Despite her recent injuries and low ranking, Serena Williams has to be considered the favorite at the upcoming U.S. Open.
Yesterday, I wrote about where Serena might run into trouble at Flushing Meadows. That all remains true, but I still believe Serena will overcome it all and win the Open.
When at her best, Serena is like nothing women's tennis has ever seen. She brings power and passion to the court in addition to controlling the flow of a match with her ground strokes. Cross-court, cross-court, cross-court, winner. Her game isn't nuanced in the way that Justin Henin or Francesca Schiavone's are. It's straight power, and it's deadly.
Serena will begin her quest for her first U.S. Open since 2008 on August 29. Here's why she'll succeed and win her fourth Open title as well as 14th Grand Slam title.
Serena Williams is 7-2 all-time versus Maria Sharapova. She's 6-2 versus Kim Clijsters and 2-0 versus Caroline Wozniacki.
Of course, Serena will have to plow through other, less qualified players on her way to the semifinals and beyond. But when I think of women's tennis right now, these are the four players I think of. And Serena owns them all.
Serena is the prototype for the current women's game, which is to say that she hits the ball as hard as she can with every shot. The thing is, when you innovate something, you're naturally better at it than your followers—at least for a while. Serena is still the best at Mary Carillo's "Big Babe tennis," and she will be for quite some time.
What do Petra Kvitova, Li Na and Francesca Schiavone have in common? They've all won majors in the last two years, and unless you think one of them is the next dominant champion, they probably won't win many more.
The list of women's Grand Slam winners reads much like a broken record sounds. Serena and Venus. Steffi and Monica. Maria and Justine.
Women's tennis is built for dominant champions. When one figures out the next style of play, it takes the rest of the crowd a while to catch up. For Serena and Venus, it's "Big Babe tennis."
Serena is the closest thing remaining to a dominant champion, which means it's her time to regain her spot as women's tennis' premier player.
This one could go either way. After Serena despicably cursed out a line judge at the 2009 U.S. Open and was forced to forfeit the match, the crowd turned against her.
Serena didn't play at Flushing Meadows last year, so it'll be interesting to see how the crowd reacts to her first appearance in two years.
The New Yorkers can certainly hold a grudge, but I get the feeling they've long since forgotten Serena's tirade. As long as she isn't facing a fellow American, perhaps an underdog, Serena will have the crowd's full support on her way to her 14th major championship.