Toronto (Pre)View: Free for All

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 /by

Ed When is it officially too late to write a tournament preview? I don’t think a law has ever been passed on that issue, but two days after the main draw begins must, at the very least, be close to the borderline. Cut me some slack, if you will; I’m actually on vacation at the moment, getting a prickly sunburn, and I brought the wrong charger for my computer. If any of my predictions for Cincy turn out to be wrong, I’m blaming the fact that I had to make them while racing the battery monitor on my screen as it (very rapidly) ran down. But now I’ve got the charger here at the beach, and it’s time to look at what’s going on in Toronto. You would think that coming in after the second round would give me a leg up on picks, but this tournament already looks like it’s beyond predictability. Rather than a harbinger of potential results at the U.S. Open, it’s an old-fashioned free for all at this point—Venus, Svetlana, Victoria, and Dinara are all out, and Maria won today despite 17 double faults. Who’s next? Who will use the opening to build some confidence and grab a few points? Let’s take a look.

First Quarter

Top seed Safina, a finalist on Sunday, has already succumbed to second-week syndrome in losing to the fabulously named Aravane Rezai, but Kim Clijsters hasn’t slowed her roll at all—she upset Azarenka today. Jelena Jankovic has done the same in fending off Schnyder in two close sets. I don’t see Rezai being consistent enough to make the semis, which means this section should come down to Jankovic vs. Clijsters. I think JJ, who is used to going out there day after day and week after week, will be a little better prepared to keep rolling.

Semifinalist: Jankovic

Second Quarter

The big name here, Venus Williams, is also gone, having lost to the less famous of the Bondarenkos, Katernya. K.B. will get Radwanska next, with the winner will play the winner of Zvonareva vs. Sharapova. The latter match should be a good one, and a good gauge on the progress of both players as they continue to recover from injuries. Maria is 5-3 against Vera, though they haven’t played since 2008. Vera looked a little more efficient today. For both of them, this could be chance to put themselves in the conversation in New York.

Semifinalist: Zvonareva

Third Quarter

Kuznetsova is out, but that’s too surprising; she lost to the surging Sam Stosur. The Aussie will play Razzano next, and then, most likely, Elena Dementieva. Whatever Stosur has done this year, Dementieva, the fourth seed, remains the class of this quarter, especially on hard courts. She’ll have to suffer a meltdown not to make it out.

Semifinalist: Dementieva

Fourth Quarter

If any section can be said to be “loaded” right now, it’s this one: Serena, Ivanovic, Zheng, Wozniacki, and the dangerous qualifier Lucie Safarova are here. As shaky as Serena always seems to be at this time of year—even more than Roger Federer at this point, her form at the tune-up events and her form at the Slams themselves don’t even remotely resemble each other—I don’t see her taking a fall to Woz or Ana or anyone else in her vicinity.

Semifinalist: S. Williams

Semifinals: Dementieva d. Williams; Jankovic d. Zvonareva

Final: Dementieva d. Jankovic

***

I may be back on Friday, depending on the weather out here on Long Island. Otherwise, I’ll see you Monday and next week for the U.S. Open qualies. Cincy is on ESPN starting tomorrow; the network picks up Toronto on Friday. My only question regarding the coverage so far is: Shouldn’t Chris Fowler have been a lawyer rather than a broadcaster? He’s a pro at his job, but I’d hate to try to get the last word in on him.

In the meantime, check out TENNIS’ Twitter feeds here, including one from Concrete Elbow.

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