NEWS FROM NEW HAVEN AND A FEW UNSEEDED GEMS…
We have a little more insight as well from the final pre-Open tournament schedule as both the ATP and WTA finished play in New Haven, Connecticut. Caroline Wozniacki fired a salvo at her detractors who said that she was undeserving of the top seed in the wake of Serena Williams’ absence from the field, beating Nadia Petrova 6-3 3-6 6-3 in the final to take her third consecutive title in the Pilot Pen Invitational. She is playing good hard-court tennis right now, and has the game to go all the way to the final for the second straight year in Queens.
Sergiy Stakhovsky has been having the best year of his career, and it continued with his run in the men’s draw in New Haven. Earning a bye as the #9 seed, he knocked off Peter Luczak (coincidentally his first-round opponent in New York) in the second round before taking out Tommy Robredo, Marcos Baghdatis, Thiemo de Bakker and Denis Istomin for the championship. He’s a dangerous unseeded player in this draw, and is the likely third-round opponent for Rafael Nadal the way he’s playing right now. (He should beat Feliciano Lopez in the second round after dispatching of Luczak once more.)
Other dangerous unseeded players will most certainly include de Bakker and Robredo. Taylor Dent is the likely opponent for #5 Robin Soderling, a potential upset in the making if the young American can recapture the form he brought into last year’s tournament. All eyes will be on America’s darling, Melanie Oudin, as she comes into this year’s U.S. Open with deflated expectations — the perfect ingredient for a dangerous darkhorse run.
The most dangerous darkhorse amongst either the men or the women, though? Former world #1 Dinara Safina, a semifinalist here two years ago who has fallen on hard times. Her year began with a back injury that flared up at the Australian Open and has spiraled downward from there. She’s fallen all the way to #50 in the world from her perch atop the sport in just sixteen months, but this past week in New Haven saw her show some spark. She knocked off French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the first round and Daniela Hantuchova in the second round before losing to compatriot Maria Kirilenko in the quarterfinals. Hantuchova, seeded #24 at the U.S. Open this year, earned no favors in the draw when she was paired up with Safina in the opening round. This is likely going to be the first seeded player to fall, making it a third straight year that Hantuchova has failed to play more than one match in Flushing Meadows.
I decided the best way to show my predictions was to show the way I came about them. Here were the people I think will at least advance through the first two rounds of the tournament and how it will unfold from there for both singles and doubles:
Also don’t forget the juniors, the wheelchair competitions and the mixed doubles. Draws for those tournaments within the tournament will be forthcoming later in the week. For now, these are the ones at which the pros will be playing, and accordingly they will be starting in the first week from the outset. So enjoy the tournament tomorrow when it begins, and we’ll be here every day with my thoughts on the action from Flushing Meadows round by round right through to the final!
2010 U.S. Open – Thoughts before the tournament begins on Monday… is a post originally from: SportsNickel.com - In Sports We Trust