After her dominant performance at Wimbledon, Serena Williams must be the favorite at the 2012 U.S. Open.
The 30-year-old Williams already has three U.S. Open titles to her name, and she's been the runner-up twice before, including last year's tournament. Now that her recent health issues are squarely behind her, I see no reason why she can't lift the trophy again this year.
After a disappointing showing in the 2012 French Open, Williams blazed through the rest of the field at Wimbledon. She dropped just three sets in seven matches and beat the second- (Victoria Azarenka), third- (Agnieszka Radwanska) and fourth- (Petra Kvitova) seeded women on her way to the championship.
It was her fifth career Wimbledon title and her 14th career Grand Slam singles championship. She was cool and collected throughout the tournament, and at every opportunity she flashed her greatest weapon: her serve.
Williams has always had the most fearsome serve in women's tennis, but she took it to a different level at Wimbledon. She previously set the tournament record with 89 aces, but she shattered that number this time around, smashing 102.
She had 17 aces in the final alone, including ones of 114 MPH, 107 MPH, 115 MPH and 111 MPH in a pivotal game during the third set. In comparison, her counterpart Radwanska had just 16 aces the entire tournament.
With her power game at its peak, Serena should excel on the hard courts of the U.S. Open.
Of course, she will have plenty of competition. Azarenka, Radwanska and Kvitova are always dangerous. So are 2006 U.S. Open winner Maria Sharapova and defending champion Samantha Stosur.
However, if Serena is playing at her best, none of those women can touch her. As long as she is well-rested and focused, Williams should add another Grand Slam title to her incredible resume.