The Most Wide-Open Women’s Draw in Years?

Jan 15, 2011

Isn’t it amazing how much the absence of one player can change things.  With Serena out with an injury, suddenly it seems like anybody’s tournament.  Or is it, really?

Clijsters was already the favorite, though by no means an overwhelming one, before the draw was made.  Now, because of her soft draw, she has to be considered more likely to win it all.

Safina may look like a tough first round match, but these days Dinara often seems a shadow of her former self.  She has not played well of late.  Should Clijsters come through that match — and I am convinced that she will — she should have three fairly easy matches in a row, due to Petrova’s out-of-form play of late.  Maybe four.  I would like Radwanska to come through and give Kim a tough match if she were healthy.  Jankovic has not been in top form for quite awhile now.  I don’t think she is as highly motivated as she once was.  It looks like a stroll to the quarters for Clijsters.

No doubt her semifinal opponent (Zvonareva or Stosur or Peer or Pennetta or maybe Jovanovski or Kvitova) will present a challenge.  When she’s playing at the top of her game and doesn’t melt down mentally, Zvonareva can beat everybody.  It would be no surprise if she won the tournament.  Still, you have to wonder how Vera will handle the added pressure that goes with being the #2 seed.  She has come far in overcoming her emotions, but I am not yet sure that she has entirely conquered those demons.  If she has, maybe she should be the favorite.

Stosur finally has a good draw in her home slam.  Kvitova seems to have nearly unlimited potential if she can overcome her tendency to be erratic at times.  Peer and Pennetta seem on a collision course with the winner getting Stosur or Kvitova.  Having said that, I like Clijsters to win easily against any of the four.

The top half of the draw is loaded.   Any of many could come through.  It would be no surprise if Wozniacki, Venus,  Azarenka, Henin or Sharapova came through to the final.  Any of them could win the tournament if she played in top form.  Nor would Schiavone, Bartoli, Rezai or even Kanepi or Hantuchova be all that surprising a finalist.  Certainly, whoever does get there will have to be playing very well, indeed.  But she may have to raise her level of play if she hopes to beat Kim Clijsters — or, maybe, the woman who beat her.

Written by: Don

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