2012 Women’s U.S. Open Tennis Preview
2012 Women’s US Open Tennis Championship
Monday, August 27-Saturday, September 8, 2012
TV Coverage: ESPN, ESPN2, CBS
USTA National Tennis Center – Flushing Meadows, New York
Playing Surface: DecoTurf Hard Courts
Defending Champion: Samantha Stosur
All Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Since the 2011 Australian Open, seven different women have won the seven grand slam events in women’s tennis. Kim Clijsters, Na Li, Petra Kvitova, Samantha Stosur, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, and most recently Serena Williams at Wimbledon in July. It speak of the parity of women’s tennis, and that the women’s game is so much more wide open than the men’s game right now which is dominated by a handful of players.
Let’s take a look at some of the favorites and contender’s to win the last major of 2012 with odds courtesy of bookmaker.
Serena Williams (-115)
The parity that I just mentioned could be at an end with the dominant summer Serena, age 30, has had. After a humiliating first round defeat at the French Open, Williams, didn’t play until Wimbledon. At Wimbledon she dominated and won her first grand slam title in two seasons and 14th of her career. She and her sister Venus also won the doubles titles at Wimbledon. Three weeks later Serena also won the gold medal at the Olympics, also held at the All-England Club, and the Williams sisters also won the gold in doubles. Serena became the second woman in history with Steffi Graf to complete the Golden Slam, winning all four majors and an Olympic gold medal in her career. Graf did it in one year though in 1988.
Williams went on a 19 match winning streak after the French Open that ended in the quarterfinals in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago. Aside from the titles at Wimbledon and the Olympics, she has other titles at Madrid, Charleston, and Stanford. Serena is 46-4 this season.
Serena is the #4 seed for the US Open. She has won here three times and was the runner up last year. She hasn’t won the US Open since 2008. She could face #32 seed Shuai Peng in the third round and #14 Maria Kirilenko in the fourth round. Potential quarterfinal opponents include #8 Carolina Wozniacki, # 12 Ana Ivanovic, and #22 Francesca Schiavone. Williams should survive her section of the draw, and she could meet #2 Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals. As well as she is playing, I wouldn’t bet against Serena to make it to the finals and win her 4th US Open.
Victoria Azarenka (+265)
Azarenka, 23 from Belarus, is the world’s #1 ranked player, and won the Australian Open this year, her first major title. Despite this she is overshadowed by the media because they mainly focus on Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
Azarenka is 48-7 this year with additional titles at Sydney, Doha, and Indian Wells, and lost in the finals at Stuttgart and Madrid. She lost in the fourth round of the French Open, and made it to the semifinals of both Wimbledon and the Olympics. Unfortunately, she ran into Serena Williams in both and lost in straight sets in the two matches. She did win the bronze medal though at the Olympics. She and her partner Max Mirnyi won the gold in mixed doubles as well.
Azarenka is the #1 seed at the US Open this year. She has never made it past the fourth round in this event in six tries. Her section of the draw is challenging. She could face #28 Jie Zheng in the third round, and either #16 Sabine Lisicki or #18 Julia Goerges in the fourth round. Potential quarterfinal opponents include #9 Na Li, #23 Kim Clijsters, and #7 Samantha Stosur, the defending champion. She might make it to the quarterfinals but I don’t see her coming out of this section, given her struggles in Flushing Meadows.
Maria Sharapova (9/2)
Maria Sharapova is 25 and from Russia. In late 2008, Sharapova suffered an injury and was out for several months. Her ranking dropped to the mid 100’s. This year, the 25 year old regained her #1 ranking, at least for a little while. She is 44-7 with titles at Stuttgart, Rome, and most importantly the French Open, along with 4 runner ups, including the Australian Open and the Olympics. Sharapova was crushed 6-0, 6-1 by Serena Williams in the Olympic gold medal match, but Sharapova was awarded the silver medal. She hasn’t played since then.
Sharapova won the career grand slam with her victory in the French Open, with one of each. She lost to Azarenka in the finals of the Australian Open, and was upset in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Sharapova is the #3 seed at the US Open. She won here in 2006, but hasn’t made it past the fourth round since then. Sharapova’s section of the draw isn’t too challenging. She could face #27 Anabel Medina-Garrigues in the third round, and #15 Lucie Safarova and #19 Nadia Petrova in the fourth round. She could face #5 Petra Kvitova or #11 Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals. She should make it it back to the semifinals with that draw.
Petra Kvitova (8/1)
Kvitova is 22 from the Czech Republic. She is 41-12 this season with titles at Montreal and New Haven, both in the last month. She made it to the semifinals at the Australian and French Opens, and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the Olympics. She has one major title, as she won Wimbledon in 2011.
Kvitova is the #5 seed at the US Open. She has never made it past the 4th round here in 4 tries. She is in the same section of the draw as Sharapova. Kvitova could face #25 Yanina Wickmayer in the third round and Bartoli in the fourth round. I think she loses a close match to Sharapova in the quarterfinals.
Angelique Kerber (8/1)
Kerber is 24 from Germany. She is 53-16 this season with titles at Paris and Copenhagen and runner-ups at Eastbourne and Cincinnati. Kerber snapped Serena’s winning streak with her victory over Williams in Cincinnati. Kerber lost in the third round at the Australian Open, the quarters at the French, the semis, at Wimbledon, and the quarters at the Olympics. Kerber has never made past the semis of any Grand Slam event.
Kerber is the #6 seed at the US Open. She made to the semifinals here last year. Kerber could potentially face Venus Williams in the second round. If she survives that then Kerber could face #29 Tamira Paszek in the third round, and either #10 Sara Errani or #21 Christina McHale in the fourth round. She could face #2 Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals. Whoever survives this section will likely face Serena in the semifinals.
Na Li (9/1)
Li is 30 from China. She is 34-12 this year with a win at Cincinnati, and runner ups at Sydney, Rome and Montreal. She lost in the fourth round at both the Australian and French Opens, lost in the second round at Wimbledon and in the first round at the Olympics. Li won the 2011 French Open, her only major title.
Li is the #9 seed at the US Open. She made it to the quarters in 2009 but has lost in the first round the last two years at the Open. Li is in the same section of the draw as Azarenka, Stosur, and Clijsters, so it will be tough for Li to come out of that section.
Kim Clijsters (25/2)
Clijsters is 29 from Belgium. She is going to retire at the end of the year, and has played a limited schedule. She is 19-5 this season with no titles. The four time major champion made it to the semis at the Australian Open, didn’t play in the French, lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon, and lost in the quarters at the Olympics to Sharapova.
Clijsters is the #23 seed here at the US Open. She has won this event 3 times, the last in 2010. The US Open has a tradition of legendary players making deep runs in their last Open. Players like Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, and Pete Sampras all made it to at least the semifinals in their last US Open. Even though Clijsters is in a tough section, she has a good chance to continue that tradition.
Agnieszka Radwanska (15/1)
Radwanska is 23 from Poland. Radwanska is 48-14 this season with titles at Dubai, Miami, and Brussels, and a runner up to Serena at Wimbledon. She lost in the quarters at the Australian, the third in the French, and lost in the first round at the Olympics.
Radwanska is the #2 seed at the US Open. She has never made it past the fourth round here, or won a major of any kind. Radwanska could face #30 Jelena Jankovic in the third round, and either #13 Dominka Cibulkova or #20 Roberta Vinci in the fourth round. Potential quarterfinal opponents include Kerber, Errani or McHale. Radwanska is worth a play because she is the #2 seed and a relative long shot at 15/1.
Samantha Stosur (35/2)
Stosur is 28 from Australia. Stosur is 31-17 with no titles this year. She lost in the final at Doha. Stosur lost in the first round at the Australian Open, the semifinals at the French, the second round at Wimbledon, and the first round at the Olympics. She is the defending US Open champion, her only major title.
Stosur is the #7 seed at this year’s Open. She is in the same section of the draw as Azarenka, Li, and Clijsters. It wouldn’t be surprising if any of those four advanced to the semifinals.
Venus Williams (37/2)
Venus is 32 years old. She has an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome that sometimes drains her energy and makes her very fatigued. She has played a limited schedule and is 18-8 this season with no singles titles. Venus didn’t play in the Australian, lost in the second round at the French, the first at Wimbledon, and the third round at the Olympics. She and her sister Serena did win doubles titles at both Wimbledon and the Olympics. Venus made it to the semifinals at Cincinnati, earlier this month the first time she advanced past the quarters of any tournament this season.
Williams is unseeded, but is a 7 time major champion including titles at the US Open in 2000 and 2001. If Williams can survive her second round showdown with Kerber, Venus has a chance to make a deep run. However, we don’t know about her energy level.
Caroline Wozniacki (20/1)
Wozniacki is 22 from Denmark. She is a former #1 ranked player, but has struggled this season. She is 32-17 this season with no titles, and a runner-up at Copenhagen. Wozniacki made it to the quarters at the Australian and the Olympics, lost in the third at the French, and the first round at Wimbledon.
Wozniacki is the #8 seed here. She has made it at least to the semifinals the last 3 years, and was the runner-up in 2009. She has never won a major championship. Wozniacki is in the same section as Kerber, Venus Williams, and Errani. She has a good shot of returning to the semifinals.
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