If Maria Sharapova were hoping for a good first-round warmup at the U.S. Open, then her hopes have probably been realized, for she will play Jarmila Groth. I was disappointed when I saw Groth's unfortunate first round draw; I enjoy watching her, and was hoping she could equal her French Open (where she had a wild card) and Wimbledon round of 16 runs. Of course, it may not be a walk in the park for Sharapova, especially if Groth brings her biggest serve. The Australian appears to like playing on a big stage, so this could be a good match.
Svetlana Kuznetsova could probably think of someone she'd rather face in the first round that Kimiko Date Krumm. Date Krumm's big tennis days are behind her, of course, but she gives every match everything she has, she's still a very good player, and her attitude doesn't tend to dip, unlike some of her peers. (Date Krumm, by the way, is back in the top 50.)
Two big hitters, Coco Vandeweghe and Sabine Lisicki, also meet in the first round. Under "normal" conditions, this wouldn't be a match of much interest. But Lisicki has not played many matches since she sustained her last injury, and this is a chance for the wild card to advance. Of course, Vandeweghe is a very undisciplined hitter, so anything can happen.
Daniela Hantuchova and Dinara Safina are also first-round opponents, though it's hard to accept that one of them will go home so early.
Groth will not be able to get out of her way in the face of Sharapova. The only thing that might work in her favour is the fact that she beat Sharapova handily this summer during WTT (not a great barometer but still a win is a win no matter where). Also, who knows how Sharapova is mentally these days. Her fitness seems quite suspect.
Pity for Wozniacki as she has drawn Sharapova in the round of 16 if they both make it there. Talk about battle of the blondes. I will be sitting down with my popcorn for that one. The retriever vs. the attacker. Bring It.
Assuming they both make it to the quarterfinals (I don't take a lot for granted these days), that should be one of the top matches of the tournament.
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