Sunday, September 03, 2006

Day 7: The Shadowboxer

Who's that lurking in the shadows of Arthur Ashe Stadium? Who's that peeking around the umpire's chair on Louis Armstrong?

If it's who it appears to be, then the rest of the ladies had better hold onto their tennis skirts and grip their rackets tightly.

A fierce wind may be about to blow through this tournament.

I said before the Open that if Serena Williams got past Daniela Hantuchova and Ana Ivanovic to reach the Round of 16, then watch out.

Well... it's time to watch out for Serena.

Williams' 6-2/6-4 handling of the talented fireballing Ivanovic had to open quite a few eyes, and maybe even caused a little head shaking, too. For if Serena is playing herself into this tournament (she already looks far more fit than she did at the start of the North American tour), then no one is safe.

Not #1 Amelie Mauresmo, Serena's next opponent, who's already been pushed to three sets in New York by far lesser players than Williams. Not Maria Sharapova, a potential semifinal foe, either. It might be that Williams is really the only person capable of being a "Supernova Blocker" -- a force willfully strong enough to prevent Sharapova from storming into her first slam final since winning Wimbledon in 2004.

In fact, she may be the perfect storm.

Serena Williams with something to prove can be an act of nature quite difficult to restrain... if not impossible. She's been here before. She could do it again.

LOVE-LOVE... the streak of consecutive grand slam champions who saved match points during the tournament ended a while back, but there are now two potential candidates desiring to start it back up again. Shahar Peer saved five MP on Friday against Francesca Schiavone, and then Lindsay Davenport saved two against Katarina Srebotnik on Day 7 in a three-set victory that ended with a final set tie-breaker.
LOVE-15... Mary Pierce's "season-after" year of discontent went fully down in flames in New York on Sunday. After winning the 1st set at 6-4 against Na Li, she was double-bageled and sent packing in the final two sets. Ouch.
15-15... all hail the U.S. Open "Revelation Ladies." It's the Russians. Again. But this time it's not the Russians we've already come to know and love, it's the "other" members of the Horde. The second wave of slam contenders, if you will. At the Open, the likes of Dinara Safina and Anna Chakvetadze are still alive in the Round of 16, with legit shots to both claim quarterfinal berths. Safina plays Virginie Razzano in the 4th Round, while Chakvetadze faces Tatiana Golovin.

Australian Open: Italians
Roland Garros: French
Wimbledon: Serbians
U.S. Open: "other" Russians

30-15... speaking of the Round of 16 (of which I correctly predicted 11, while Pierre totaled 9). A breakdown:

5...Russia (Sharapova, Dementieva, Kuznetsova, Safina, Chakvetadze)
4...France (Mauresmo, Golovin, Rezai, Razzano)
2...USA (Davenport, S.Williams)
1...Belgium (Henin-Hardenne)
1...China (Li)
1...Israel (Peer)
1...Serbia (Jankovic)
1...Switzerland (Schnyder)

#1 Amelie Mauresmo
#2 Justine Henin-Hardenne
#4 Maria Sharapova
#5 Elena Dementieva
#7 Svetlana Kuznetsova
#8 Patty Schnyder
#11 Lindsay Davenport
#13 Dinara Safina
#20 Jelena Jankovic
#21 Shahar Peer
#22 Na Li
#26 Tatiana Golovin
#29 Anna Chakvetadze
#91 Serena Williams
#96 Aravane Rezai
#112 Virginie Razzano

30...Lindsay Davenport
27...Patty Schnyder
27...Amelie Mauresmo
24...Serena Williams
24...Elena Dementieva
24...Na Li
24...Justine Henin-Hardenne
23...Virginie Razzano
21...Jelena Jankovic
21...Svetlana Kuznetsova
20...Dinara Safina
19...Anna Chakvetadze
19...Aravane Rezai
19...Maria Sharapova
19...Shahar Peer
18...Tatiana Golovin


S.Williams d. #1 Mauresmo
#12 Safina d. Razzano
#3 Sharapova d. #24 Li
#23 Chakvetadze d. #27 Golovin
#19 Jankovic d. #6 Kuznetsova
#4 Dementieva d. Rezai
#10 Davenport d. #7 Schnyder
#2 Henin-Hardenne d. #21 Peer

[Men's Bottom Half]
#9 Roddick d. Becker
#15 Hewitt d. #25 Gasquet
Youzhny d. #6 Robredo
#2 Nadal d. Novak

GAME... "And in the cold, cruel world of sports it's time to move on."

...Andre Agassi bid adieu to his tennis career on Sunday after being upset by qualifier Benjamin Becker 7-5/6-7/6-4/7-5. Next came the tearful words for the fans at Arthur Ashe, the limp to the post-match press conference, and the standing ovation from the press corps. A grand career is over... and now it's time to focus on the present and future, not the past.

So, who's up next on Ashe, anyway?

All for Day 7.


Blogger Zidane said...

Well, I don't think Serena will go through. I believe Mauresmo will get what she needs to block Serena. In fact, Maumo is not the same in slams this year, it's hard predicting her to lose so easily. However, with the possible disappearance of Serena, does that mean Sharapova will go straight to the final? Nah, she neer managed to beat Maumo, it will not happen here anyway. Her black dress, though seducing many men, and probably some women too, will not be enough to bother the world #1.

But Maumo won't win the tournament, Davenport will.

Mon Sep 04, 12:02:00 PM EDT  

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