Hey, everyone needs a hiatus sometime, right?
I knew this may happen, school plus tennis plus a new-found addiction (I'm in therapy, it's ok!) to msn chat have resulted in my poor tennis blog being left behind. But with the YEC right around the corner, I thought this would be as good a time as any to pop back on the scene.
This week kicks off the WTA's YEC in Madrid (ahhh, Madrid!). The eight qualifiers are (not in order, by the way):
Justine Henin - duh
Svetlana Kuznetsova - strong season, but still lacking that breakout win
Jelena Jankovic - great season, but Henin owns her
Ana Ivanovic - another great season, Henin owns her as well
Serena Williams - pretty shaky going into this YEC, but is already trash talking. Oh, and Henin owns her, too!
Maria Sharapova - even more shaky going into YEC than Williams. I'm wondering why she is even bothering to show up. Ivanovic, Williams, Henin all own her. Maria only got in when Venus withdrew, so she needs to send the sister a thank card, in my opinion.
Anna Chakvetadze - if she can control her emotions on court, she just may pull of a surprise or two.
Daniela Hanutchova - Dani played some of her best tennis to squeeze into the 8th spot, and if she can keep that going, she's got a shot. An outside one, but still...it is there.
They are divided into the following groups:
Horrendously lopsided. The yellow group is screwed, really. The only question that remains to be answered is who will advance other than Henin. I'm hoping Jelena. The red group would favor Sharapova, if she had actually played a match sometime in the recent past. I'm picking Kuz and Ivanovic, but I would love to see Dani come out of there, too. Really, I'm ok with anyone either than Serena or Maria going through to the semis. For some reason, I've had it with both of them.
Play kicks off tomorrow with the yellow group:
Henin vs. Chakie (Henin)
Sharapova vs. Hantuchova (go Dani!)
Kuz vs. Ivanovic (hmmm, I see AnaIvo coming through this one, but I think it will be the most tightly contested of the three matches).
The men's YEC had a lot of last minute drama, with the final spot being decided in the later rounds of Paris.
Roger Federer - duh
Rafael Nadal - duh, but he fell off during the end of the season again. If he ever wants to overtake Roger than he needs to figure out a way to have a consistently strong season.
Novak Djokovic - the Djoker will make things interesting and fun!
Nikolay Davydenko - certainly not in form, mentally or physically. First, the gambling speculations, and now he has been fined *twice* for not trying? This will be a tough tournament for him.
Andy Roddick - Didn't show up for the last two Masters Series, and qualified while sitting at home. We all know all that Andy really cares about is Davis Cup right now, so why not withdrawal so that someone else (NALBANDIAN!!) can have the spot? Some speculate that he doesn't deserve the spot, and while my knee-jerk reaction is to agree, you can't argue with the race. Nalby didn't show up until a bit too late, and Andy had consistent results. Still, if his heart isn't in it, then I hope he does withdrawal.
David Ferrer - depending on which group he is in, Ferrer can definitely cause some damage.
Fernando Gonzalez - oh Gonzo. Still searching for that form that saw him threw to the Aussie final. I love him, but I don't see him getting out of his group.
Richard Gasquet - Reeeechard squeaked in at the last minute in Paris when Baggy lost. Such a beautiful game, I would love to him put together some wins.
Missing, of course, is last year's finalist James Blake. Unfortunately, we may have already seen the best he has to offer...and I do say this with regret.
Doubles will come later. Suffice to say, Sam Stosur is sick, so the current champs will not be able to defend their title.