Its exactly 3 weeks since the end of Wimbledon and I have been in mourning for most of that time! But finally, we have some significant tennis on the horizon as the US Open Series begins tomorrow with a stellar line-up returning to action in Stanford. Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova who contested the final last year are the top two seeds. Azarenka has been handed by far the easier draw as Sharapova will have to battle her way past both Daniela Hantuchova and Serena Williams just to reach the semi-finals.
The unseeded Serena Williams will remain a threat throughout the next couple of months; however this week she has avoided the big names and will play the fiesty, Anastasia Rodionova in Round 1. The number three seed, Marion Bartoli is coming off a fantastic European swing and should be back to peak fitness after several weeks rest. She will face either Rebecca Marino or Coco Vandeweghe in Round 2; the former could be a potentially tricky opener to her campaign as Marino is a player I am tipping to be a big future star. Marino won their only encounter last year in Quebec and handily, 6-3 6-1.
The number 4 seed, Sam Stosur also has a tough draw and will be concerned that her doubles partner, Sabine Lisicki could be her second round opponent. I will be interested to see if Lisicki, a self-confessed grass court lover can transform her form to the hard courts. Agnieszka Radwanska, Julia Goerges, Ana Ivanovic and Dominika Cibulkova round out the remaining seeds. Radwanska has a very straightforward draw to the Quarters but to be honest, just doesn’t stand a chance of going all the way with the big hitters in the draw. Goerges has a tough opener against Maria Kirilenko and I ultimately believe she will be unstuck here. Goerges is still remarkably inexperienced and is riding off the back of two superb clay court performances. She is yet to truly prove her mettle in the field of consistency.
Its an excellent draw this week in Stanford with some dangerous names lurking – potentially we could see a blockbuster quarter-final between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, which would be mightily interesting on so many different levels. For the title, I’m going to go for Azarenka to repeat her triumph of last year. She’s in the easier half of the draw and shes proven over the last couple of months that she is a tough competitor on the tour.
Predicted QF line-up:
Predicted Winner: Victoria Azarenka
Top 1st round tip: Kirilenko to beat Goerges (5/4 with most bookmakers)
NEXT – Preview of WTA Washington and the ATP tournaments sooooon!