We profile 12 of the top title contenders at the 2012 U.S. Open.
Ever since Wimbledon, Serena has played like a woman possessed. She won 19 matches in a row starting at that event, and added an Olympic singles gold medal to her collection of trophies, all of which vaulted her up the rankings to No. 4 (although most pundits acknowledge her as the shadow No. 1). Last year at the US Open, she suffered a bitter loss as Samantha Stosur, now mired in a slump but hanging in at No. 7, upset her in a match marred by controversy. Does anyone else get the feeling that she’s just chomping at the bit to get going at this tournament, given her track record here? She’s 58-9 on a court that she loves, but she’s won “only” three titles here, and none since 2009.
Why She’ll Win:
Serena has embarked on few tournaments with the kind of ideal preparation she’s coasted into New York on. To say she’s seasoned is an understatement. Having done her due diligence means she begins her quest in well-rested and healthy.
Why She Won’t:
Serena’s two biggest wins in recent times were on grass, where her serve wins her bushel loads of free points. But if she doesn’t serve well and an aggressive baseliner begins to move her around the court, it could spell trouble.
Like Roger Federer and certain missionaries, Serena has come to specialize in making believers of skeptics and cynics. If she continues to serve the way she did on grass, it’s difficult to imagine anyone handling the return regularly, or blunting her bold shot making.
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