There is a lot of buzz about this year’s women’s draw at the US Open — all of it bad.
World No. 1 Serena Williams cannot compete because of her mysterious foot injury — mysterious because she won’t say exactly how she cut her foot, requiring surgery and wearing a “boot” around. Her sister Venus is a question mark after recently injuring her knee.
“Serena released as much information that she wanted to about her leg,” Venus said in a conference call. “Traditionally we don’t say much about injuries — we don’t need anybody to feel sorry for us about it.”
Former No. 1 Justine Henin is missing the US Open due to an elbow injury sustained at Wimbledon. Maria Sharapova is coming off an injury the last couple weeks, as is former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic and Top 10er Sam Stosur.
This year’s No. 1 seed? Caroline Wozniacki, who has yet to capture a Grand Slam title. The No. 2 seed is Kim Clijsters, who came out of retirement last year. The women’s tour is hurting. Injuries are way up, but the WTA nor the Slams want to address that, but that is another story.
American tennis is hurting. Venus Williams is the only American who has a shot at the title. Only four other U.S. players were direct entries into the field: Melanie Oudin who can’t get out of the first round of events in 2010, and journeywomen Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jill Craybas and Vania King.
In the first quarter Wozniacki will start against American wildcard and NCAA champ Chelsey Gullickson. Looming for Wozniacki in the third round is No. 26 seed Lucie Safarova, and in the fourth round No. 14 Maria Sharapova. No. 11 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova will begin against the ageless Kimiko Date-Krumm. Also in the first quarter are No. 23 Maria Kirilenko and No. 8 Na Li of China.
No. 4 Jelena Jankovic, also having a sub-par summer, is the highest seed in the second quarter, along with No. 7 Vera Zvonareva. No. 31 Kaia Kanepi will be tested from the beginning against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, and No. 17 Nadia Petrova opens against rising German Andrea Petkovic, but otherwise this quarter is a yawner. Other players of note floating in this quarter are Alicia Molik, Patty Schnyder, Shuai Peng and Mattek-Sands.
Venus Williams is the highest seed in the third quarter, starting against Italy’s Roberta Vinci, and should not be tested until the fourth round by either Flavia Pennetta or Shahar Peer. Oudin has drawn a yet-undetermined battle-ready qualifier, not good luck for the slumping American who after the US Open will need wildcards to get into WTA main draws.
The boredom stops in the fourth section of the 2010 US Open. Defending champ Kim Clijsters is the top seed, and the next-highest is the dodgy Sam Stosur who will be a likely upset victim against Russian Elena Vesnina. Two other former No. 1s are in the bottom quarter, Dinara Safina who squares off against No. 24 Daniela Hantuchova, and Ana Ivanovic who will start against Russian Ekaterina Makarova.
Not a lot of excitement with the big names missing. This should open things up early, either for the veterans such as Sharapova or players looking for a first Slam such as Wozniacki or Zvonareva. Boring or exciting without the star power? You decide.
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