Beijing (Sat): Kvitova & Ivanovic Cruise Through Openers

CHINA OPEN
Beijing, China
September 29-October 7, 2012
$4,828,050/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Saturday, September 29, 2012
Singles – First Round
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 62 63
(11) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Christina McHale (USA) 63 62
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) d. (12) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 64 41 ret. (hip injury)
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 75 64
Tamira Paszek (AUT) d. (LL) Olga Govortsova (BLR) 75 06 76(6) (saved 1mp)
Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) d. (WC) Zheng Saisai (CHN) 62 63
Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 64 61
Romina Oprandi (SUI) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 75 62
(WC) Zhang Shuai (CHN) d. (WC) Wang Qiang (CHN) 63 62

Doubles – First Round
(WC) Jankovic/Petkovic (SRB/GER) d. Jurak/Marosi (CRO/HUN) 63 61

Singles Qualifying – Final Round
(9) Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. (2) Olga Govortsova (BLR) 62 64
(3) Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. (16) Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 36 64 63
(4) Laura Robson (GBR) d. (15) Johanna Larsson (SWE) 46 62 61
(7) Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP) d. (10) Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 62 64
Camila Giorgi (ITA) d. (12) Heather Watson (GBR) 57 62 63
(13) Ayumi Morita (JPN) d. Olga Puchkova (RUS) 63 63
Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino (ESP) d. Vera Dushevina (RUS) 75 75
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Greta Arn (HUN) 63 36 60

Order Of Play – Sunday, September 30, 2012
National Tennis Stadium (from 12.30hrs)
1. Maria Kirilenko vs. Ekaterina Makarova
2. Yanina Wickmayer vs. Peng Shuai (NB 15.00hrs)
3. Jelena Jankovic vs. Andrea Petkovic
4. Li Na vs. Francesca Schiavone (NB 19.30hrs)
5. Vania King vs. Julia Goerges

Lotus Court (from 12.30hrs)
1. Monica Niculescu vs. Lucie Safarova
2. Camila Giorgi vs. Sara Errani
3. Cibulkova/Husarova vs. Srebotnik/Zheng
4. Grandin/Uhlirova vs. Chuang/Zhang

Moon Court (from 12.30hrs)
1. Mona Barthel vs. Elena Vesnina
2. Roberta Vinci vs. Lourdes Domínguez Lino
3. Marion Bartoli vs. Bojana Jovanovski

Court 1 (from 12.30hrs)
1. ATP: Ebden vs. Mertl
2. ATP: Baker vs. Young
3. Dellacqua/Jans-Ignacik vs. Hsieh/Medina Garrigues

Court 3 (from 12.30hrs)
1. ATP: Ilhan vs. Berrer
2. ATP: Zemlja vs. Bogomolov Jr.
3. Martic/Watson vs. Llagostera Vives/Mirza

Court 9 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Ayumi Morita vs. María-Teresa Torró-Flor
2. Kimiko Date-Krumm vs. Laura Robson
3. Babos/Minella vs. Dushevina/Rosolska

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Sony Ericsson WTA Tour – Beijing (Sun): Defending Champ Kuznetsova Shocked in Opener

CHINA OPEN
Beijing-CHN
October 2-10, 2010
$4,500,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Sunday, October 3, 2010
Singles – First Round
(Q) Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) d. (4) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 26 76(5) 75
(9) Li Na (CHN) d. (Q) Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 62 60
(Q) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (10) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 26 63
(12) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 64 76(5)
(13) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (WC) Han Xinyun (CHN) 62 62
Gisela Dulko (ARG) d. (14) Aravane Rezai (FRA) 64 26 64
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. (16) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 75 61
Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. (WC) Zhang Shuai (CHN) 61 60
Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. (Q) Lu Jing-Jing (CHN) 61 60
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 60 76(6)
Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 76(4) 61
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 06 63
(Q) Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. (Q) Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 57 64 63

Doubles – First Round

(5) Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez (ESP/ESP) d. Scheepers/Schnyder (RSA/SUI) 63 64
Chuang/Govortsova (TPE/BLR) d. Bondarenko/Bondarenko (UKR/UKR) 60 61
Grandin/Hsieh (RSA/TPE) d. Lefèvre/Zakopalova (FRA/CZE) 61 61
(WC) Azarenka/Safina (BLR/RUS) d. (WC) Sun/Zhang (CHN/CHN) 62 75

Order of Play – Monday, October 4, 2010
Lotus Court (from 12.30hrs)
1. ATP: Isner vs. Yang
2. Dinara Safina vs. Vera Zvonareva (NB 15.00hrs)
3. Marion Bartoli vs. Ana Ivanovic
4. ATP: Kohlschreiber vs. Verdasco (NB 19.30hrs)
5. Gisela Dulko vs. Maria Kirilenko

Moon Court (from 12.00hrs)
1. Sara Errani vs. Peng Shuai
2. ATP: Fish vs. Tipsarevic (NB 14.30hrs)
3. ATP: Berrer vs. Berdych (NB 16.00hrs)
4. Jelena Jankovic vs. Bojana Jovanovski (NB 19.30hrs)
5. Jans/Rosolska vs. Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez

Court 1 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Angelique Kerber
2. Sun Shengnan vs. Shahar Peer (NB 13.30hrs)
3. ATP: Ljubicic/Robredo vs. Lu/Mayer (NB 15.00hrs)
4. ATP: Simon vs. Querrey

Court 3 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Alexandra Dulgheru vs. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova
2. Nadia Petrova vs. Alona Bondarenko (NB 13.30hrs)
3. Date Krumm/Peng vs. Amanmuradova/Kudryavtseva (after suitable rest)
4. Niculescu/Peer vs. Kleybanova/Makarova (after suitable rest)

Court 4 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Vera Dushevina vs. Ekaterina Makarova
2. Medina Garrigues/Yan vs. Bacsinszky/Garbin
3. Dushevina/Parra Santonja vs. Raymond/Stubbs (after suitable rest)
4. Han/Liu vs. Errani/Vinci (after suitable rest)

Sony Ericsson WTA Tour – Beijing (Sat): Winning Start for Jankovic

CHINA OPEN
Beijing-CHN
October 2-10, 2010
$4,500,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Saturday, October 2, 2010
Singles – First Round
(3) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 75 75
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. (WC) Zhou Yi-Miao (CHN) 62 60
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 62 63
Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. Agnes Szavay (HUN) 76(4) 16 63
Patty Schnyder (SUI) d. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 61 64
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 36 64 76(4)
Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 63 62
Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 60 64

Doubles – First Round
Jans/Rosolska (POL/POL) d. Dzehalevich/Poutchek (BLR/BLR) 75 62

Singles Qualifying – Final Round
(1) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (11) Vania King (USA) 61 16 63
Lu Jing-Jing (CHN) d. (2) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 63
(3) Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) d. (12) Tathiana Garbin (ITA) 63 76(3)
(4) Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) d. Sophie Ferguson (AUS) 64 62
(5) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (9) Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 63 63
(6) Vera Dushevina (RUS) d. Greta Arn (HUN) 64 62
(14) Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) d. (7) Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) 60 76(6)
(16) Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. (8) Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) 62 62

Order of Play – Sunday, October 3, 2010
Lotus Court (from 12.30hrs)
1. Zhang Shuai vs. Maria Kirilenko
2. Maria Sharapova vs. Tsvetana Pironkova
3. Roberta Vinci vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova
4. Alla Kudryavtseva vs. Li Na (NB 19.30hrs)
5. Kaia Kanepi vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Moon Court (from 12.00hrs)
1. Yanina Wickmayer vs. Dominika Cibulkova
2. Nadia Petrova vs. Han Xinyun
3. Anastasija Sevastova vs. Samantha Stosur
4. Azarenka/Safina vs. Sun/Zhang (after suitable rest)
5. Daniela Hantuchova vs. Polona Hercog (NB 19.30hrs)

Court 1 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Lu Jing-Jing
2. Aravane Rezai vs. Gisela Dulko
3. Flavia Pennetta vs. Petra Kvitova

Court 3 (from 12.00hrs)
1. ATP: Mathieu vs. Gabashvili
2. Bojana Jovanovski vs. Kateryna Bondarenko
3. Scheepers/Schnyder vs. Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez
4. Bondarenko/Bondarenko vs. Chuang/Govortsova (after suitable rest)

Court 4 (from 12.00hrs)
1. ATP: Marchenko vs. Russell
2. ATP: Kubot vs. Schuettler (NB 14.00hrs)
3. ATP: Berrer vs. Zemlja
4. Lefèvre/Zakopalova vs. Grandin/Hsieh

Tokyo (Tues): Wozniacki Wins, Goerges Ousts Stosur

TORAY PAN PACIFIC OPEN
Tokyo-JPN
September 26-October 2, 2010
$2,000,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Singles – Second Round
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (Q) Greta Arn (HUN) 61 63
(2) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Sara Errani (ITA) 63 63
Julia Goerges (GER) d. (4) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 75 63
(5) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 75 63
(7) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 60 61
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 61 63
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. (10) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 75
(11) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 62 61
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. (13) Shahar Peer (ISR) 63 76(5)
(Q) Coco Vandeweghe (USA) d. (14) Aravane Rezai (FRA) 64 64
(16) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 62 61
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 63 46 63
(Q) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 64 62
(WC) Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 26 60 40 ret. (right shoulder injury)

Doubles – First Round
Raymond/Stubbs (USA/AUS) d. Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez (ESP/ESP) 75 61
Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) d. Hsieh/Kleybanova (TPE/RUS) 67(7) 61 119 (Match TB)

Order of Play – Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Roberta Vinci vs. Vera Zvonareva
2. Elena Dementieva vs. Flavia Pennetta
3. Francesca Schiavone vs. Kimiko Date Krumm
4. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (NB 17.00hrs)
5. Kaia Kanepi vs. Jelena Jankovic
6. Dulko/Pennetta vs. Date Krumm/Morita

Court 1 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Marion Bartoli vs. Victoria Azarenka
2. Julia Goerges vs. Coco Vandeweghe
3. Andrea Petkovic vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
4. Garbin/Schiavone vs. King/Shvedova (after suitable rest)

Court 2 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Kirilenko/Petrova vs. Peschke/Srebotnik
2. Errani/Medina Garrigues vs. Peer/Peng
3. Chan/Huber vs. Goerges/Rodionova (after suitable rest)

Tokyo Pan Pacific Open Preview

TORAY PAN PACIFIC OPEN
Tokyo-JPN
September 26-October 2, 2010
$2,000,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Order of Play – Sunday, September 26, 2010
Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Dominika Cibulkova vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
2. Angelique Kerber vs. Daniela Hantuchova
3. Maria Kirilenko vs. Li Na
4. Ayumi Morita vs. Tsvetana Pironkova
5. Christina McHale vs. Flavia Pennetta

Court 1 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Gisela Dulko vs. Andrea Petkovic
2. Melanie Oudin vs. Kaia Kanepi
3. Kateryna Bondarenko vs. Anabel Medina Garrigues
4. Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez vs. Raymond/Stubbs

Court 2 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Olga Govortsova vs. Iveta Benesova
2. Petra Kvitova vs. Alona Bondarenko
3. Bacsinszky/Vinci vs. Azarenka/Safina

Court 3 (NB 14.00hrs)
1. Chang Kai-Chen vs. Lucie Safarova
2. Greta Arn vs. Laura Robson

US Open Women’s Results – Day 5

New York, NY-USA

August 30-September 12, 2010

$22,668,000/Grand Slam

Hard/Outdoors

Friday, September 3, 2010

Singles – Third Round

(2) Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. (27) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 63 60

(3) Venus Williams (USA) d. (Q) Mandy Minella (LUX) 62 61

(5) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Sara Errani (ITA) 62 63

(6) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (29) Alona Bondarenko (UKR) 61 75

(12) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. (24) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 75 62

(16) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. (19) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 64 64

(20) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Gisela Dulko (ARG) 61 62

Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (WC) Virginie Razzano (FRA) 75 60

Doubles – Second Round

(2) Huber/Petrova (USA/RUS) d. Bondarenko/Bondarenko (UKR/UKR) 63 62

(6) King/Shvedova (USA/KAZ) d. Groth/Zakopalova (AUS/CZE) 75 46 62

Goerges/Groenefeld (GER/GER) d. (8) Medina Garrigues/Yan (ESP/CHN) 75 62

(10) Kirilenko/A.Radwanska (RUS/POL) d. (WC) Hampton/Oudin (USA/USA) 62 61

Hercog/Martic (SLO/CRO) d. (11) Kleybanova/Makarova (RUS/RUS) 63 67(1) 63

(12) Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) d. Date Krumm/Morita (JPN/JPN) 64 67(1) 61

(14) Vesnina/Zvonareva (RUS/RUS) d. Diatchenko/Senoglu (RUS/TUR) 61 61

(15) Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy (USA/USA) d. Hantuchova/Wozniacki (SVK/DEN) 76(3) 64

Bacsinszky/Garbin (SUI/ITA) d. (16) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) 36 63 76(6)

Dulgheru/Rybarikova (ROU/SVK) d. Gallovits/Jans (ROU/POL) 62 63

Elena and Stasur To Meet In the Fourth Round

Elena Dementieva has been to the US Open final before. Samantha Stosur is striving to get there. They will square off for a spot in the US Open quarterfinals in a clash of one of the best hard-court returners in the women’s game, Dementieva, against one of the most reliable servers in Stosur.

The 12th-seeded Dementieva deconstructed Daniela Hantuchova, 7-5, 6-2, to advance to the fourth round for the eighth time in 12 career Flushing Meadows appearances. Dementieva lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the New Haven semifinals and has continued her solid form in Flushing Meadows this week in winning all six sets she’s played.

French Open finalist Stosur smacked seven aces in sweeping Sara Errani, 6-3, 6-2. Since surrendering the first set of her opening-round 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 win over Elena Vesnina, Stosur has not dropped a set.

Dementieva has beaten Stosur four times in five meetings, including a 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-3 victory in their last meeting in Toronto last summer. Three of those five matches have spanned the three-set distance.

“We’ve had some good matches in the past.  I’ve beaten her once or twice, and then she’s obviously beaten me, as well,” Stosur said.  “So I think it’s gonna be whoever can, you know, execute the game plan better on the given day. But I know what I’m gonna want to do against her.  If I can do that, I think I have a chance.”

Dementieva has worked diligently to transform her serve from the side-arm, slingshot slice it was when she reached the 2004 US Open final, falling to Svetlana Kuznetsova, and though her serve is not a weapon it has become a much more stable shot.

Stosur is at her best hitting the kick serve to set up her favored forehand and in past matches Dementieva has tried to prevent the muscular Aussie from creating one-two combinations off her serve and forehand by directing her inside-out forehand to Stosur’s weaker backhand wing.

The fact that Stosur will hit the kick on both first and second serves can pose problems for some women, who are unaccustomed to returning off shoulder high balls.

“Samantha, Serena, they both have a very powerful serve, and especially second serve,” Dementieva said. “They have such a good kick.  The women don’t usually have this. It’s always very difficult to play against her.  She puts a lot of pressure on you when she’s serving.  But also, I think she’s very solid on the baseline, and, you know, very experienced player, singles and doubles. She covers the court very well and, you know, can finish the point at the net.  She has a great variety to her game.  It’s never easy to play against her.”

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Clijsters Comeback Continues With The Ouster of Venus

The comeback continued. Kim Clijsters battled through to a quarterfinal date with No.18 Na Li by getting past No.3 ranked American Venus Williams 6-0, 0-6, 6-4 today at a supportive Ashe Stadium.

The 26 year-old Belgian has looked strong in her return to the game after taking a couple of a years off to marry former Villanova hoops star Brian Lynch and start a family. After decent results in two warmups, she’s shown no ill effects ousting two quality players to reach the final eight.

In Round Two, she got the better of Marion Bartoli bouncing back from a set down to advance in three. A round after dropping only two games, it figured to be tougher versus an old rival. But it was the more agile Clijsters who prevailed against a heavily taped Venus, who’s still battling knee tendinitis. Her run in singles is over but she’s also scheduled to play a fourth round doubles match with young sis Serena, who easily dispatched of Daniela Hantuchova, 6-2, 6-0 advancing to a quarter against either Vera Zvonareva or Flavia Pennetta in tonight’s night session.

The 2005 Open winner came out razor sharp breezing through the first set against a struggling Williams who couldn’t find the range. Meanwhile, Clijsters’ forehand was working helping build an early set lead. It was the first time her opponent had been bageled at the tournament since 1997 when Martina Hingis did it against an unseeded Williams in the final.

Perhaps it was too easy because the second set was a complete role reversal as it was Venus who elevated her game finally ratcheting up the serve and keeping more balls in play. Suddenly, Clijsters had a rough stretch with her forehand going cold and even tossing in a pair of double faults that helped Williams rebound quickly. Before the stunned Ashe knew it, they’d witnessed two ugly, uncompetitive bagel sets in just 49 minutes.

Surely, the deciding set would be better by default. With the crowd urging on both players, it was as each finally kept rallies going giving fans some more entertaining points that included some great hustle from Clijsters. Her speed seemed to get to Williams who missed on a few routine volleys including an overhead. That probably was the difference as she was able to dig in earning an early break which she never relinquished.
A jubilant Kim Clijsters celebrates her victory over Venus Williams to make the U.S. Open quarters in her return.

A jubilant Kim Clijsters celebrates her victory over Venus Williams to make the U.S. Open quarters in her return.

It still wasn’t easy putting away the seven-time slam winner who held her serve the rest of the more competitive 52-minute set, forcing the crowd favorite to serve it out. Showing some nerves, Clijsters missed a couple of shots to drop the first two points eventually falling behind 15-40. But she valiantly fought off two break chances with some solid hitting including an inside out forehand winner.

After drawing an errant backhand, she finally came to match point. With the crowd in a frenzy, she calmly struck a great wide serve which Williams barely got a racket on to clinch victory.

“It was unbelievable. I don’t know what to say,” an excited Clijsters expressed to CBS reporter Mary Joe Fernandez. “It was such a weird match, especially those first two sets. But after I lost the second at 6-0, I said, let’s start over and start a new match.”

The former champ proved she is still a contender. Now, she’ll draw Li, who got through in straights over Italian Francesca Schiavone (26), 6-2, 6-3. In her career, the 27 year-old from China has never made a semi in a major with this matching her best result that came in 2006 at Wimbledon. Clijsters owns a 3-1 head-to-head record taking two of three on hard courts. However, the last two have gone three sets with Li winning two years ago in Miami.

One thing it guarantees is there won’t be an all Williams semi showdown. But just maybe we’ll get a battle of two Open champs with the winner heavily favored to win the title.

“I’ve been working really hard the last seven, eight months and I’m enjoying it,” Clijsters said. “It’s something that’s really important for myself, as long as I can focus on tennis and have fun on the outside as well.”

US Open Preview

The time has finally come. Yes. Happy Birthday Andy Roddick! Hopefully for you, this year’s U.S. Open will be extra special. Especially after that memorable five-set Wimbledon classic with Roger Federer.

Can the just turned 27 year-old American overcome heartache to win his second Open and first major since 2003 when he was No.1 in the world? Under Larry Stefanki, he’s playing the best tennis of his career due to better fitness which has allowed him to stay in points and show off an improved backhand along with a better net game.

Can he, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic or the sizzling Juan Martin Del Potro put an end to Federer’s reign in Flushing? Is Rafael Nadal healthy enough to make a run and complete the career grand slam? How will Marat Safin’s final slam of a topsy turvy career go?

All this along with whether Serena Williams can continue her renewed dominance with a third major and fourth in five will get kick started later today at Arthur Ashe Stadium.  Who will come out on top? Let’s take a look at the candidates from each field:
Will Serena repeat or can Elena Dementieva finally win a slam?

Will Serena repeat or can Elena Dementieva finally win a slam?
Women

(2) S. Williams-In fine form this year, the younger Williams is aiming for a repeat and all systems look go with a routine draw that has no serious threats until the quarters where she’ll likely see either Vera Zvonareva (7) or 10th seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta. Samantha Stosur and Daniela Hantuchova might be fourth round opponents and vet Sybille Bammer a third round probable. She upset Serena a couple of weeks ago in a tuneup but this is a slam. So, expect her to be fired up with a shot to reclaim No.1.

(4) Elena Dementieva-The 27 year-old Russian is the best WTA player to never win a slam. She’s a former runner-up who’s one of the most consistent performers. Lena’s reached the semis in four of her last five majors including last year in Queens before falling to finalist Jelena Jankovic. Her draw won’t be easy with former champion Maria Sharapova in Round 3. The winner likely will see either Nadia Petrova (13) or Jie Zheng (21) in the Round of 16. Figure another former winner Svetlana Kuznetsova (6) to be standing in the way in the quarters unless 19 year-old New Haven champ Caroline Wozniacki (9) can ride her solid form under the limelight.

(5) Jelena Jankovic-The Serb is in the same section as No.1 ranked Dinara Safina. Thing is we like Jankovic’s chances a little better because she’s finally playing better. Indeed, the former top rated woman has had a rough year at slams making the fourth round twice and bowing out in the first week at Wimbledon. But she finally seems over her slump in time for her favorite slam where she’s made deep runs three straight years. Outside of German phenom Sabine Lisicki (23) or struggling Ana Ivanovic (11), she should have a clear path to the final eight where Safina should be waiting. If Safina can’t get through Alisa Kleybanova early, shame shame.

Kim Clijsters-Perhaps the most intriguing story is the return of the former 2005 winner. And the Belgian is in the toughest draw which features No.3 Venus Williams along with several other hardcourt threats including Victoria Azarenka (8), Marion Bartoli (14), Li Na (18) and Australia comeback story Jelena Dokic. Indeed, it’s a top heavy draw with potential upsets. On paper, Venus is favorite with no serious threat until the second week. But who will she face in the Round of 16? Clijsters will have to deal with Bartoli in the second round with the winner possibly facing Dokic depending if she’s recovered from an injury. Knowing how supportive New Yorkers are, expect Clijsters to get tons of love pushing her through to a dream match-up against Venus. Most expect the elder Williams to meet Serena in the semis but we like what we’ve seen from Clijsters. Figure either to face Azarenka, who really has no one standing in the way unless feisty Agnieszka Radwanska (12) surprises her.

Semis:

(5) Jankovic vs (4) Dementieva- A rematch of last year which Jankovic won in straights. She also edged Elena recently in a tight three sets. Still, this could be Lena’s time to shine and make another final. We’ll take her.

Clijsters vs (2) S. Williams-If it comes off, it would show off Serena’s power versus Kim’s grit. But Serena should be much fresher allowing her to advance.

2009 U.S. Open Champion (2) Serena Williams, USA-She’s just too tough on the big points. As much as we’d love to see Dementieva get her first slam following up a recent win, it’s hard to bet against the clutch Serena. It will be tight but in straights as the younger Williams rises to the top of the WTA once again.

Player To Watch: Melanie Oudin, USA-The 17 year-old from Atlanta is a future star who made a nice run to Round 4 at Wimbledon ousting Jankovic. She has a good ground game already. Look for her to test Dementieva in Round 2.
Are either Andy Murray or Juan Martin Del Potro ready for primetime at the Open?

Are either Andy Murray or Juan Martin Del Potro ready for primetime at the Open?
Men

(1) Roger Federer-It starts with the new record holder following the amazing final at the All England Club in which he outlasted Roddick despite not being able to break him until the 30th game of the longest final set in championship history. Amazing to think the 28 year-old new father of twins didn’t play his best but showed the mental fortitude he lacked against Rafael Nadal to surpass Pete Sampras. So, can the amazing Swiss Maestro who has it all make it a ridiculous six in a row in NYC? Why not? His section while tricky with potential encounters with Lleyton Hewitt (31) and fading James Blake (21) isn’t bad. The real test shouldn’t come till the quarters where either Robin Soderling (12) or emerging American Sam Querrey (22) should be waiting. Yes. We’re discounting Nikolai Davydenko (8) whose game has slipped. Either way, we don’t see Feds being seriously threatened.

(5) Andy Roddick-Is this the year the new Andy wins a second Open in front of his biggest fans? He’s clearly improved and most notably, his head seems clearer since marrying SI swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker. Perhaps settling down was the right move for tennis’ A-Rod. Could anyone do better than her? Next. The real question is is he ready to deliver? A lot of positives came out of his crushing defeat including a ton of support. He really won a lot of people over. His play has been solid since even though he lost to Del Potro twice. Roddick will be tested in a tricky section that includes nemesis Djokovic in another potential quarter showdown preempted by either Fernando Verdasco (10) or German vet Tommy Haas (20). Even Dmitry Tursunov could prove tough in Round 2. So, they didn’t do him any favors. Assuming Djokovic gets through Ivan Ljubicic, Russian Igor Andreev (29) poses the only challenge in Rd.3. It would be an upset if Roddick-Djokovic II didn’t happen. All eyes will be watching.

(3) Rafael Nadal-It’s true Nadal isn’t 100 percent but did look decent in a couple of warmups. Even though he fell to both Del Potro and Djokovic, Rafa needed the matches to prepare for the Open. People forget that he made it all the way to the semis last year before Murray eliminated him. Assuming he gets through dangerous opening round foe Richard Gasquet who’s fresh off suspension for alleged cocaine use, figure Nadal to be a tough out. Especially in a reasonable draw which shouldn’t get hard until he sees either Gael Monfils (13) or David Ferrer (18) in the Round of 16. Indeed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s (7) half is more challenging with Jarkko Nieminen in Round 2 and either Fernando Gonzalez (11) or Tomas Berdych (17) in Rd.4. Tsonga has a big game but we’re unsure if he’s ready to go far here. Figure Nadal to face Gonzalez or Berdych for a spot in the Final Four.

(2) Andy Murray-No Brit has won a major since Fred Perry. If you think about it, Murray’s not a true one because he’s Scot. But he represents London’s hope and has a big enough game to win here. He made the final last year before a bad call cost him a realistic chance against Federer. Since a disappointing Wimbledon semi loss to Roddick, Murray hasn’t played a ton. There are two schools of thought. Either he wanted a chance to recup to be fresh or the lack of match play could hurt. We’ll know early on when big serving Latvian Ernests Gulbis tests him in the first round. He might see big server Ivo Karlovic (27) in the third round. Karlovic gets the winner of comebacking Taylor Dent-Feliciano Lopez. Murray should have little trouble until the Round of 16 versus either Croat Marin Cilic (16) or Stan Wawrinka (19). Wawrinka is a steady player but doesn’t pose as much of a threat as the big hitting Cilic many picked for a breakout season. He’s made four fourth round appearances in slams and made Rd.3 in his Open debut last year.

(6) Juan Martin Del Potro-It’d be wrong to just include Murray as the only contender in such a deep part of the draw. So, we broke it up due in large part to Del Potro who’s one of the best hardcourt players on the ATP. He is hot coming in winning in D.C. over Roddick while falling short versus Murray in Montreal. Fittingly, they could be pitted against each other in a great quarterfinal. However, Del Potro could have to deal with former champ Safin, who’s in his final swan song. You just know the 29 year-old two-time slam winner wants to go out with a bang. Don’t underestimate him in Round 2 against Del Potro. Early in these slams, anything can happen which Djokovic knows only too well from his Wimbledon 2008 exit which saw Safin make a run to the semis before Feds ousted him. That’s the beauty of Marat. Assuming Del Potro gets through, big server Mardy Fish could pose a test in Round 3 if healthy. And either Gilles Simon (9) or Juan Carlos Ferrero (24) should be lurking in the Round of 16. Want an early match to catch? Ferrero against Magician Fabrice Santoro should be a treat.

Semis:

(5) Roddick vs (1) Federer-The anticipated rematch comes down after Andy exacts revenge on Djokovic, who hasn’t been as consistent this year. Roddick is focused and more than ever believes he can win. We saw that belief against a player who’s dominated him. Look what it took Federer to beat him on grass. Figure this to be intense with a few breakers. We’ll take Andy to avenge Wimbledon finally overcoming his biggest obstacle.

(3) Nadal vs (2) Murray-Honestly, it was very difficult to pick against Del Potro because of how well he’s playing. But we feel Murray has just enough versatility to pull out a quarter and setup a semi rematch. It’s hard to bet against Rafa against the same opponent but this is clearly Murray’s best surface and by this point, figure Nadal to show some strain. We’ll take Murray to advance to a second consecutive final in four sets.

2009 U.S. Open Champion (5) Andy Roddick, USA-The long drought ends for American men with its best player meeting every challenge. It will be very tough because of who he has to go through. But he says he doesn’t feel as much pressure and we believe him. That Wimbledon loss gave him new perspective and might be the best thing for his career. He really deserved better that day. It showed he could compete with the best. People forget that he also showed a lot in beating Murray too. Only we see this final being even tougher. It just might go the distance.

Player To Watch: Sam Querrey, USA-The 21 year-old from San Fran is playing well adding more to his game than just a serve with improved groundstrokes that got him to the final in New Haven before losing to Verdasco. Was it wise to play this week? We’ll see. All we know is he’s capable of making a run and showing that America does have a bright future. He made the fourth round last year before Nadal ousted him in four. Also keep an eye on Donald Young, who again made the main draw and plays baseliner Tommy Robredo.

Women’s Doubles Pick: Samantha Stosur/Rennae Stubbs AUS (3) over Serena Williams/Venus Williams USA (4)

Men’s Doubles Pick: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan USA (1) over Mahesh Bhupati IND/Mark Knowles BAH (3)