The women head to San Diego this week. It's not the strongest field in the world, but there are still some quality players in the tournament. I'm sure there will be some very good, high-quality matches especially as the tournament progresses. Vera Zvonareva, Andrea Petkovic, Agnieszka Radwanska and Peng Shuai are the top seeds.
Here are my picks:
Sabine Lisicki and Dominika Cibulkova are the top threats in this section to Zvonareva. The Russian could meet Lisicki in the round-of-16 and probably will. Lisicki is playing well and I like her to pull off the upset. Cibulkova is also playing well, but if she matches up with Lisicki in the quarters, the German will have too much firepower.
This could be a very tricky section for Peng. Vania King, Flavia Pennetta, Jelena Dokic and Ana Ivanovic are also in this section. Dokic's serve was really off in D.C. (16 double-faults in her only match) so I think she will knock herself out of contention. Ivanovic has also been very up and down for quite some time now. Pennetta has had some good hard-court results in he past. This is a very tough section to pick, but I think Ivanovic is ready to get on one of her rolls.
Radwanska made it to the quarters in Stanford, but at the end of the day just doesn't have the firepower to compete with any of the big hitters. Daniela Hantuchova is one of the top players in Radwanska's section. Hantuchova is having a really good year, and pushed Maria Sharapova to three sets in Stanford. Hantuchova should have enough power to get past Radwanska.
Who will win in San Diego?
This is a pretty solid section. Petkovic is the highest seed, but she's struggled since getting off to a strong start this year. She has Julia Goerges, Tamira Paszek and Maria Kirilenko in her section. Georges, Paszek and Kirilenko are in the top part of the section. Kirilenko has been playing well, and took a set off of Serena Williams in Stanford. I think she will get a rematch with Georges in the round-of-16, having just beaten the German in Stanford. I think she will do it again, but then fall to the higher-ranked German, Petkovic, in the quarterfinals.
Lisicki vs. Ivanovic
If Ivanvic's serve could hold up, she would have a chance in this match. However, I think the opportunity to make a final of a U. S. Open Series event will put too much pressure on the Serb. Not to mention, Lisicki is playing the best tennis of her life right now.
Winner: Lisicki in two sets
Hantuchova vs. Petkovic
This would be a good matchup. They both have the ability to hit powerful winners, and their serves are respectable. I think it will come down to who is willing to be more aggressive on he big points. Petkovic has struggled some lately, but I think she will start to turn things back around during the summer.
Winner: Petkovic in three sets
Lisicki vs. Petkovic
This match will come down to Lisicki's big serve. I think that weapon will be the difference maker. Lisicki has been on a roll, and I think she's gaining more and more confidence with each match and tournament.
Winner: Lisicki in three sets