Thursday, August 28, 2008

U.S. Open 3rd round--what to expect

Tomorrow, the bottom half of the draw will play third round matches.

An (ever-)ailing Jelena Jankovic will face Wimbledon semi-finalist Zheng Jie. The 2008 U.S. Open courts are reported to have a high bounce, which should work in Jankovic's favor, rather than Zheng's. But sadly, Jankovic is a mess, and Zheng is tough. Anything could happen.

Olympic gold medal winner Elena Dementieva is favored to defeat Anne Keothavong, of course, though no one is safe in this draw, much less someone like Dementieva, who can have meltdowns from time to time.

Li Na faces young Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who has been rather impressive lately. And Patty Schnyder--more or less the forgotten woman in this tournament--will play Magdalena Rybarikova. Katarina Srebotnik gets a shot at Svetlana Kuznetsova--that could be a really good match, and Tatiana Perebiynis will play Sybille Bammer.

Of great interest to a lot of people is the third round match between Lindsay Davenport and Marion Bartoli. Bartoli is a lot like Jankovic in that we can anticipate she will have an injury or illness of some kind more often than not. Davenport has had trouble with her knee lately, but I think she is less physically vulnerable than Bartoli. But...if Bartoli is healthy and in her particular zone, she could give Davenport some trouble. Both of them like to dictate play from the baseline, and neither likes to move around a lot, though Bartoli is deceptively faster than people perceive.

Those are some interesting matches, but--to me--they pale next to the one that will be played between Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki. Unless something goes wrong, these two will put on a show. Wozniacki, who won Pilot Pen Tennis right before the U.S. Open began, is one of the hottest players on the tour right now, and Azarenka is capable of hitting powerful groundstrokes and showing the net skills she has honed in doubles play. We should expect three exciting sets.

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