova, Marion Bartoli, Dominika Cibulkova and Samantha Stosur all posted sound wins.

US Open Series surprise packet, Christina McHale won a tough three set match over Canadian qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak, 6-3 6-7 6-4.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Concrete Jungle...2011 US Open Draw Preview and Analysis.

Well, well, we are here again, time for the final slam of year. And the draw is out! As a Serena fan, I love the draw! Lucinda, as a Vika fan is not a happy camper! Unfortunately this years US Open will be with out two time defending champion Kim Clijsters, as an abdominal injury ruled her out a little over a week ago. Before looking at a possible champion, you have to take into account to stand outs of the US Open series, this year US Open Series champion Serena Williams (who as the possibility of a one million dollar bonus, if she wins the US Open), Agnieska Radwanska and Andrea Petkovic has all impressed during the series and will be eager to back that up at the open. Women's world number and top seed Caroline Wozniacki has been in a form slump lately and an unfavourable US Open draw won't help with that. For the fith consecutive slam Wozniacki will be looking to claim her maiden slam title and back up her number one rank. Well now here it goes!

First Quarter

Well obviously we have Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter, as well as Daniela Hantuchova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Andrea Petkovic, Roberta Vinci and Li Na. In the second round Woniacki will come up against Arantxa Run, remember her? The Dutch girl who took down Clijsters at Roland Garros? Yeah, this match up will be interesting! I would expect Kuznetsova and Hantuchova to meet in the third round with the winner would likely face Caroline Wozniacki which would be a good match up! Hantuchova was Wozniacki's defeater at Roland Garros. In the lower sector it does seem to be all about Li Na and Andrea Petkovic who look poised for a fourth round clash, although Roberta Vinci could challenge Petkovic in the third round.

Predicted QF - Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Andrea Petkovic

Second Quarter

 Two words, Serena Williams. The only obsticale that seems to be stopping Serena from the quarter final is Victoria Azarenka, who has challenged Serena greatly on hard courts before, mainly at the Australia Open though but also at Miami, where Azarenka defeated Williams handily in 2009. The winner of the Azarenka/Williams match up be honest, could face anyone in the 4th round, the seed to do so, Ana Ivanovic has been handed a challenging draw, where she could play Czech Petra Cetkovska in the 2nd round. Cetkovska defeated Ivanovic at Wimbledon this year. The lower section of the quarter stars Jelena Jankovic, Anastasia Pavlyucenkova and Francesca Schiavone where any woman could prevail

Predicted QF - Serena Williams vs Jelena Jankovic.

Third Quarter

 The bottom half of the draw is very open, with many dangerous players floating around. In the third quarter we have Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Peng Shuai, Julia Goerges and Maria Sharapova. But also includes possible dangerous lower ranked players Virginie Razzano, former US Open semi finalist Yanina Wickmayer and Lucie Safarova. With the current form of Agnieszka Radwanska you could assume she would make the fourth round to likely play Petra Kvitova. The lower sector of the quarter would look like its going to be all about Maria Sharapova, however Peng Shuai and Julia Goerges could both produce tennis to test the Russian star.

Predicted QF - Agnieszka Radwanska vs Maria Sharapova

Fourth Quarter

The quarter is very interesting, Christina McHale and Marion Bartoli could face in round 2. Nadia Petrova and Samantha Stosur could face on in round three. The lower section features Cibulkova, Venus Williams, Sabine Lisicki, Anabelle Medina Garrigues and Vera Zvonareva. It is all very much up for grabs. Williams has not played since Wimbledon, Zvonareva made the semi's of Cincinnati last week but has been less than impressive since the start of the clay season. Lisicki and Cibulkova impressed at Wimbledon in the US Open Series Cibulkova was hampered by injury and Lisicki had mediocre performances.

Predicted QF - Nadia Petrova vs Anabelle Medina Garrigues 

QF predictions

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Andrea Petkovic

Kuznetsova, the former champ and Andrea Petkovic the quirky dancing queen. Petko has been on fire this US Open series making semis at two of her events and quarters in the other. She has played well on hard courts all year with a final in Brisbane, QF in the AO and Semis in Miami. I think it will be pretty hard to look past Petkovic for this match, and well, say hello to your first slam semi Andrea!

Serena Williams vs Jelena Jankovic

I doubt it will be as close or as entertaining as their 2009 US Open final, I do think Serena will win with much greater ease, and I am not just saying that because I am a fan of Serena...okay well maybe I am! But Its great Jelena made the final of Cincinnati and yes, I probably am getting to far ahead of myself and herself to predict her to male the quarters of slam, giving the semis at Cincy is about the first impact she has made on the tour for...well, a while. Serena in an easy two sets...probably two and three or something like that.

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Maria Sharapova

Well I am going to go out on a huge limb here and I am going to go right ahead and say, even injurd and what not, I thing Aggie will be winning this match. She has become a new woman dropping Daddy Radwanska as her coach and she is playing like a new woman. And well Maria is still inconsistent and carrying her unrelaiable sereve, as we saw in Toronto, it can all come crashing down. Aggie in three...maybe but why not play it safe and flip a coin...oh look Maria in three.

Nadia Petrova vs Anabelle Medina Garrigues 

I still don't know why. Or who. Or why. Maybe I did this for fun, because that's how open I thought this draw would be? Hahaha, I really have no idea. I suppose Petrova will win, but I also suppose this would never happen!

SF predictions

Andrea Petkovic vs Serena Williams

Serena is just so hard to stop at these stages of the majors. Andrea will put up a stern fight but will fall short of what is one of the toughest challenges in women's tennis. Serena to make her return to slam finals winning in two tighter sets.

Maria Sharapova vs Nadia Petrova


Runner Up
Maria Sharapova

Serena Williams

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Jankovic Saga: Resurgent JJ?

Once upon a 2007 a 22 year old Jelena Jankovic showed great promise and talent to reach the Roland Garros semi final and US Open quarter final to finish the year ranked third in the world. The following year Jelena made and impressive semi final or better finish at 3 grand slams as well as going down to Serena Williams in a closely contested entertaining US Open final 4-6 5-7. These combined successes saw Jankovic finish the year as the world number one.

In more recent time, especially this year, Jankovic has been inconsistent and appeared uninterested in tennis. Even admitting that at the moment tennis is not her top priority. And yes even I am guilty of calling for her to retire or take a break, as are many other. Until this week Jankovic had not won a tennis match since Roland Garros. Suddenly and since rehiring Ricardo Sanchez, the man who took her to number 1, as her coach Jelena finds herself in the final of the Western & Southern Open scoring wins over 2010 French Open champ Francesca Schiavone and inform Andrea Petkovic.

In tomorrows final Jankovic will take on fourth seeded Maria Sharapova, who won in scrappy performance over world number two Vera Zvonareva 2-6 6-3 6-3. The final will be a great test for Jankovic and I would love nothing more than for her to win the final, get her career back on track and win a slam or two. I hope that this isn't just a once off thing...I would like to see more of you in deep section of tournaments Jelena.

So Jelena best of luck for tomorrow and even better wishes for the US Open.

Oh and just to prove how committed she is to tennis, Jelena has accepted a Wild Card to play New Haven, I hope her plan wont back fire on her.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Clijsters withdraws from US Open

The three-times US Open champion Kim Clijsters will not defend her title after failing to recover from a stomach muscle injury. It has been an injury-hit season for the world No3, who missed most of the clay-court season and Wimbledon with an ankle injury before being forced out of last week's tournament in Toronto with the stomach problem.

The US Open was the stage on which Clijsters announced her return to the game after two and a half years in retirement in spectacular fashion in 2009. Only a month after returning to the Tour, she beat both Venus and Serena Williams, the latter in a semi-final that became famous for Williams's abuse of a lineswoman, before defeating Caroline Wozniacki to secure her second grand slam title.

She successfully defended the crown 12 months ago, beating Vera Zvonareva in the final, before winning her first grand slam title outside America at the Australian Open in January. Clijsters reclaimed the world No1 ranking and looked set to be the player to beat in 2011 before injury struck in a most unusual way as the 28-year-old sustained a serious ankle injury while dancing at a cousin's wedding.

The US Open tournament director, Jim Curley, said: "It is unfortunate that Kim has not recovered from her injury in time to defend her US Open title. We wish her a full and speedy recovery and look forward to her return to New York next year."

With Kim's career turning into another injury prone saga, one has to assume weather she will make 2012 Olympics.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Now we're free falling.

McHale def (1) Wozniacki  6-4 7-5.

Serena withdrew...wise move, got the points, got the seed and get the rest!

Vika's out injurd too.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Serena conquered Canada, bring on Cinci!

Serena Williams has confirmed why she is the greatest of her generation once more. Every player in the top 20 entered Toronto but it was world number 80, Serena Williams who came out on top. After losing sets in the third round and quarter finals Williams powered her way to defeat 4th (Victoria Azarenka) and 10th (Samantha Stosur) seeded players in the semi's and final, losing just six games in each straight set victory.

After missing a whole year due to injury Williams made a comeback during the grass court season making the 4th round of Wimbledon. During her lengthy injury time off Williams survived a near death experience with a haematoma and had down proven once again, never discount Serena Williams.

Winning the final in Toronto 6-4 6-2 of Australian Stosur is the second Rogers Cup title for Williams, the first coming 10 years ago after beating Jennifer Capriati in the final. It is also Williams' 39th career titleand is projected to let her rise to 31 in the world rankings on Monday...hello US Open seeding.

The Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati begins play tomorrow, although missing from the field is defending champ Kim Clijsters, red hot Anginezka Radwanska and seven time slam champ Venus Williams.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Abdominal injury stops Clijsters in Canada.

Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams looked set for third round battle at the Rogers Cup this year. Williams so far has held up her end of the bargain with an impressive 6-0 6-3 46 minute match win over Alona Bondarenko (which included a 16 minute first set) while Clijsters was unlucky to be hit with yet another injury. This time and abdominal injury forced her to retire leading Zheng Jie 6-3 1-2.

The new worrying injury concern comes three weeks out from the US Open where Clijsters is still expected to attempt to defend her title...again. In her first tournament since missing two months (and Wimbledon) due to a foot injury Clijsters is slightly under a cloud for the US Open. An impressive start to the year saw Kim make three consecutive finals and win the Australian Open, however her season as been dismal since the Paris final in February making just one tournament quarter final since.

Recent inducte to the top 10, Andrea Petkovic scored a 6-2 6-2 victory over Canadian wild card Eugenie Bouchard. Other Canadians Alrksandra Wozniak andStephanie Dubois scored 6-1 6-0 and 7-6 6-1 victories respectively and will now face 10th seeded Samantha Stosur and 4th seeded Victoria Azarenka respectively.

Australians Jelena Dokic and Jarmila Gadjasova lost 0-2 ret and 1-6 2-6 respectively 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Melanie Oudin only blames herself for recent struggles.


Even though she is on a four-match losing streak and has seen her ranking drop to No. 111, American teenager Melanie Oudin says that she will make no changes to her team or ask anyone else for help. The 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinalist says that she striking the ball well in practice, but is focusing too much on the score in matches. On Tuesday at the Mercury Insurance Open in San Diego, Elena Baltacha walloped her, 6-0 6-1, in less than an hour.

"I feel like it’s about my figuring it out and I can’t get down on myself every time I lose," she told "I don’t feel like it’s somebody else’s fault. Some players when they do well, they just blame the coach. But I'm smart enough to realize that it’s not the coach. It’s all on me."

Oudin has been coached by South African Brian de Villiers since she's been a junior. The Fed Cupper says that USTA Player Development has reached out to her, but she's not ready to accept a helping hand.

After Wimbledon, Oudin took a 10-day vacation the Bahamas with her twin sister Katherine and felt like she had cleared her head, but the results have not shown up yet.

"When I practice I’m relaxed and hitting freely," said Oudin, who will try and qualify for Toronto next week. "But in matches I have to forget about winning or losing, but that is way easier said that done. It’s mental.”

Stephens shines on home turf.

American teenager Sloane Stephens completed one of the first major upsets at the Mercury Insurance Open on Wednesday morning with a 6-3 7-5 victory over seventh-seeded Julia Goerges.

With the win, the 18-year-old Stephens won consecutive matches in the main draw of a WTA event for the first time in her career and got her first win against a top-20 player.

Goerges continues to struggle, having lost her first match at four of her last five tournaments. The German showed several signs of strain Wednesday, complaining about numerous calls and appearing frustrated by Stephens' effective defensive slices.

Stephens managed to break Goerges twice in the first set, and after the two players traded breaks in the second, Stephens broke to go up 6-5. Stephens won on double-match point when Goerges pulled a forehand wide.

Stephens is one a few promising American stars in the Mercury Insurance open, Christina McHale being one of them one her first round match 6-0 6-0 over fellow American, Zoe Gwen Scandalis.

The Australian's didn't fair so well as Jelena Dokic and Jarmila Gajdasova both lost their opening round matches. Dokic's loss sets Ayumi Morita up with a rematch with Ana Ivanovic. Morita defeated Ivanovic in Stanford just last week. Random fact, Ivanovic has now faced a Japanese opponent for her first match in every American tournament this year.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The week (and a bit) that was

  • Zovareva may have won Baku, but it was Pav who lead the charge for double faults
  • Sports Ilistrated got the inside scoup on the latest golf/tennis love affair...does Caroline know Rory?
  • Serena showed off the Crique du Soliel performer with in during WTT. Speaking of Serena, looks like she has decided to care outside of slams now.
  • Kim Clijsters withdrew from San Diego but says she'll play Rogers Cup
  • The WTA welcomed Washington, Petrova welcomed it to
  • Radwanska got an actual coach, ate cheesecake and rumour has it, she could be getting herself a sponsor next year :D 
  • Alicia Molik is pregnant.
  • This Serena-Maria article is great, excellent piece. 
  • Petko is set to rise to the top 10. After Sam Stosur falls out, back to where she belongs. 
  • The stars got locked up 
  • And as I hit publish post Marion and Serena are tied at 5-5 first set