US Open 2010 preview

It’s that time of the year once again. The last and most spectacular Grand Slam tournament this season is slowly lurking around the corner. In less than a week, {almost} all the best tennis players in the world will compete at Flushing Meadows for a chance to lift that coveted US Open crown. But before the tournament even begins, there have been a couple of bad news for tennis fans already. Let’s start with the men.

MEN’S NEWS

The men’s defending champion Juan Martin del Potro is officially out of contention. He announced last Aug. 21 that he is pulling out of the tournament due to a persistent wrist injury. He has not played any ATP tour since the Australian Open in January. He said in a statement that he is “extremely sad” about withdrawing from the tournament. He won the title in a high class and thrilling match against Roger Federer (3-6 7-6 4-6 7-6 6-2). He thwarted  Federer’s  dream of capturing a 6th straight US Open crown.

On August 23 (Monday), the men’s seedings were released. And for the 2nd time in 3 years, Rafael Nadal is seeded No. 1. Roger Federer is seeded second, followed by Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling respectively.

Though during tune-up tournaments leading up to the US Open, Nadal only reached the semis in Toronto (lost to Murray) and quarters in Cincinnati (lost to Baghdatis), many analysts still believe that this year is his best chance to finally capture the crown, going into this tournament in his best possible form, winning 5 titles this year including French Open and Wimbledon.

“My game can improve, that’s for sure. It must improve if I really want to have chances to have some opportunity in a week or so in New York,” Nadal said. He will attempt to be just the 7th man to complete a career Grand Slam and the 2nd player, along with Andre Agassi, to achieve a Career Golden Slam (winning all 4 majors plus an Olympic gold in singles).

WOMEN’S NEWS

One thing is for sure, we won’t be seeing a repeat of Serena’s tirade last year when she allegedly threatened to kill a lineswoman. Serena is still recovering from a surgery on her foot when she cut it with a broken glass last July. The 3-time US Open champion and world No. 1 said that it was with “much frustration and deep sadness” that she had to pull out. Her doctor advised against her playing so that her foot can heal.

Another former US Open champion has also withdrawn from the event. Justine Henin has been out of action since Wimbledon when she hurt her right elbow. She wrote in her official website that she is ruling herself out for the rest of the season. She hopes to be back in fine form in 2011.

The women’s seedings were released last Tuesday with Caroline Wozniacki, a finalist last year, leading the field. It is the first time since 2003 that the top seed at the US Open has not yet won any Grand Slam title. The defending champion Kim Clijsters is seeded second. Rounding up the top 5 are 2-time US Open champion Venus Williams, 2008 US Open finalist Jelena Jankovic and 2010 French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur.

PREDICTIONS

Men’s: Even with little success during the hard court season, Rafael Nadal by far still has the best form coming to this event. Another Rafa-Roger final perhaps? Too soon? Yeah, thought so.

Women’s: With Serena out of the way, this will be the best chance that Venus captures her 3rd US Open title. Though she hasn’t played any warm-up tournaments, she looks to be in fine form. Already in her twilight years, Venus will try to prove that at age 30, she is still a force to be reckoned with in the tennis circuit.

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