Opinion: Dodgy Serena Can’t Dodge Another Title — 2011 US Open Preview
by Jeremy Davis | August 27th, 2011, 12:42 pm

The 2011 US Open women’s field is lacking — lacking star power, lacking 1st round match-ups, lacking drama, lacking drama queens — well, we’ll still have Serena.
Serena Williams, who blazed through two tournament titles this summer after a year-long injury absence, apparently thought she had enough preparation in the middle of the Cincy event. When the wedding of her friend Kim Kardashian to NBA player Kris Humphries was announced on short notice, Serena pulled out of Cincy citing…wait for it…a bad toe.

“If anything, this might be a blessing in disguise,” said Williams, though the Cincy tournament organizers probably weren’t thinking the same thing. “I might get some more rest and prepare for the rest of the year…If anything, it’ll make [my US Open chances] better maybe because I have more opportunity to rest up and get 200% healthy, which could be a dangerous thing.”

The evasive Serena literally never speaks the truth about injuries, but regardless, a well-rested Serena will be the US Open favorite.

The drama stops there. Defending champion Kim Clijsters will be absent due to injury. World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki is no threat to the title after a lackluster summer, regardless of her result this week in New Haven. She’s dating a golfer? Yawn.

World No. 2 Vera Zvonareva is a world of ranking points behind Wozniacki, and no one is holding their breath for her to win a first Slam title without busting into tears and hysterics. Li Na and Petra Kvitova have been busts since winning the French Open and Wimbledon respectively. Then you have the parade of flash-in-the-pan No. 1s like Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic who don’t themselves believe they can make a run.

Martina Hingis can’t be convinced to come out of retirement, even to play mixed doubles with Roger Federer at the 2012 Olympics. What I wouldn’t give to see Jennifer Capriati take the court again amidst shoplifting and dating porn stars. Now that’s good drama.

Serena Williams is the No. 28 seed, rightfully so. Pundits argue she should be a co-No. 1 seed or a Top 10 seed just because she won a couple tournaments in her month back from injury? Get real. You sit out a year, you start from scratch. That’s how it works. If we started seeding players arbitrarily because they’ve hit a hot spot (oh wait, most of the other Slams do that already) then why have rankings at all? Props to the US Open committee to sticking to what works.

For Williams to win she will have to navigate a more early difficult road that usual. After opening against Serb Bojana Jovanovski, she is looking at No. 4 Victoria Azarenka in the 3rd round, then probably Ivanovic or Shahar Peer, then Francesca Schiavone or Jankovic in the quarters. Did I say difficult? Eh.

In the semis Serena could face Wozniacki, former champ Svetlana Kuznetsova, or Na. Or Li. Or Li Na, however you say it.

The bottom half of the draw is more interesting, containing Maria Sharapova, Serena’s likely foe in the final. The No. 3 seed Sharapova starts against Brit Heather Watson, with a road to the semifinals likely including Flavia Pennetta, Julia Goerges and either Kvitova or Aggie Radwanska (who opens against her sister Urszula).

The No. 2 Zvonareva is the clear favorite to meet Sharapova in the semis. Her path to the semis likely contains seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues, Sabine Lisicki, and Sam Stosur or Marion Bartoli.

All told, look for the Serena vs. Maria final. Serena has too much power on the hard courts for Maria, whose suspect movement is always put in the spotlight. Game, set, match Serena.

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21 Comments for Opinion: Dodgy Serena Can’t Dodge Another Title — 2011 US Open Preview

Umer Malik Says:

I want to see some new faces in women tennis.

Kimmi Says:

there is a new face in new haven. Petra Cetkovska. She beat radwanska, bartoli and li na.

Kimmi Says:

hmmm, so wozniacki is dating Rory McIlroy..maybe he wii help her to win a slam.

Eric Says:

“That’s how it works. If we started seeding players arbitrarily because they’ve hit a hot spot (oh wait, most of the other Slams do that already) then why have rankings at all?”

Uh, you’re clearly right that she shouldn’t be seeded above her ranking, but what are you talking about? The only slam that adjusts the seeding is Wimbledon, where they weight grass results from the past two years more heavily than other tournaments — hardly “seeding players arbitrarily because they’ve hit a hot spot.” So uh…yeah, get a clue?

Humble Rafa Says:

Capriati dating a porn star didn’t receive enough US media coverage in the US. Sad, but people find love in strange places. Tough life.

Humble Rafa Says:

Props to the US Open committee to sticking to what works.

You mean fixing draws?

rugged1 Says:

Oh my writer of this article, you seem to have it in for Serena. You must be a sharapova fan…lol. Or as I prefer to call her – mummy. That is because she is as stiff as one. After all is said and done, Serena will be hoisting another trophy and taking that million dollar check. And you, well you will be writing articles and trying to figure out why you are so small. lol.

Kimberly Says:

Serena’s winning this one. And I am a sharapova fan. But I’m not totally delusional.

KissMyGrits Says:

Um, that’s kind of I don’t want to say racist BUT it would be nice of you to use a little more care in getting NA LI’s name correct. She is a grand slam champion afterall.

scoreboard66 Says:

If Wimbledon can manipipulate the seedings to get Sharapova a higher spot in the lineup, even though she didn’t do much prior to this year at wimbledeon, then why can’t the USO spot serena higher? in the seeding considering her past results, and present form?

Eric Says:

KissMyGrits, Li Na is the correct way to write her name. Learn what you’re talking about.

margot Says:

Eric, in fact her family name is “Li” about as common as “Smith” in China. Problem is Chinese write it opposite way to Westerners. In an interview at Wimbledon I watched Sue Barker talking to Anne Keothafong about her. Sue kept calling her “Li” Anne gently saying “Na” which of course is correct, but of course Sue didn’t pick up on it.

margot Says:

PS just re-read yours Eric, think I misunderstood what you said, apologies. Where’s that damn edit button! Of course kissmygrits may have a point and as this is an English language site, perhaps we should write it that way round.
Oh, it’s so complicated :)

Eric Says:

No, the correct way to refer to her is “Li,” which is her last name. (Of course, by “correct” I mean polite. Obviously we call lots of ’em by their first names.)

Colin Says:

Are there any Hungarian players around? They put the family name first and the given name second, though they are inclined to alter it for foreign consumption.

Colin Says:

Margot, I can just imagine dear old Sue Barker “not picking up” on it. About the only female BBC sports presenter who can really think on her feet is Clare Balding. As for the Na Li/Li Na question, Keothavong probably knows, being of oriental parentage.

lucky Elaine Says:

I like the the dicussion going on Is this a worldly discussion or a US dicussion. Since many of the American women tennis player will not make the final cut we have Serena and Venus the only two women Americans. I would love to see an American win. Do we not cheer our country men or women on. That how is suppose to work. I wonder why we all are not cheering HMMMM I wonder why???

scoreboard66 Says:

@lucky Elaine, from some of the comments I’ve read, I think it’s more pleasurable for some to berate them than cheer them on. They’re criticized for everything, even their clothes. I suppose coz I’m a guy, their outfits are not that important to me. Maybe I’ll be considered weird, coz I happen to like Bartoli, while others dislike her very much, so it probably makes sense why I like the Williams sisters, and others don’t. The Serbians, Canadians, Brits and other nationalities love and cheer for their players, but it’s kinda strange how these two American ladies are verbally beaten up.

alison hodge Says:

@scoreboard66,i thought i was in a minority,i too like bartoli,ok not exactly one of the best female tennis players,but i think her querkeyness is a breath of fresh air,its the same with petkovic and sciavoni,they look like they enjoy themselves and dont take things too seriously,i think thats why i dont care for serena or sharapova,even though they are fantastic players they look like they detest every oponent they meet,i find venus different though she always looks focused,but seems more relaxed than her sister,thats why i prefer her out of the two,just my opinion.

scoreboard66 Says:

@alison: I happen to like Bartoli’s sweetness, coz, I’m a guy, who’s not interested in beauty queens but personality. She has an innocence that’s refreshing. I dislike the atrocities thrown her way by some who are so very critical of everything she and some other women players. .

I like Venus also, and I don’t understand the obsession with her clothes.

This is a tennis site, so why should we care what the plaeyers wear

Tammy Says:

Good Article

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