Saturday, August 27, 2011

U.S. Open Preview: Deja Vu All Over Again?

This U.S. Open is already proving to be a wild version of the biggest of all the slams, and the tournament hasn't even started yet.

Two-time defending champion Kim Clijsters' withdrawal from the event due to a stomach injury was soon followed up by the woman considered the odds-on favorite to take the title -- Serena Williams -- being seeded #28. Plus, the 5.8 earthquake the struck the American East coast less than a week before the start of play (really, how stunningly unsurprising was it that Jelena Jankovic, of all people, was on court in New Haven when the earth began to shake?) is now being followed up by Hurricane Irene battering the eastern seaboard in the hours preceding the start of festivities at Flushing Meadows (the storm even caused the cancellation of Arthur Ashe Kids Day, as the entire Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center was battened and shut down on the Saturday before the start of play in anticipation of the rain and high winds).

The oddness and randomness extends to the women's competion as a whole. This U.S. Open isn't a "wide-open" slam (especially with Serena Williams possibly back on her game), but it's also not like Wimbledon was two months ago, when only five women seemed capable of winning the title from the outset. At Flushing Meadows, at a cursory glance, I'd say nine or ten women from the following group are capable of lifting the trophy:

Victoria Azarenka
Marion Bartoli
Jelena Jankovic
Svetlana Kuznetsova
Petra Kvitova
Li Na
Sabine Lisicki
Andrea Petkovic
Maria Sharapova
Serena Williams
Caroline Wozniacki
Vera Zvonareva

But even that group contain players who've hardly been on this game this summer, or are so long a shot that they probably shouldn't even be on the list at all. It's more about POTENTIAL than actual reality before Day 1, and another name or two that I leave off here might be essential inclusions at another slam. One thing that seems certain, though, it that this Open won't end with a shock. There won't be a once-in-a-lifetime champion in New York City, but the actual ending IS somewhat up in the air. Well, that is, unless the little taste of herself that Serena gave us in Stanford and Toronto was but a hint of things to come. THAT surely is the biggest question coming into 2011's final slam, and if the answer is in the affirmative we can probably wrap up this championship before the first ball is struck.

In the words of Hall of Fame New York Yankee catcher -- and unintentional "wordsmith" -- Yogi Berra, it might be "deja vu all over again." But will the deja vu involve Serena, or revolve around the case of another player who has been on the fringe of being dubbed a "slam champion" coming through on the final weekend, ala Kvitova at Wimbledon?

"You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra

Or can you? As is often the case with Berra's sometimes head-scratching "Yogi-isms," everything seems logical on the surface, but is also a bit "off."

Serena looked great on hard courts this summer, but her last decision of note was to pull out of Cincinnati with a swollen big toe. It's probably nothing, but we've come to learn to never simply brush off the seriousness of injuries to Williams that occur below the ankle. Meanwhile, Sharapova won that event in Cincy, but did so by dragging a bruised-and-battered game through the final against Jankovic, raising questions about her ability to hold things together through seven matches to win her first post-shoulder surgery slam crown. Kvitova showed at Wimbledon what she's capable of, but she's had a few of "one of those days" since, losing in straight sets twice to Petkovic in successive weeks. Petkovic could be set to make a star turn in NYC, but her own knee injury in Cincinnati makes one wonder if she'll be up to it. Elsewhere, Wozniacki is trying to alter her game, experiencing the growing pains this summer that are expected during such an extended period of change. She just won New Haven for a fourth straight time, and enters the Open -- thanks to some uncharacteristic inconsistency -- without having been worn down by having played far too many matches leading into a slam. But will it matter? Her draw is no walk in the park. In Dallas, Wimbledon semifinalist Lisicki ended her hard court tune-up schedule in the same fine form with which she began it in Stanford, walking off with a title in Dallas today. Does it mean that her Wimbledon heroics were just the beginning? Thing is, her draw gives her a potentially VERY big mountain to climb in just the 2nd Round. And then there's the aforementioned Jankovic, who did a good Queen Chaos impression in reaching the final in Ohio. It was QC who reached the U.S. final back in '08, and gave Serena a good match (the most competitive we've seen in NY over the past decade, in fact). But was it all a mirage? We'll soon see.

Here's a quick overview of the draw, quarter-by-quarter:

...there are a few potential roadblocks, but this draw is probably as good as the world #1 could have hoped for. Of course, most of those "obstacles" have already proved they can beat her this season. Beware the German.
1. Andrea Petkovic (#10)... before the knee injury, this ranking wouldn't feel as shaky as it does now. Still, the German seems fit to shine -- and dance -- in the New York spotlight. Lisicki reached the semis in London, so why not Petkovic here?
2. Caroline Wozniacki (#1)... the youth uprising at Wimbledon put pressure on her, and she at least seems to be responding to it. Altering certain aspects of one's game isn't something that always goes smoothly, though. That said, thanks to Serena (and Rory McIlroy), she comes to NYC with less slam pressure-to-succeed on her shoulders than at any other recent slam. Maybe that's a good omen.
3. Li Na (#6)... did she gather together her game enough in New Haven to contend? She's been at her best in the slams this season.
4. Daniela Hantuchova (#21)... she defeated Wozniacki at Roland Garros, and could face her again in the Round of 16.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: #15 Svetlana Kuznetsova... one never knows when she's going to show up to play
THE POOR SOUL: Rory McIlroy... assuming he comes to NYC after playing his event in Switzerland next week, AND Wozniacki is still kicking around the draw in Week 2, he'll get loads of face time. That's a good thing, but it'd also lead to several rounds of talk in sporting circles about if his #1 job -- he hasn't done much of note since winning golf's U.S. Open -- is now supporting his girlfriend from the sidelines. Of course, if he wins HIS tournament next weekend, maybe the feel-good aura will spur Caroline on, as well.

...well, maybe it should be "S.WILLIAMS QUARTER." Truth be told, not much more needs to be said about the storyline of this section of the draw.
1. Serena Williams (#28)... in Stanford and Toronto, she sure LOOKED like the future U.S. Open champion.
2. Victoria Azarenka (#4)... so she finally reaches her first slam semifinal at Wimbledon, and her reward is possibly facing Serena in the 3rd Round of her next slam? (See below.)
3. Jelena Jankovic (#11)... with Ricardo Sanchez in tow (again), could JJ re-capture the magic of '08? Talk about "Deja vu all over again." Hmmm. Considering their knacks for beautifully twisting the English language, Berra and Jankovic could probably have a really entertaining conversation... even if neither one really understood anything the other was saying.
4. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (#17)... the ability is there, but a bum ankle (she turned it in New Haven) will only make her movement more of a liability.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Queen Chaos... if she brought her cape, something interesting COULD happen. Another earthquake, maybe? Or some other quirk of nature? At the very least.
THE POOR SOUL: Victoria Azarenka... once again, she might have gotten the rawest end of a deal.

...more than any other quater, this one is a two-headed beast. It's hard to imagine anyone seeing anyone other than one of the top two seeded women emerging from this competition.
1. Maria Sharapova (#3)... Sharapova has always seemed more "at home" at the Open than any other slam. Does it mean she can be "exquisite in the city" again? Maybe. She won in Cincinnati, but nearly gagged down the stretch. If the hoped-for QF meeting takes place, she won't be able to slip through the cracks in the wall like she did against JJ. Well, unless...
2. Petra Kvitova (#5)... the Czech beats her to it.. The thought after Wimbledon was that maybe Kvitova was past her "wandering forehand," post-big result periods. Apparently not, judging from this summer. But a quick rebound in the next slam would surely only prove all the things said about her two months ago to be oh so true. A middlin' result won't be a looming, Ivanovician dark cloud for her career, but a strong showing will surely add to what could quickly become something of a slam "aura."
3. Julia Goerges (#19)... of course, Goerges has in no way resembled in recent months the player who looked so promising back in the spring. Still, she could slip through to the Round of 16, and see Sharapova waiting for her there. Opportunity... meet Julia.
4. Agnieszka Radwanska (#12)... she won in Carlsbad, and once upset Sharapova at the Open. Still, it's hard to see her as a second week threat.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Aravane Rezai... her ability to create an upset isn't questioned. Her inability to work through her family's off-court issues AND stay competitve within the lines has cursed her '11 season. But she reached the Dallas final this weekend, and could (finally) be ready to raise a little hell again.
THE POOR SOUL: Melanie Oudin... like a double-edged sword, she'll likely forever be known as the girl who became an instant star at the '09 Open. She'll likely never be able to live up to the legend. At least she finally snapped her long losing streak last week in Dallas.

...this is the most competitive quarter, as well as the one most likely to produce a semifinalist with "dream" potential come the end of two weeks.
1. Sabine Lisicki (#22)... her assault on the WTA rankings continues, and her body is holding up. The new Dallas champion enters Flushing Meadows on a high. The last time she won a title going into a slam, it was in Birmingham in June before her Wimbledon semifinal run. The German's particular brand of drama and excitement seems a nice fit for New York, and she could get an appropriate stage for her performance skills as early as the 2nd Round.
2. Vera Zvonareva (#2)... she reached the final in '10, and arrives at the Open, as usual, with so little buzz that she could slip into a busy beehive without notice (yeah, I know... that was a bit labored). Still, her draw is (mostly) absent the sort of BIG stars that might cause the Open stage to swallow her up, so maybe Vera will surprise everyone and not exit a slam with at least some small tinge of regret.
3. Marion Bartoli (#8)... she rightfully should be a SF contender, but her results have been so far away from awe-inspiring on hard courts this summer what it's just as easy to see her being the first Top 8 seed in either the women's OR men's draw to be sent packing. Still...
4. Samantha Stosur (#4)... I'm putting La Trufflette above Slingin' Sammy on this list because at least the Pastry often rises to the moment in big occasions. Except for a few moments in Paris, Stosur usually does just the opposite. She had nice tune-up results, but it'll likely mean next to nothing.
5. Nadia Petrova (#24)... just because.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Venus Williams... who knows if Venus is ready to compete for long? We haven't seen her since she lost to Pironkova at Wimbledon. If she gets past her 1st Round opponent (Vesna Dolonts), we'll learn pretty quickly where Venus is, though. She'd likely face Lisicki, probably under the lights on Ashe.
THE POOR SOUL: Anabel Medina-Garrigues... forever fated to be a double-digit WTA title winner without a slam QF result to her credit, AMG comes to NYC following an injury-related exit in Cincinnati... and probably with another quick slam exit in her future.

But, of course...

"In baseball, you don't know nothing." - Yogi Berra

The same is often the case in tennis.

TOP PLAYER: Romina Oprandi/ITA
...the Italian notched qualifying wins over Julia Cohen, Kurumi Nara and #4-seed Edina Gallovits-Hall to reach the main draw.
RISERS: Galina Voskoboeva/KAZ & Alexandra Panova/RUS
SURPRISES: Silvia Soler-Espinosa/ESP & Reka-Luca Jani/HUN
VETERANS: Stephanie Foretz-Gacon/FRA & Ekaterina Bychkova/RUS
COMEBACKS: Aleksandra Wozniak/CAN & Marina Erakovic/NZL
FRESH FACES: Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA & Vitalia Diatchenko/RUS
DOWN: Caroline Garcia/FRA (1q) & Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ (1q)
OTHER QUALIFIERS: Chan Yung-Jan/TPE, Laura Robson/GBR, Urszula Radwanska/POL & Michaella Krajicek/NED
WILD CARDS: Jill Craybas/USA, Lauren Davis/USA, Casey Dellacqua/AUS, Jamie Hampton/USA, Madison Keys/USA (won USTA Playoff), Aravane Rezai/FRA, Alison Riske/USA, Sloane Stephens/USA
LUCKY LOSER: none so far

Q1: Ekaterina Bychkova/RUS def. Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ 7-6/7-6
Q2: Laura Robson/GBR def. (WC) Taylor Townsend/USA 6-3/4-6/7-6
Q3: Alexanda Panova/RUS def. #6 Andrea Hlavackova/CZE 3-6/6-2/7-6

2006 Chang Yung-Jan, TPE
2007 Alina Jidkova, RUS
2008 Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ & Barbora Strycova, CZE
2009 Eva Hrdinova, CZE
2010 Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
2011 Romina Oprandi, ITA

[multiple slam qualifying runs]
3...Marina Erakovic, NZL (R/W/U)
3...Aleksandra Wozniak, CAN (R/W/U)
2...Mona Barthel, GER (R/W)
2...Chan Yung-Jan, TPE (R/U)
2...Vitalia Diatchenko, RUS (W/U)
2...Irina Falconi, USA (A/W)
2...Silvia Soler-Espinosa, ESP (R/U)
2...Lesia Tsurenko, UKR (A/W)
[most qualifiers by nation, of 52]
6...United States
3...Great Britain
3...New Zealand
[multiple slam wild cards]
2...Lauren Davis, USA (A/U)
2...Casey Dellacqua, AUS (R/U)
2...Caroline Garcia, FRA (A/R)
[most qualifying runs + wild cards]
2...Stephanie Foretz-Gacon, FRA (Wimbledon WC, US Open Q)

[bottom half]
#26 Flavia Pennetta/ITA vs. (WC) Aravane Rezai/FRA
...Rezai seems to finally have escaped her off-court demons, while Pennetta just hasn't been "right" all season.
#12 Agnieszka Radwanska/POL vs. (Q) Urszula Radwanska/POL always hope for pairings in the draw like this, but they usually don't happen. Well, this time it did. Big sister A-Rad has the advantage, but she'll also feel more of the pressure.
#30 Anabel Medina-Garrigues/ESP vs. (Q) Karin Knapp/ITA
...AMG's lack of slam success is a given, and she's nursing an injury.
#13 Peng Shuai/CHN vs. Varvara Lepchenko/USA
...Peng's hip is a constant issue.
#25 Maria Kirilenko/RUS vs. Ekaterina Makarova/RUS
...when two Russians get together, who never know what'll happen.
#27 Lucie Safarova/CZE vs. Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
...Safarova is just as likely to knock out the first seed as she is to be the first seed ousted. This time around, she's a seeded player, so...
#20 Yanina Wickmayer/BEL vs. Sorana Cirstea/ROU
..the Belgian's Open lead-up hasn't been great, but she had her best slam result (SF in '09) at this event.
[top half]
#23 Shahar Peer/ISR vs. Sania Mirza/IND some parts of the world, this match-up might cause some external pressure. Here, it'll just be another 1st Round match. Well, unless Peer is the First Seed Out for the third straight slam in 2011, that is. She was the FSO at the '08 Open, as well.
#31 Kaia Kanepi/EST vs. Tamarine Tanasguarn/THA
...the Estonian's season has pretty much been a washout after her season kicked off with the "banana peel" of a fractured elbow.
#16 Ana Ivanovic/SRB vs. Ksenia Pervak/RUS
...who knows what we'll get with AnaIvo at this slam? Pervak is surely capable of an upset... which might not be considered an upset a year or so down the road.
#17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS vs. Anna Tatishvili/GEO
...the Russian's turned ankle in New Haven might not bode well for a NYC run.
#15 Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS vs. Sara Errani/ITA know, Sveta HAS won this tournament before. No, really. She HAS. Seriously.
#18 Roberta Vinci/ITA vs. Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU
...earlier this summer, Begu lost to Vinci in the Budapest final, then beat her a few days later in Palermo. Here's the rubber match, only this time it's on hard court.
#29 Jarmila Gajdosova/AUS vs. Iveta Benesova/CZE
...her Wimbledon Mixed Doubles success notwithstanding, Benesova is rarely at her best in the slams.
#11 Jelena Jankovic/SRB vs. (WC) Alison Riske/USA
...but Riske's season has been a bit of a disappointment, and JJ might have packed her QC cape for her trip to Flushing Meadows. In a perfect storm (no pun intended) situation, things could get sticky... but The Chaotic One should still prevail. And anyway...

#11 Jelena Jankovic/SRB vs. Jelena Dokic/AUS
...if JJ doesn't win her 1st Rounder then a certain Friendly Neighborhood Backspinner wouldn't be able to hope for an under-the-lights match between the two Jelenas. Thing is, Dokic holding up her end (1st Rd. vs. Govortsova, after a woeful summer run for JD) is probably even less likely than this potential match getting that evening slot.
#22 Sabine Lisicki/GER vs. Venus Williams/USA
...yikes! So much seems possible for Lisicki at this slam, but there's Venus playing the possible 2nd Round spoiler. You've got to think that this one -- Venus has more nighttime US Open wins than any other woman -- WILL be scheduled for under the lights. Of course, we haven't seen Venus since Wimbledon. She's loathe to skip slams, so her being in this draw doesn't necessarily mean she's fully healthy and ready to go.
#8 Marion Bartoli/FRA vs. Christina McHale/USA
...the American could become a bona fide star -- of course, so was Oudin a couple of years ago, take it with a grain of salt -- with a win here.
#1 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN vs. Arantxa Rus/NED
...the Dutch girl upset Clijsters in Paris, and pushed Sharapova in Madrid.
#9 Samantha Stosur/AUS vs. Coco Vandeweghe/USA
...Coco hasn't faired well in "spotlight" matches, but Stosur isn't a huge fan of the atmosphere at the Open. An electrified crowd could make things interesting.

1. Romina Oprandi/ITA... gets Oudin first, then next up would be Pennetta/Rezai winner.
2. Marina Erakovic/NZL... vs. Lucic in 1st Rd.
3. Karin Knapp/ITA... AMG first, then Robson/Morita
4. Laura Robson/GBR... Morita first, then AMG/Knapp
5. Michaella Krajicek/NED... Daniilidou, then... gulp...Serena.
1. Aravane Rezai/FRA... if she can get past Pennetta in the 1st Round, she could become one of the stories of the first week, as she could face Sharapova in Round 3.
2. Jill Craybas/USA or Madison Keys/USA... they face each other in Round 1, so at least one Wild Card will reach the Final 64
3. Casey Dellacqua/AUS... she gets Cornet in the 1st Rd.
4. Sloane Stephens/USA... might Stephens be the latest Bannerette to headline? She faces qualifier Jani in the 1st, then could get the Peer/Mirza survivor.
5. Alison Riske/USA... if JJ is all out of chaos, that is
1. Serena Williams... naturally
2. Christina McHale... hydrated, and bringing her best summer yet to a close.
3. Irina Falconi... Zakopalova in the 1st, then Cibulkova/Zhang next
4. Venus Williams... just because she's Venus, and reached the SF in '10, is reason to give her a chance even after her non-existent hard court summer schedule.
5. Bethanie Mattek-Sands... though I figure her recent injury troubles give her little chance to even escape the 1st Round vs. Polona Hercog

*PREVIEW NOTES* Caroline Wozniacki sits atop the U.S. Open women's draw for the second straight season. She's the first woman seeded #1 there in back-to-back years since Martina Hingis topped the draw from 1997-2001.

...meanwhile, the Dane's Monte Carlo neighbor, world #1 Novak Djokovic, comes to Flushing Meadows as the #1 seed at a slam for the very first time in his career. His ascension ends the thirty-slam lockdown of the men's top seed by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

While Nadal and Federer's slam hegemony is well known, having won 22 of the last 26 slams, and 24 of 29, the THREE-headed monster at the top of men's tennis is even more imposing. Add Djokovic into the mix, and the three have won 25 of 26, and 27 of 29. And while the Nadal/Federer combo is legendary, it's the Nadal/Djokovic combo that has now won six straight slams, tied for second all-time behind only the eleven straight won by Nadal and Federer from 2005-07.

Still, the former Big 2 are still on opposite sides of the draw, so another final pairing IS possible. If Nadal and Federer meet in the final, it'd be their 20th meeting in an ATP final, tying the Ivan Lendl/John McEnroe combo for the most on the all-time list. They already combined for the most men's slam final matchups ever, with eight.

Federer, for his part, is appearing in his 49th consecutive slam, just eight behind all-time leader Wayne Ferreira's 56. Also, as he comes into this Open with a career 16-0 record in night matches at Flushing Meadows, Pete Sampras' record unbeaten streak (20-0) might just be within reach (or at least pretty close to it) if Federer were to last deep into the second week. Though, the best he could hope for when it comes to extending his streak is probably 18 or 19. least one Russian woman has reached the semifinals at twenty-seven of the last thirty slams.

...meanwhile, women's wheelchair champ Esther Vergeer is back for more. She chuckles at the winning streak Djokovic put together earlier this year. The Dutch woman has won 422 straight matches, a run that dates back to January 2003.

#1 Wozniacki d. #21 Hantuchova
#10 Petkovic d. #6 Li
#28 S.Williams d. Cetkovska
#11 Jankovic d. #7 Schiavone
#5 Kvitova d. #20 Wickmayer
#3 Sharapova d. Doi
#9 Stosur d. McHale
#22 Lisicki d. #2 Zvonareva

#10 Petkovic d. #1 Wozniacki
#28 S.Williams d. #11 Jankovic
#3 Sharapova d. #5 Kvitova
#22 Lisicki d. #9 Stosur

#28 S.Williams d. #10 Petkovic
#3 Sharapova d. #22 Lisicki

#28 S.Williams d. #3 Sharapova

...earthquakes, hurricanes and Serena. Oh my! I'm locked-in on the Serena side of this equation, but I'm really feeling wishy-washy on the Sharapova half. A large part of me wants to go with a Kvitova-over-Sharapova QF pick, or Lisicki-over-Sharapova SF one. But I just wasn't able to pull the trigger on either one. And then I saw that's Jon Wertheim's picks for the SF on are exactly the same as mine, which makes me want to change something even more. If I'd looked at his picks before I made mine, I'd have gone with something else. Now, I feel like if I make an alteration it would virtually ASSURE that the original picks would be closer to the eventual reality. So I'm stuck with these picks, I guess. Of course...

"It ain't over 'til it's over." - Yogi Berra

Maybe Carl will have the opportunity to go down one of those other possible paths in Bare Bones Backspin?

...a few summers ago, Roger Federer ruled the Open, winning five straight titles in New York. The dominant reign ended in '09, and he hasn't looked particularly good on hard courts at all this year. Last summer, Rafael Nadal committed himself to completing a Career Grand Slam with a U.S. title, and pulled it off with ease. The Spaniard's game doesn't seem in nearly be in the condition to repeat. A pre-SF loss wouldn't be unexpected from either man, and even an earlier upset would be looked at as having been foreshadowed in recent months.

In their place at the top of the heap is recently-christened new world #1 Novak Djokovic, still in pursuit of the "best" season ever (he's 57-2), and looking for a third slam crown in 2011. But the Serb's shoulder injury in Cincinnati leaves something of a cloud of doubt over this chances here. He's still the favorite, but everyone's eyes will be looking to be very eagle-like when he hits the court, searching for signs that he might not be the odds-on favorite he looked to be two weeks ago. Other than the Big 3, the only other former Open champions in the draw are Andy Roddick (a 21st-seeded afterthought) and Juan Martin del Potro (who, after a strong '11 start to his comeback, has slowed a bit as the season has dragged on). The remaining past finalist in the draw with a chance to compete is Andy Murray.

So, in other words, if Djokovic is hampered in his Open quest, a rare breakthrough into the slam spotlight for a man from outside the dominant Big 3 circle could very well be about to happen.

#1 Djokovic d. #22 Dolgopolov
#7 Monfils d. #9 Berdych
#3 Federer d. #23 Stepanek
#11 Tsonga d. #8 Fish
#18 del Potro d. #28 Isner
#4 Murray d. (WC) Young
#5 Ferrer d. (WC) Benneteau
#2 Nadal d. Gulbis

#1 Djokovic d. #7 Monfils
#11 Tsonga d. #3 Federer
#4 Murray d. #18 del Potro
#5 Ferrer d. #2 Nadal

#1 Djokovic d. #11 Tsonga
#4 Murray d. #5 Ferrer

#1 Djokovic d. #4 Murray

...up until Djokovic's shoulder injury, especially with Nadal and Federer's spotty hard court results this summer, picking the Serb to win the Open seemed a pretty easy pick. It probably STILL is, but at least there's a question now. If the Serb were to not be physically up to things, I might take a stab with the winner of the Tsonga/Federer match being the ultimate champion. I just can't in good conscious pick Murray to win, though he has put up very good results in New York in the past. So, the Sharapova inpersonator it is.

8...Serena Williams, USA
3...Maria Sharapova, RUS
3...Dinara Safina, RUS
2...Ana Ivanovic, SRB
1...Kim Clijsters, BEL
1...Jelena Jankovic, SRB
1...Venus Williams, USA

2000 Martina Hingis, SUI
2001 Martina Hingis, SUI
2002 Serena Williams, USA
2003 Kim Clijsters, BEL
2004 Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
2005 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2006 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2007 Justine Henin, BEL
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2009 Dinara Safina, RUS
2010 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2011 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2000 Andre Agassi, USA
2001 Gustavo Kuerten, BRA
2002 Lleyton Hewitt, AUS
2003 Andre Agassi, USA
2004 Roger Federer, SUI
2005 Roger Federer, SUI
2006 Roger Federer, SUI
2007 Roger Federer, SUI
2008 Rafael Nadal, ESP
2009 Roger Federer, SUI
2010 Rafael Nadal, ESP
2011 Novak Djokovic, SRB

4 - Serena Williams (3-1)
4 - Venus Williams (2-2)
2 - Svetlana Kuznetsova (1-1)
1 - Maria Sharapova (1-0)
1 - Jelena Jankovic (0-1)
1 - Caroline Wozniacki (0-1)
1 - Vera Zvonareva (0-1)

Wild Card - Kim Clijsters, 2009 (W)
Unseeded - Elena Dementieva, 2000
Unseeded - Yanina Wickmayer, 2009
#19 - Jelena Jankovic, 2006
#12 - Mary Pierce, 2005 (RU)
#12 - Venus Williams, 2007

[Open Era]
1968 Virginia Wade, GBR
1979 Tracy Austin, USA
1990 Gabriela Sabatini, ARG
1998 Lindsay Davenport, USA
1999 Serena Williams, USA
2004 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2005 Kim Clijsters, BEL

[Open Era]
2008 2nd Rd. - Ana Ivanovic lost to Julie Coin
1973 3rd Rd. - Billie Jean King lost to Julie Heldman
2009 3rd Rd. - Dinara Safina lost to Petra Kvitova

2004: Svetlana Kuznetsova (W), Elena Dementieva (RU), Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport
2005: Kim Clijsters (W), Mary Pierce (RU), Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova
2006: Maria Sharapova (W), Justine Henin-Hardenne (RU), Jelena Jankovic, Amelie Mauresmo
2007: Justine Henin (W), Svetlana Kuznetsova (RU), Anna Chakvetadze, Venus Williams
2008: Serena Williams (W), Jelena Jankovic (RU), Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina
2009: Kim Clijsters (W), Caroline Wozniacki (RU), Yanina Wickmayer, Serena Williams
2010: Kim Clijsters (W), Vera Zvonareva (RU), Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki

6...Chris Evert, USA
5...Steffi Graf, GER
4...Martina Navratilova, USA
3...Kim Clijsters, BEL
3...Margaret Smith-Court, AUS
3...Billie Jean King, USA
3...Serena Williams, USA
2...Tracy Austin, USA
2...Justine Henin, BEL
2...Monica Seles, YUG
2...Venus Williams, USA
5...Jimmy Connors, USA
5...Roger Federer, SUI
5...Pete Sampras, USA
4...John McEnroe, USA
3...Ivan Lendl, CZE
2...Andre Agassi, USA
2...Stefan Edberg, SWE
2...Patrick Rafter, AUS

2005 Victoria Azarenka/BLR def. Alexa Glatch/USA
2006 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS def. Tamira Paszek/AUT
2007 Kristina Kucova/SVK def. Urszula Radwanska/POL
2008 Coco Vandeweghe/USA def. Gabriela Paz/VEN
2009 Heather Watson/GBR def. Yana Buchina/RUS
2010 Daria Gavrilova/RUS def. Yulia Putintseva/RUS

unseeded/wild card - Kim Clijsters, BEL (2010)
#9 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (2004)
#7 - Serena Williams, USA (1999)
#6 - Virginia Wade, GBR (1968)

25...Venus Williams *
20...Serena Williams *
16...Martina Navratilova (undefeated)
14...Chris Evert (undefeated)
13...Maria Sharapova (undefeated) *
13...Jennifer Capriati
28...Andre Agassi
24...Jimmy Connors
20...Pete Sampras (undefeated)
17...Andy Roddick *
16...Roger Federer (undefated) *
16...John McEnroe
* - in 2011 draw

2004 Lindsay Davenport, USA
2005 Kim Cljisters, BEL *
2006 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2007 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2008 Dinara Safina, RUS
2009 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2010 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2011 Serena Williams, USA
2004 Lleyton Hewitt, AUS
2005 Andy Roddick, USA
2006 Andy Roddick, USA
2007 Roger Federer, SUI *
2008 Rafael Nadal, ESP
2009 Sam Querrey, USA
2010 Andy Murray, GBR
2011 Mardy Fish, USA
* - won U.S. Open singles title

All for now. Day 1 awaits.


Blogger Zidane said...

Your men's predictions do not work (Ferrer/Nadal).

Should Serena lose early in the tournament, the draw would become a free-for-all.

Mon Aug 29, 01:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Oops, didn't catch that. I guess it's a force of habit putting Nadal at least in the SF picks (even when he shouldn't be there.) Thanks.

Oh, I know. If Serena loses... "chaos" would reign. Though, even then, Chaos probably wouldn't ultimately reign. ;)

Mon Aug 29, 12:33:00 PM EDT  

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