The final big event before the U.S. Open takes place next week in Cincinnati and some of the world’s best players are desperately in need of hard court practice before the last Grand Slam of the year.
Stop losing so much Seriously what is the problem with all the elite players at this week’s Rogers Cup? If you have a slam win and aren’t called Novak or Serena then you might as well forget about playing well north of the border this year. Na Li, Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters and Francesca Schiavone all went out early in Toronto while Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer both failed to make the quarter finals in Montreal. Even the big names without majors have been far from immune. Defending champions Andy Murray and Caroline Wozniacki are both out, as is Vera Zvonareva.
Big implications for Cincinnati All of the aforementioned players, bar the injured Clijsters, will be desperate for deep runs at the Western & Southern Open next week. The hard court season doesn’t normally feel rushed but these are exceptional circumstances. With only one week of top level play left until Flushing Meadows, some of the best players in the world are seriously short of match practice.
Advantage Serena? The biggest beneficiary of the carnage will undoubtedly be Serena Williams. She’s got a couple of wins this week which, coupled with her win in Stanford makes her arguably the player with the most big games under her belt on hard courts this summer. That’s a massive turnaround from Wimbledon where she only managed two games before the trip to SW19. Another good run in Cincinnati and suddenly all talk of ring rust surrounding the younger Williams sister will be moot.
Elsewhere in the WTA draw, I am once again urging Tennis betting fans to look for value from Andrea Petkovic. The German has delivered consistently in 2011 and I like her to have another good showing in the early rounds.
Still the best of the best Novak Djokovic’s dominance of the ATP Tour this year should make it obligatory for him to have this play whenever he steps onto court. The Serbian pummeled all comers in the spring, and did the same on clay until a Herculean effort by Roger Federer ended his unbeaten streak. Djokovic then picked up where he left off by blasting through all before him at Wimbledon and has largely had his own way in Toronto. This makes it rather easy to pick him as favorite for Cincinnati.