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Sunday, 28 August 2011

US Open Tennis Outright Picks (Women's Tournament)

All those affected on the East Coast of the US by Hurricane Irena, please keep yourselves and your families safe.


I decided to split my Men's outright picks and Women's outright picks into two different posts as the length may have been a little too long and I hope this makes it easier reading. The Men's tournament looks like being the more interesting one as to how it will develop, but I still think there could be something to find from the Women's draw.


Women's Tournament
I don't think I was close to being the only person whose first thought when the draw was released was to find where the favourite, and Number 28 seed, Serena Williams had landed. After a year out of the game, her ranking plummeted to 175 after her exit at Wimbledon, but she has played nothing short of being the best female player on the planet as she won back to back tournaments in Stanford and Toronto.

That meant she pushed herself up to one of the 32 seeded places, but her lower ranking meant there was going to be a couple of unfortunate players that would have to meet Williams far earlier than they would have wanted.

Serena landed in the 2nd quarter of the draw and her unfortunate 3rd round opponent will be Victoria Azarenka, a player that would have been considered one of the favourites before the draw. Azarenka was beaten comfortably when they met in Toronto a couple of weeks ago and she has lost 5 of the 6 times she has met Williams and I cannot see that changing.

A potential match with Ana Ivanovic in the 4th round would hold no fears for Williams if she does overcome Azarenka, although Ivanovic's fellow Serb, Jelena Jankovic, is a potential Quarter Final opponent for Williams.

Williams and Jankovic are 4-4 in their previous 8 meetings, although Williams did win when they met in the Final here in 2008. Jankovic has been in good form having reached the Final in Cincinnati last time out, but she is so inconsistent and there is a chance she will not make it through to an awkward Quarter Final for Williams.

The top half of Williams' section is where the Number 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki sits, but there is no way I can back the Danish player to have enough to beat Serena in a Semi Final and there may even be enough to suggest she doesn't make it out of the quarter.

Na Li is also in this section, but she has not been the same player since winning the French Open as expectations have increased on her and opponents have been raising their games against her. The likes of Andrea Petkovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Daniela Hantuchova may all have an impact in this part of the draw, but I don't trust too many of those players so will move on.

The Number 2 seed in the draw is Vera Zvonareva and she will be hoping to go one better than last year when she lost in the Final against Kim Clijsters. I expect the Russian to get through the first 3 rounds, but things definitely get murkier for her there.

Players she can meet in the 4th round include Venus Williams, Dominika Cibulkova or Sabine Lisicki- all 3 of those players have doubts surrounding their ability to reach that stage. Williams has been suffering with a viral infection meaning she has not played since Wimbledon, and could be vulnerable in her potential 2nd round match with Lisicki.

Lisicki has played a lot of tennis recently having won in Dallas last week so it could be interesting to see how she goes. However, she has lost all 3 meetings with Zvonareva so last year's runner up could be in line to make her way through to the Quarter Final.

There is enough doubt about Zvonareva, even though she has pretty well over the Summer US hard court swing and the prices are plenty short on her chances that I would suggest avoiding her.

The final section of the draw has 3 top players that could go deep in the draw- Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova and Agnieska Radwanska.

Kvitova has not been the same player since her maiden Grand Slam win at Wimbledon in July and she has not performed that well over the last couple of tournaments that suggests Lucie Safarova could cause plenty of problems for her in the 3rd round.

One player who could take advantage of that is Agnieska Radwanska, as long as she can beat her sister in the 1st round. Radwanska has proven her ability to perform on the hard courts by reaching the Semi Final in Toronto and winning in San Diego and I am not too concerned with her early exit at New Haven last week.

Radwanska will face a tough 3rd round match with Yanina Wickmayer, but the Belgian has not been in great form and lost her last match against Radwanska. The 4th round match with Kvitova/Safarova is one I think the consistent Radwanska could win and then she would have to face a big Quarter Final against Maria Sharapova.

Sharapova has won 6 matches in a row against Radwanska and would be the big favourite in the contest, but I think the odds are just on the side of the Pole in the outright market to take advantage if Sharapova exits the tournament early.


It is hard to look beyond Serena Williams for the tournament and I will make her my big outright pick. She looked far and away the best player when winning in Stanford and Toronto and I don't think her early opponents are capable of stopping her.

Victoria Azarenka may be one who could surprise her, but she was easily beaten in Toronto by Williams and I can't see things changing too much over the next 2 weeks.

The other player I will pick is a small interest on Agnieska Radwanska who has looked in fine form in recent weeks and could be the latest surprise finalist in the Women's tournaments at Grand Slam level. She is ultra-consistent, but lacks the weapon that can hurt opponents and I fear for her match with Maria Sharapova if she reaches that stage.

In saying that, the odds in the outright market look a little wrong and I think the Pole is worth chancing.


MY PICKS: Serena Williams @ 2.63 Paddy Power (5 Units)
Agnieska Radwanska @ 41.00 BetFred (0.5 Unit e/w) E/W pays out at 0.5 the odds if Radwanska reaches the Final

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