Most open draw ever.
Which, by the way, is a good thing. A great opportunity for colourful up-and-comers, woulda-coulda-should’aves, and other impossibly talented “close but no cigar” types.
My rooting interests remain limited to the three V’s: Venus, Vika & Vera.
But, really, any time JJ or Sveta want to start playing tennis again is fine by me.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Young & Restless
|Q1||Woz/Dulko, Domi |
|Remember how Dulko took out Vika in R1 of RG? That clearly means she’ll take out Caro, her bestie, here. And if not then I’m fairly certain one of those other hotheads will.|
|Henin, Baltacha, BMS, Kuz |
|Gotta think Henin will have her way with Kuz (R3) and then clean up here.|
|Q2||Venus, Petko |
Kanepi, Vesnina, Pova
|Venus/Pova (R4) would be just dandy. Nostalgically so. Less confident in Pova than I am in Venus of getting there. But tending to think Pova will win if they do.|
|LiNa, Rezai |
|If Li plays as well as she did in Sydney, she’ll take this section. Else Vika will..should…must.|
|Q3||JJ, Peng |
Kleybs, Krumm, ARad
|Don’t be surprised to see JJ go down to Peng…or someone even lower ranked. Kleybanova’s match with Kim in Sydney is already a likely contender for one of the best of the year – kinda hoping she makes good.|
|Petrova, Schnyder, Mak’va, Ana |
|God help you if you aren’t just a little bit soz for Dinara. Although as the Sydney final showed Kim can be relied on to throw in the odd stinker (just ask Nadia). She’ll have to positively reek for Dinara to stand a chance – but it can happen.|
|Kvitova just won Brisbane and Stosur’s facing a Slam debutante speedster. Expect funnies to happen.|
|Same story as always – no real problems for Vera here other than herself – and she’s been holding her at bay now for over a year.|
-- Let’s be clear about this: Caro’s quarter is STACKED. Even if we concede that extrapolating a win for Dulko on the basis of Caro’s kinship with Vika is a wee bit fanciful – there’s still Domi followed by one of Wicks, Groth (runner up last week in Hobart) and Bartoli (deep-fried Dinara last week) to consider. After which Henin likely awaits in the QFs. All at a time when Caro’s been suffering some of her most depraved losses ever. Don’t be surprised to see her go down in week one. I believe rather than desire this.
-- Just about every media outlet has Kim as their “terra-firma” favourite. What, if not contrarianism, is the refuge of the hard core tennis blogger? Only, the problem with being a contrarian in this instance is it bears no relation to reality. See, much as I or anyone else might dislike it, Kim is the favourite. BY A LONG WAY. Yes, she goes certifiably crackers every once in a while and seriously, her serve is like an embarrassing, drunk relative at the best of times – but its not as if that happens very often. I’d say she’s got it out of her system in the Sydney final.
-- Having said that, outside of Kim the draw is impossibly wide open. Like I said, I’m thinking this is a good thing.
-- I have every faith in Bepa making another semi-final. I also have every faith in her losing to Kim Clijsters in straights once she gets there.
-- Let me make this easy by conceding that Venus’s best days are behind her. Let me also concede that, however much we might desire it, with every passing year her chances of winning a Slam outside of Ingerland become slimmer and slimmer. Let me even concede that she’s ‘over the hill’ (whatever that means).
-- Your turn: you will concede that she was one set away from the final in the last Slam she played (losing to the best player in the draw); you will also concede that should she find her range, virtually every match she plays will be on her racket. You will will also concede anyone calling for her retirement should be boiled in baby oil. Deal?
-- Ask me why Vika hasn’t reached her Slam potential and I’ll show you a match involving Serena Williams. Ask me again and I’ll show you another. Can you see where I’m headed with this?
-- There simply remain too many unanswered questions re Justine Henin. But she looked good in Hopman Cup and doesn’t have a tough draw until the quarters by which time she should be good to go.
-- There simply remain too many unanswered questions re Maria Sharapova. Unfortunately, this time I don’t have a nifty rationalisation. Making week two will exceed my (and I suspect many others’) expectations.
-- Ana Ivanovic is on the up. Her form at the back end of last year and at Hopman Cup recently confirms it. Unlikely that she’ll be derailed by that recent stomach tear she suffered. What a shame that she’s drawn to meet Clijsters in R4.
-- Elena Dementieva will not feature in any match at any stage of the event (or indeed any Slam) ever again: Only in the second week will this truly sink in.