Friday, August 05, 2016

Rio Olympic Medal Picks

The Rio draws are set, and the battle for the big necklaces is about to get underway.

It wasn't easy for some of the players to even GET to Brazil...

But many of the committed were willing to go to any lengths necessary to make the trip...

Others took the time to get in some additional on-court action (and selfies) before boarding their plane...

While others could hardly wait to make a little history...

And then there was Daria Gavrilova...

Though, I'm not sure the big 'roo is going to help her much in Rio... as she was the one who drew the REALLY short straw on draw-making day.

Rio Olympics (Hard Court)

#1 S.Williams/USA d. #15 Svitolina/UKR
#6 Vinci/ITA d. #11 Kvitova/CZE
#14 Pavlyuchenkova/RUS d. #3 Muguruza/ESP
#5 V.Williams/USA d. #12 Bacsinszky/SUI
#7 Keys/USA d. #9 Suarez-Navarro/ESP
Kasatkina/RUS d. #16 Strycova/CZE
#8 Kuznetsova/RUS d. #10 Konta/GBR
#2 Kerber/GER d. #13 Stosur/AUS
#1 S.Williams/USA d. #6 Vinci/ITA
#5 V.Williams/USA d. #14 Pavlyuchenkova/RUS
Kasatkina/RUS d. #7 Keys/USA
#2 Kerber/GER d. #8 Kuznetsova/RUS

...Serena tries to become the first player to successfully defend Olympic singles Gold. She enters as the favorite to do so, but there are potential pitfalls along the way (her early-round path starts with Gavrilova and could go through Cornet and Svitolina/Watson). A possible QF with '15 U.S. Open/Grand Slam spoiler Vinci would be quite interesting, to say the least. I'm going with Muguruza's summer slowdown to continue, Venus' summer surge to go on (as long as the "issue" that was hampering her serve in Montreal is taken care of), Kuznetsova to emerge as a possible medal dark horse (she and Myskina are the only "elite" members of the revolutionary Hordette generation without an Olympic medal of any hue) and Radwanska to once again come up short in the games (she lost in the 2nd Rd. in Beijing, 1st Rd. in London). Her shortfall could be Kasatkina's gain. The Russian should face the Pole in the 2nd Round, and could worm her way deep into the draw if she can take her out.

GOLD: #1 Serena Williams, USA
SILVER: #2 Angelique Kerber, GER
BRONZE: Daria Kasatkina, RUS
4th Place: #5 Venus Williams, USA

GOLD: #1 S.Williams/V.Williams, USA
SILVER: Kasatkina/Kuznetsova, RUS
BRONZE: #7 Makarova/Vesnina, RUS
4th Place: #5 Bacsinszky/Hingis, SUI

...the Sisters are the easiest medal pick in all five tennis disciplines. Sure, they COULD lose, but they're 15-0 in Olympic action and a fourth WD Gold would lay down a record total that might just last a lifetime (and maybe more). Yeah, I know, I'm doubling down a bit on Kasatkina at these games, but how much fun would a Dasha/Sveta medal run be? I mean, come on!

#1 Djokovic/SRB d. #5 Tsonga/FRA
#3 Nadal/ESP d. #11 Cuevas/URU
#9 Cilic/CRO d. #4 Nishikori/JPN
#2 Murray/GBR d. #12 Johnson/USA

...for all he's done, Djokovic has a fairly small Olympic footprint (a Bronze in '08, and a loss in the Bronze Match in '12). That all would change with a Gold medal run that would add his name to the short list of players with Career Golden Slams in singles, and the even shorter list of players (Graf, Agassi, S.Williams) with Career Golden Slams AND a season-ending tour championships crown to complete a career singles "Six Pack" of major titles. If the Serb slips (he plays del Potro in the 1st Rd., four years after losing out to the Argentine for the Bronze in London), Murray is suddenly the strong favorite to become the first man (player, if Serena doesn't beat him to it) to defend Olympic singles Gold.

GOLD: #1 Novak Djokovic, SRB
SILVER: #2 Andy Murray, GBR
BRONZE: #9 Marin Cilic, CRO
4th Place: #3 Rafael Nadal, ESP

GOLD: #3 Melo/Soares, BRA
SILVER: #2 A.Murray/J.Murray, GBR
BRONZE: #1 Herbert/Mahut, FRA
4th Place: Marach/Peya, AUT

...Melo/Soares are the best -- and probably only -- hope for the host nation to take home a medal in tennis. The Bryans won in 2012, but aren't in Brazil to defend.

The Mixed Doubles draw will be released next week.

*OLYMPIC TENNIS #1 SEEDS, w/ result*
1984 (demonstration) Kathy Horvath, USA (QF)
1988 Steffi Graf, FRG (Gold)
1992 Steffi Graf, GER (Silver)
1996 Monica Seles, USA (QF)
2000 Lindsay Davenport, USA (2nd Rd - w/d)
2004 Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL (Gold)
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB (w/d)
2012 Victoria Azarenka, BLR (Bronze)
2016 Serena Williams, USA
1984 (demonstration) Jimmy Arias, USA (SF)
1988 Stefan Edberg, SWE (Bronze)
1992 Jim Courier, USA (3rd Rd.)
1996 Andre Agassi, USA (Gold)
2000 Marat Safin, RUS (1st Rd.)
2004 Roger Federer, SUI (2nd Rd.)
2008 Roger Federer, SUI (QF)
2012 Roger Federer, SUI (Silver)
2016 Novak Djokovic, SRB

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

Top 5 to watch. Normally I do 10, but with only half of a slam field, you get half of the picks.

1.S.Williams-The overwhelming favorite. As she won Wimbledon, she is the only woman who could possibly win Wimbledon/Olympics/US Open. She did it in 2012, and Venus in 2000, so might as well expect it here too.
2.Kerber-Not an easy draw, but in 2012, the winners of the first 3 slams ended up on the podium. Wouldn't be a shock to see her up there.
3.Suarez-Navarro-I need to have a South American in here, and Pereira isn't really a threat. Muguruza has Jankovic, which is a tough opener, especially since she did what I expected more players to do-play at Florianopolis. Never will win a slam, so this may be her Dememtieva moment.
4.Konta-Ranked 220 at the time of the London Olympics. Was the 5th highest player from the UK, ironically, the top 4 made it, although none were in the top 64 by the time of the games. Solid summer, and best on hardcourt.
5.Babos-In the final this week, the big drawback is that she is in Serena's section of the draw. Should be ranked higher, but has a Pliskova-like tendency to hold 3 games at love and drop the next out of nowhere.

Fri Aug 05, 09:33:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

5 To Avoid

1.A.Radwanska-I'm putting the A. up there to be funny. Also to mention the fact that Urszula went farther in 2012, losing to Serena 2nd rd. Aga has a horrible matchup against Zheng Saisai, whose style is half Pironkova, half Radwanska. And like Zheng Jie, sometimes comes way in on the second serve.
2.Kasatkina-Her time is coming, probably at the end of this month. Unfortunately, she gets the Zheng/Radwanska winner, plus has Errani and Strycova in her section. She has too many junkballers to get through, so Russia will get banned from the podium-in singles.
3.Keys-Probably the best US hope in 2020, but she gets nervous to the point that she has to experience everything once before she does it well. She will probably lose her first slam final due to cramps or some mysterious injury. Her debut here, as well as Stephens, as they replace McHale and Lepchenko. Maybe 2020 for Vandeweghe?
4.Stephens-Only because of the draw. Opens with Bouchard and 99 pct sure she gets Kerber.
5.Kvitova-Plays Babos, whom she barely squeaked by on grass, and if she gets by her(which I don't expect) she's in Serena's section.

Best 2nd rd match-if it happens? Keys-Mladenovic.

Fri Aug 05, 09:54:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I like your singles picks--Sveta needs a medal! But in doubles, I'm going to go with the Frenchies over the Russians. The doubles draw is quite interesting, as it always is, with so many ad hoc teams competing.

Fri Aug 05, 12:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Wonder why tennisplayers like Aga Vinci and others didn't use a private jet like Serena and Caro who has an abo with Wheels Up - could have saved a lot of frustrations

Fri Aug 05, 01:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I admit I'm probably going with my heart with my Kasatkina picks, but Aga's poor Olympic history got me to go with her out of that section and then "cross my fingers." But I do sort of think, with so many players out for various reasons (London was attended by pretty much everyone, at a familiar venue, and the cream expectedly rose to the top), that we'll get at least one singles medalist that wasn't necessarily "expected" when all is said and done. That's the thing with the Olympics, you can still lose a match and "win" in the overall picture, which opens it up for a new group to succeed. Quite a different feeling. Look at how happy Azarenka was in '12 after finishing THIRD.

I don't feel good about Petra's chances. Even picking her to reach the 3rd Round felt like a reach, though it SHOULDN'T be.

Yeah, not picking them goes against Garcia/Mladenovic's history of doing well while wearing the French colors. I think I pulled back because they haven't performed quite as well since the end of the clay season. I wish JJ & The Bracelet could put together a run... that'd be a Backspin dream scenario, I guess. :)

Plus, Caro left a bit later than most since she played some WTT. If she hadn't decided go the private route before, it was probably an easier decision after all the troubles the others had getting out of Montreal.

Fri Aug 05, 05:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Agree with the rest that doubles will be fun.
2.I'm cheating-Winner of Groenfeld/Siegemund vs Kuznetsova/Kasatkina

Fri Aug 05, 07:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Best of all would be Errani and Vinci!

Fri Aug 05, 08:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

That'd make it a Career Golden Slam for the Italians, too. ;)

Sat Aug 06, 10:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ha! I thought I'd Kuznetsova Cursed Kasatkina when she was down 6-3/3-1 in the 1st Round in Rio vs. Ons Jabeur, then the Tunisian served for the match at 5-4. But Dasha went all Kasatkina and broke serve, pushed things to a TB where she took a 6-0 lead, took the 2nd set and then pulled away to claim the match, 3-6/7-6(4)/6-1.

Now she can play doubles with... ummm, Kuznetsova. Weird how that works out. ;)

Sat Aug 06, 01:36:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

What do I know?

Sat Aug 06, 05:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Maybe Aga AND Caro/Kiki were employing Fear the Kasatkina avoidance tactics? ;)

Sat Aug 06, 05:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

It's as good a theory as any!

Sat Aug 06, 07:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Statof the Day-0- The number of wins in Women's tennis from Latvia. With the talk of Niculescu's win being the first in Romania's history, a mild surprise as Begu, Halep and Cirstea played in 2012, Latvia is less of a shock. In fact, they haven't had an entrant in singles or doubles since 1992, when Savchenko pulled double duty(with Blumberga). Should be interesting to see what Ostapenko can do on the Olympic stage, as well as Fed Cup. Even though Latvia only has 3 players in the Top 1000-for comparison Ukraine has 32- with Ostapenko and Sevastova they had 2 in the Top 60. Look no farther that Belarus(Azarenka) and Poland(Radwanska) of a team riding a player to some success.

Sun Aug 07, 11:41:00 AM EDT  

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