Quarters: Serena d. Henin, Jankovic d. Venus, Kuznetsova d. Hantuchova, Sharapova d. Chakvetadze
Semis: Jankovic d. Serena, Sharapova d. Kuznetsova
Final: Sharapova d. Jankovic
Heavy at the top: The women’s draw is very top heavy. Until I watched the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day yesterday on CBS, I had Henin over Serena. But liked Serena’s form and attitude (hitting targets on a court is such a wonderful gauge for this, I know!). Being the first hard-hitter that Henin would face, the fresh Serena (coming back from an injury break) will be too much for Henin to handle.
If Serena doesn’t shape up, an on-form Safarova could give Henin some trouble in the fourth round.
In the bottom quarter of the top half, I think Venus will get hot again and upset Ivanovic in the fourth round but I see Jankovic returning to New York with too much confidence from last year to lose to Venus or Ivanovic in the quarters. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jankovic only loses six or seven games through the fourth round (where she’d face Dementieva or Bammer).
The lower half: In the top section of the lower half, I see Azarenka making some noise until she runs into Kuznetsova in the fourth round. I also pick Hantuchova over Petrova in that round; the Slovakian is due for a good slam result (plus I wasn’t impressed with what I saw of Petrova in LA). I think Kuznetsova’s win at New Haven will give her the confidence to power past Daniela and into the semifinals.
Re: Sharapova’s draw — it’s not that easy as you might think. Radwanska, her possible third round opponent, won on the hard courts in Stockholm earlier this summer. In the fourth round Masha could face Peer, a fan favorite and always capable of a big win. Then she’d have to play Chakvetadze, who I would say maybe had the best summer over all, in the quarters. If Chakvetadze loses early, it’ll be to Mirza (who has also been playing her best lately) or Schnyder (always dangerous). If she makes it through that, then she’ll get a break facing Svetlana in the semis before a tough match against Jankovic in the final.
Oh yeah, that Vaidisova chick — she’s my first round upset special going out to Kudryavtseva.
What do you think of Chris’ picks? Tell us!
TSF is busy with U.S. Open coverage: I’m up to my ears in fashion features; JNP has been on the grounds for the qualies — he’s been taking photos, talking to coaches, getting tennis balls signed by players; Chris has been thinkin’ about his picks for this year’s singles winners; and contributor Michael Shaw pens a post for later today. Look out for it.
Quarters: Federer d. Roddick, Baghdatis d. Almagro, Djokovic d. Moya, Nadal d. Chela
Semis: Federer d. Baghdatis, Nadal d. Djokovic
Final: Federer d. Nadal
Federer? Yawn! I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m yet another person to pick Federer to win it. But don’t worry, I picked Nadal over Djokovic. Nole has been a better player this summer, but I think Nadal has performed better in the Slams and will have a slight fitness advantage in best-of-five matches. And as much as I love Djokovic (him winning means he’ll shed as many layers of clothing as possible), I think his hubris is gonna catch up with him in New York. Of course, Ancic could fire it up in the first round, or possibly Stepanek in the second round, in which case I see Hewitt taking that vacated semifinal spot.
Grand Slam mainstay: I think Moya has a fairly light run to the quarterfinals with the only real trouble I see coming from Youzhny in the third round. Following Youzhny’s success last year (and his comparative lack there of it this summer), I see him going down in three to the Spaniard.
Chela?: I know he hasn’t had a great summer, but I think he could be in the lightest section of the men’s draw with seeds Gonzalez (no wins this summer?) and perennial Slam underachiever Ljubicic. The only threatsI is the winner of the Dancevic-Safin first round match. I pick Dancevic. But if Safin wins he could make a run to the final.
Another Spaniard: I’d also keep an eye on Ferrer. He’ll have a pretty routine trip to the round of 16 (notice how much I’m discrediting Nalbandian) and if Nadal is having an off day, I think it’s against Ferrer that he would be ripe for the upset.
Rest o’ the top half: Up in the top half, I know a lot has been said about Federer’s name being drawn above five qualifiers but I don’t envy facing possibly Gasquet or Ferrero in the fourth round. If Isner finds his form again (one hot week does not a player make; he coasted on his anonymity and no one knowing how he plays), I think he could take a set off Federer. But that’s only if the giant makes it past Nieminen (who had easy wins over Spadea and Robredo in Cincy).
Resurgent Roddick?: Andy Roddick might be game to take a set off R-Fed in the quarterfinals — maybe even two sets if it’s a night match. If people want to talk about the draw being rigged, I don’t think they would’ve put Federer against Andy so early. And the Texan wouldn’t be facing Mathieu (my pick) or Berdych in the fourth round, and likely Karlovic in the third. Also, let’s remember that Andy’s fallen to a huge server (Gilles Mueller) in the early round of a prior Open.
Open quarter at the Open: Baghdatis and Almagro will benefit from this section. Blake and Davydenko won’t survive. The Russian’s carrying the weight from the betting scandal. The scrutiny’s worse now than earlier in the summer; the USTA’s hired extra security specifically to prevent match-fixing at Flushing Meadows. Plus, he just had a hell of a time getting past Young in New Haven. I think that makes Almagro able to sneak through there. Aren’t Canas and Murray capable of beating Almagro though? Most other times, yes. I don’t see Murray and his bad wrist going past the second round (unless Brad Gilbert has been hiding him all summer to do something dramatic in NYC). And Canas has cooled down significantly since taking out Roger twice in the spring.
I’m picking Baghdatis in the lower section of that quarter because I think Blake will be a little too confident after his New Haven win and may get slowed down by possible memoir-related media appearances (which, for my money, was a boring read). Haas is nevery healthy and Baghdatis always seems to do his best at the Slams. He’ll follow last year’s loss to Agassi with something equally as memorable.
What do you think of Chris’ picks? Tell us!
>> JNP’s u.s. open preview
>> TSF’s u.s. open coverage (including fashion!) continues…
Editor’s Note: we’re trying to get our buddy Chris to write for Tennis Served Fresh, and this is his first post. Look out for more from this guy in the coming weeks… Make sure to leave him comments about his work.
When filling out your Wimbledon bracket, keep in mind that the grass court season is short. We go from a three-month clay stint filled with long, tiring matches to a relatively quick and dainty one-month European affair on grass. That’s one month for a player to practice AND prove his mettle. Crazy, but isn’t that what makes it so bloody special?
So you can think of it this way: winning the French is like winning a marathon; winning at Wimbledon is like winning a sprint. This is why Rafael Nadal, as great as his last few months have been, isn’t really considered a contender. While we marvel at his feats — he is great in his own right — he’s by no means a “sprinter”. So who will be fastest man in the tennis world this year?