US Open Tennis 2011: Serena Williams, John Isner and Mardy Fish Lead Americans
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American tennis is starting to get exciting again thanks to Mardy Fish, John Isner and the return of the Williams sisters.
The not so unexpected withdrawal of Sam Querrey shorts the US men's draw. However, Ryan Harrison could be exactly what we need to power Americans to victory here at the US Open.
Let's see what American players are looking to earn their stripes this year.
Mardy Fish, the top ranked American player, broke into the top 10 this year for the first time in his career. He is one of the best hot weather players next to Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer. Typically, it gets very hot at the US Open.
Fish has gotten off to a good start this year winning Atlanta Tennis Championships as well as making the Los Angeles International Tennis Open finals. He is playing his best tennis ever and is looking to peak at this year's Open.
Fish has reinvented himself after more then 10 years on the tour. He is determined to play the game his way, aggressive. Mardy can do things other contemporary players cannot. He serves well, rushes the net, plays back and most important, he is a consistent player.
Fish has what it takes to win a major. His skill and consistency make him dangerous. Mardy now has the confidence to believe he can win a major. If he can go the distance in a best of five, two week tournament, there is no reason Fish won't make the finals.
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Andy Roddick has struggled for most of this year. He needs to find his self confidence and simplify his game. He has become far too erratic and inconsistent.
New York is a great place for Roddick to rediscover himself. There is no player more comfortable on hard courts. He won here in 2003 and he loves the hometown crowd.
Roddick still has the game. If he finds the attitude and belief that he can win, he will do well.
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John Isner has really turned it on this year and is definitely making a name for himself as a player who can go the distance. His is not a fast game but rather one of endurance.
To be successful, a tennis player needs an arsenal of weapons. Isner is armed to the teeth. He has an excellent big serve and his powerful forehand that can hurt opponents.
The fact that he can finish points makes him a great offensive player. He has played more five set matches than any other player in his first few years on tour.
Isner's name is not one fellow players like to see next to theirs on the draw. If so, they expect a long match.
Isner needs to increase his confidence if he wants to go the distance these next two weeks. If he can get his game to erupt here at the Open, the New York crowds will give him that extra boost to win it.
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Ryan Harrison is a young player who has all the shots and is committed to hustling. He plays all over the court, similar to Gael Monfils, returning every ball.
Harrison has one of the best serves on the tour. Most players take years to perfect a serve like his.
Harrison is very mature and composed for a player his age. His mental game is exactly where it needs to be.
The guy can do pretty much anything, but he needs to control his aggressive game if he wants to make to the second week.
He may not make the final, but you will know Ryan Harrison came to play and that he is the future of American tennis.
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While it may appear that her best years are behind her, don't be surprised if Venus wins the final. She came close to beating Kim Clijsters, the eventual champion, in last year's US Open semifinal match.
What could stop her are her injuries. They are more worrisome because they have become problematic. In order to win seven matches in two weeks, Venus cannot afford to have one bad day.
Venus has the mental game to propel her to any final in any tournament. She defies all rules when it comes to tennis. If she is in the draw, she cannot be ruled out.
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The absence of Serena this past year put a real dent in women's tennis. No one has stepped up to fill her shoes.
After being out of the game for almost a year, Serena returned to win two hard court tournaments. She played with focus and determination. There was no doubt she was there to win.
Serena will bring that same tenacity to New York. She has much to prove here. She didn't play the US Open in 2010 and had the infamous scandal with the line judge in 2009. Serena wants her legacy to be about winning.
Serena has won more matches by saving match point than any other player. She has also won more matches while severely injured than any other player. Tenacity.
Serena is eager to get back to New York and make a statement: she is back and ready to take that title.