Unseeded Serena Looms at Stanford; Roddick Still in Hiding; ATP/WTA Previews
Bank of the West Classic
Stanford, Calif., USA
Seeds: Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli, Sam Stosur, Aggie Radwanska, Julia Goerges, Ana Ivanovic, Dominika Cibulkova
Floaters: Serena Williams, Kimiko Date-Krumm, Sabine Lisicki, Maria Kirilenko, Daniela Hantuchova
Notes: How would you like to meet an unseeded Williams sister in the first round? That bad draw goes to Aussie Anastasia Rodionova, who meets unseeded former No. 1 Serena Williams, winner to face the victor of the (6) Goerges vs. Kirilenko match-up. Other tough opening draws are (8) Cibulkova vs. the ageless Date-Krumm, and (2) Sharapova after a bye meeting the winner of Hantuchova vs. qualifier; third-round potential leggy meeting of (2) Sharapova vs. Goerges; wildcards went to (8) Cibulkova and American Hilary Barte; Azarenka beat Sharapova in last year’s all-screaming-gruntfest final; returning champs in the field are Azarenka (2010), Bartoli (2009); Serena has never won in Stanford, while her sister Venus has won twice.
Washington, DC, USA
Seeds: Shahar Peer, Nadia Petrova, Tamira Paszek, Jelena Dokic, Bojana Jovanovski, Elena Baltacha, Sania Mirza, Alberta Brianti
Notes: An inaugural WTA event, not a challenger, as the draw might indicate; mild unseeded names of interest include Melanie Oudin, American comer Sloane Stephens, Brit comer Heather Watson, and American hopefuls Irini Falconi and Alison Riske; wildcards went to Petrova, Japan’s Misaki Doi, and Canadian Eugenia Bouchard.
Los Angeles, Calif., USA
Seeds: Mardy Fish, Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis, Thomaz Bellucci, Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, Dmitry Tursunov, Grigor Dimitrov, Igor Kunitsyn
Floaters: Gilles Muller, Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez, Ryan Harrison, (WC) Tommy Haas, Ernests Gulbis, James Blake
Notes: Not an overly-impressive seeded field, but loaded with floaters and land mines for the seeds; Fish the top seed for the second straight week after Atlanta; American Andy Roddick still in seclusion during Week #2 of the US Open Series, not making an appearance since the U.S. Davis Cup debacle vs. Spain; opening-round matches of interest include Fish after a bye against Muller (coming off Atlanta semi) or (WC) Steve Johnson, (8) Kunitsyn vs. the returning-from-injury Gonzo, (3) Baghdatis vs. winner of (WC) Ginepri vs. Yen-Hsun Lu, Harrison vs. Lithuania’s diminutive Richard Berankis in a battle of comers, (6) Tursunov vs. “Iron” Mike Russell, (7) Dimitrov vs. (WC) Haas, (5) X-Man vs. Gulbis, and (2) Del Potro after a bye likely facing Blake; Del Potro is undefeated in L.A. after winning the title in 2008; two-time defending champion Sam Querrey remains sidelined with injury; returning champions in the field are Del Potro (2008) and Haas (2006,’04).
Credit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad
Seeds: Nicolas Almagro, Stanislas Wawrinka, Mikhail Youzhny, Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, Pablo Andujar, Marcel Granollers
Floaters: Igor Andreev
Notes: You’re not going to get Roger Federer to play the Swiss Open when it’s been moved on the ATP calendar into the hardcourt season, but with some under-the-table appearance fee cash you can get Swiss No. 2 Stan Wawrinka and a middling claycourt field; wildcards went to Swiss Mr.’s Michael “The Whammer” Lammer, Stephane Bohli, and Alexander Sadecky; The No. 7 seed Andujar makes his event debut, and No. 8 Granollers is the only seed with a losing record in Gstaad; Almagro beat Richard Gasquet in last year’s final; returning champions in the field are Almagro (2010) and Victor Hanescu (2008).
ATP Studena Croatia Open
Seeds: Juan Ignacio Chela, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Ivan Ljubicic, Marin Cilic, Tommy Robredo, Fabio Fognini, Andreas Seppi, Ivan Dodig
Floaters: Juan Carlos Ferrero, Potito Starace
Notes: Croatian seeds Ljubicic, Cilic, Dodig draw fans to the resort town during the week; wildcards go to Croats Antonio Veic, Mate Delic and Mate Pavic; Ljubicic is 14-10 career in Umag, never surpassing the semis; (1) Chela after a bye facing a potential tough opener against the 2010 runner-up Starace; Ferrero (2010) is the lone returning champion in the field.
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