Monday, September 3, 2007

WOB: Wide-Open Bottom (Half of the Draw)

When the draw came out for this year's US Open, the powerhouses of women's tennis were stacked were stacked on the top half of the draw: both the Williams sisters, Justine Henin, Serbs Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. It seemed as though the champion of the year's final Slam would come from said half of the draw, and few could have any say about it.

Yet looming at the bottom were a few familiar ladies. Maria Sharapova for one, the defending champion and one of the tour's biggest hitters. Sharapova had just played one event all summer, but she had come away from it victorious and had every right to believe the strokes that garnered her a title here in '06 would do the same trick this year as well.

Martina Hingis resided on the bottom side too. Though her comeback has been less than she had hoped it would be, the five-time Major winner is always a threat, no matter what her recent track record shows.

But as this year's Open has progressed, Hingis and Sharapova have fallen, as has Nicole Vaidisova (a two-time Slam semifinalist). So leaves first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Agnes Svazay along with Svetlana Kuznetsova (the '04 Open champ) and Shahar Peer - Vaidisova's victor.

And while the Williams sisters will battle time-tested foes in Henin and Jankovic, Kuznetsova will deal with lower-ranked opponents. It's always the case at the slams, that anything can happen. With the surprising draw and the stunning upsets that have followed it, what can we expect in the second week of the open? If anything, hopefully some good tennis to round it out.

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