WTA Blog: September (and a little bit of October) in review

World #1 Victoria Azarenka continues to assert her dominance over the rest of the tour, winning the China Open this week with ease. Photo by Cynthia Lum.

The end of the WTA season is looming, with the year end championships coming at the end of the month in Turkey.  Let’s take a look at what’s happened since the US Open in the women’s game…

-Victoria Azarenka once again proved she (along with Serena Williams) are in a class by themselves over the rest of the tour, cruising through the draw to win the China Open without dropping a set.  In fact, no set was closer than 6-4, including her win over world #2 Maria Sharapova in the final, 6-3 6-1.  She’s won 15 of her last 16 matches (not counting her w/o in Tokyo) with her only loss coming in the US Open final against Serena, 7-5 in the third.

-Former world #3 Nadia Petrova got hot in Japan, taking down three top 10 players en route to her winning the Tokyo Open, her second WTA title of the year.  This marks the first time that Petrova has beaten three top 10 players in the same tournament in her career.  The rejuvenated 30-year-old Petrova has bigger visions after winning this title.  “There are a few players who have won Grand Slams after 30, and I feel like I don’t want to walk away from tennis without accomplishing the same.”

Laura Robson of Great Britain is a player to keep an eye on for 2013. Photo by Cynthia Lum.

-18-year-old Laura Robson is using the confidence she gained from winning the mixed doubles silver medal at the Olympics with Andy Murray to continue to vault up the rankings.  She has won 10 of her last 13 matches going back to the US Open (including two top 10 wins at the Open) and is currently at a career high ranking of 56 in the world.  Look for the youngster to keep improving and crack the top 20 real soon.

Stay tuned for more WTA blogs…Thanks for reading!

AG

At the Open with Kveta Peschke

WTA Tour player, Kveta Peschke blogs from the US Open.

Kveta Peschke gets ready to rip a backhand in this file photo. Photo by TW Staff.

Hello everyone! I am very happy to have the chance to write to you here on the Tennis Warehouse website. I love Tennis Warehouse and it’s been great to work with them together this year so far. We decided it would be nice and fun to give some insights into what’s going on here at the last Grand Slam of the year in New York…last but not least!

Right now I am sitting on a couch in the player’s lounge waiting for my first round mixed doubles match. I’m excited to get the match started soon because the wait is getting long! I am playing with Marcin Matkowski here. He is a very good doubles player, ranked number 6, his best ranking so far. I have played with him once before in Australia…we hope to play even better this time. We are both doing better in doubles since that time! I speak a little Polish so I think we will have fun on court!

I prepared myself well for this tournament because it’s an important one so that’s why I spend a lot of time on site. It’s the last big one of the year and I have lots of special memories from here from the previous years. So that means not too much time for fun in NYC yet but last night we went to Rue 57, a French restaurant, for dinner with friends.

Looks like the match before me is nearly done so I am going to warm up. Wish me good luck! I will write more tomorrow hopefully with some good news and photos!

Bye bye!

Kveta

Andy’s 2012 Men’s US Open Preview

Will Roger win his record 18th major title at this year's US Open?

There’s little intro needed for this year’s US Open. On the men’s side, we’ve had three different Grand Slam winners to start the year for the first time since 2005. Can Andy Murray join the game’s elite as a Grand Slam champion? Will we see another unexpected run to the title like Juan Martin Del Potro in 2009? Can Novak Djokovic regain his form from last season? Will Roger Federer earn himself his 18th Grand Slam title and further strengthen his claim as the game’s best? All of these questions are going to be answered in the next couple weeks in the Big Apple. I hope you’re as excited as we are for the US Open to start!

With all these great storylines and great players gunning for the title, it’s easy to overlook the great action that’s going to start the tournament in the first couple rounds. True tennis fans say that some of the most exciting tennis to watch of the whole tournament is on the outside courts during the first week. Many tennis enthusiasts purchase a grounds pass for the early rounds instead of forking out the greenbacks for a premium seat on one of the stadium courts, where they see some lower ranked guys battle their hearts out for precious rankings points and prize money.  Let’s take a look at some early round matches to keep an eye on, as well as some predictions for the rest of the tournament…

1st Round Upset Special:

Nicolas Almagro (11) vs. Radek Stepanek: I like Almagro, especially because he’s consistently a tough competitor, week in and week out. However, I see this as a tricky matchup for the feisty Spaniard. Stepanek makes his living coming forward to the net and giving big hitters little rhythm, carving them up and chopping them down. Almagro‘s even been a victim in the past, as Stepanek has beaten him both times they’ve played. Grab the popcorn and watch this one, as Almagro will scratch and claw but ultimately will get frustrated by Radek’s aggressive play…Stepanek in 4.

1st Round To Watch:

Juan Martin Del Potro (7) vs. David Nalbandian: It’s an all-Argentine matchup between two great baseliners. Del Potro looks to be finding his form of late, earning himself a bronze medal at the Olympics after taking down Djokovic and pushing Roger to the brink in the semis. Nalbandian is always a threat on the hard courts, and is 3-1 all-time against Del Po. Look for some hard hitting action, with Del Potro coming out on top…Del Potro in 4.

Potential 2nd Round Matchups To Watch:

Mardy Fish has been streaky this year, but he's won at least 3 rounds at the US Open the last three times he's played.

Mardy Fish (23) vs. Nikolay Davydenko: This is just too intriguing of a matchup to pass up. Mardy usually plays well during the summer hard court season, but has been pretty average so far this year. Davydenko had two easy wins of Dolgopolov and Mayer (both top 25) last week in Cincinnati, but then retired to Djokovic after dropping the first set 6-0. This match is more about the unknown, about which Nikolay and Mardy we are going to see. I think this match goes the distance, and Mardy rides the wave of the New York crowd to victory…Fish in 5.

Can Alexandr Dolgopolov match his round of 16 appearance of 2011?

Alexandr Dolgopolov (14) vs. Marcos Baghdatis: I want to watch this one just for the personalities, as two of the most likable players on tour potentially face off (check out this funny glimpse into the life of Alexandr at the Australian Open). These are two of my favorite players on tour, both in their game styles and personalities. Dolgopolov won a title in Washington DC, but since then has had two bad first round losses in Toronto and Cincinnati. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of form both these guys are in…I say Dolgopolov in 3.

Dark Horse: John Isner (9)

Big John once again has turned in a solid performance during the US summer hard court season.  He’s 18-3 since his first round exit at Wimbledon, with three top 10 wins (Tipsarevic, Tsonga, and Berdych) and two titles in Newport and Winston-Salem.  I think he’s poised for a breakout at the Open, with a favorable draw and the New York crowd ready to support him the whole way.  A couple other interesting stats for the ex-Georgia Bulldog…he’s leading the tour in aces this year with over 750, and he’s 6-2 against the top 10 this year, including wins over Djokovic in Indian Wells and Federer in Davis Cup.  Look for Isner to make his way through his section, riding the wave of the American crowd into the semifinals.  

Big John is poised for a big run at the US Open

Finals Prediction: Roger Federer (1) vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (7)

I think it’s going to be a 2009 US Open final rematch! Roger is the best in the world and he’s going to continue to prove it. He’s got a great draw to get to the quarters, and then I think he takes down Murray in the semis in one of the best matches of the tournament. I think Del Potro gets hot and goes on a run. The Del Potro/Djokovic quarterfinal will be the match of the tournament, with Del Po prevailing in 5 sets, and then riding that wave of momentum to his second career Grand Slam final. Once they both get there, I’m going to say…Roger in 4!

Thanks for reading!

AG