Friday, August 23, 2013

US Open 2013 -- Women's Preview

Back in the day, probably until about 2005 or so, women's tennis was far more interesting to me than men's tennis. I never really loved that whole Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang era. There were male players over the years that I really liked – Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker – but never as much as players like Evonne Goolagong, Tracy Austin and Steffi Graf. After Graf retired, we had a minute or two that wasn't so interesting, but then the Williams sisters showed up, Jennifer Capriati returned, Kim Clijsters and Amelie Mauresmo were in the mix. The early 2000s were filled with great players and fun tennis.

Ah the good ole days. There used to be some drama about who might win a major title. Now the only drama is will Serena Williams win or lose? That's really the only question. Serena is the number one seed and she has 16 major titles. The other 31 seeded women in the draw have eight major titles combined. It would be sad if it weren't just so completely uninteresting.

It's not even worth breaking it down by quarter. Here's the gist:

Serena has a possible tough match in the round of 16 against Sloane Stephens. That will be fun not only because Sloane beat her earlier this year in Australia, but because they apparently don't think all that highly of each other. That's always a treat, whether it's men's or women's tennis. Other than that, there's not one player in her half of the draw that can beat her if she's playing even close to her best tennis.

There is a remote chance that Serena could play Venus in the quarterfinals, but it seems unlikely that Venus would win four matches in a week to get there. That's probably the saddest part of all for me. Kim Clijsters retired last year and now Venus is just about at the end of her career.

Down at the bottom of the draw it's a little more interesting. Four of the six seeded players who have won grand slam titles (besides Serena) are in the same quarter. However, two of them – Ana Ianovic and Sam Stosur – are complete head cases and not even in the top ten anymore. That leaves Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova. Azarenka just beat Serena for a title last week and Kvitova is in the final of a tournament this week. On paper, this could be interesting. In reality, Azarenka will probably wield her evil banshee powers and destroy Kvitova in straight sets.

I suppose I should at least mention who I think the other two semifinalists will be. My guess is that it will be Aga Radwanska who gets beaten up by Serena and Caroline Wozniacki getting roughed up by Azarenka.

In the final, it's hard to go against Serena. She's won all but four of the major finals she's played in her career. Williams def Azarenka in three sets.

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