The US Open: 5 Women Who Won't Win the Year's Final Grand Slam
There are players in all sports, particularly individual sports like tennis, where certain people are favoured to win simply because of their past record. And by past, I don't mean recent past.
For instance, Amelie Mauresmo was considered a contender for every Slam she played in...well until 2009, even though it was clear to the most casual observer that she could quite simply never produce the level of tennis that she did in 2006.
We still make the same mistake whenever a Grand Slam's around the corner. We argue fiercely for players who we know deep down have no hope at all of going the distance, not anymore, anyway.
So with that in mind, we take a look at five women's players who aren't going to add to their Grand Slam tally at Flushing Meadows.
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The unorthodox 31-year-old Italian burst onto the tennis scene from virtual anonymity when she stormed to the French Open title in 2010. She almost replicated that feat this year with a courageous, gritty run to the final at Roland Garros.
The veteran is clearly at home on the red dirt but has never shown that kind of form on the hard courts and has indeed never made it past the quarterfinals at any other Slam in her career.
She has admirable stamina and desire but not nearly a good enough game to cause a stir on finals weekend at Flushing Meadows.
Prediction: Fourth round.
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The former World No.1 seems to have some kind of niggling injury or a serious loss of confidence.
Despite failing to win any Grand Slam in 2008, she was, by far, the most consistent woman that year, reaching the semis at the Australian Open and Wimbledon and finishing runner-up at the US Open, picking up four titles during the year—the most by any player.
However, that was followed by second and third-round exits at the following two U.S Open tournaments, and after losing in the first round at Wimbledon and not playing since, it would take a brave man to put money on Jelena.
Prediction: Third round
The Russian is currently ranked No. 2 in the world, and I'm sure many would defiantly defend Vera's chances. However, despite making the final in New York last year, recent signs have not been encouraging.
Fourth and third-round performances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, respectively, do not flatter a player ranked in the top three in the world. Winning her latest title against a weak field in Baku wasn't enough to convince me that she's back to full form (she defeated Ksenia Pervak in the final!).
She followed that up by losing to Radwanska in the final in Carlsbad—a player she was heavily favoured against. With this form, I simply can't see her winning the whole thing.
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What has happened to her? Ever since winning Roland Garros three years ago, she frankly hasn't looked like a player capable of lifting a Grand Slam trophy ever again.
She is yet to make the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam since that convincing romp to the title in Paris in 2008, well over three years ago.
Every Grand Slam, many of us (myself included) look to Ana to mount a serious title challenge, but she's yet to come close.
She looked like being the next big thing in women's tennis after the retirement of Justine Henin in 2008, but unfortunately, it just hasn't worked out that way.
Prediction: Second round
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I don't need to list her achievements, nor does she have to prove herself to anyone. With seven Grand Slams, and two in New York, no one doubts that she has what it takes to win at the US Open.
But age seems to have caught up with her, as she seems to have lost a bit of the sharpness that was so lethal in her early career. Besides, it has been over three years since she last won a Slam, and an amazing 10 years since she last won anywhere except Wimbledon.
I, for one, believe that she will not be adding to her seven Grand Slams ever again, particularly not at Flushing Meadows this year.
Prediction: Fourth round