US Open Tennis 2011: Which Superstar Is in for Embarrassing Exit?
The clock continues the countdown towards the start of the 130th edition of the US Open. The final Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year starts this coming Monday, August 29.
As that moment approaches, we start guessing and filling the blanks on the draws in an attempt to pick the winners.
The top four seeds in the Men's Draw are Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. In the Women’s Draw the top seeds are Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka.
Massive Hurricane Irene is headed for New York. Hopefully, everyone can still get to the city safely and play isn't averted. The hurricane is forecast to hit the New York area on Sunday.
Bad weather has been a fixture at the US Open in recent years. In fact, the past three men’s finals were played the Monday after the final weekend because of rain delays.
But whatever the weather may have in store, there could be a storm of higher seeds falling too.
Let's take a look at some favorites who could be leaving the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center earlier than expected.
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Robin Soderling has been battling injuries and that has kept him from reaching his top form. He definitely is not ready to contend in this tournament and has a tough eight of the draw ahead of him.
He has not played on the hard courts since the Sony Ericsson Open last March in Miami. He lost there to Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3, 6-2.
Soderling has immediate problems with Alex Bogomolov Jr in the second round and the winner between John Isner and Marcos Baghdatis in the third.
If he were to make it to the fourth round, his run would end right there. He will be reliving Sony Ericsson nightmares, since Juan Martin Del Potro should be there for him.
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Vika's scream was heard all around the world. Azarenka has played six times against Serena, winning only once. Last time they faced each other was at the Rogers Cup in Toronto where Serena easily won 6-3, 6-3.
It's unfortunate for Vika as many were expecting an Azarenka-Sharapova match—count me within that group. Serena will make sure the third round will be her last.
David Ferrer is the 5th seed in the Mens Draw, but he won't make it pass the second round.
He is coming off an injury—a broken finger—and has very little experience on the hard courts this year. His lack of preparation for this courts could see him leaving as early as the first round.
He is facing Igor Andreev in the first round, and that is a dangerous matchup for him. They are 4-4 head-to-head and 2-2 on hard courts.
If Ferrer were to get pass him, he will have James Blake in the next round. Blake is 2-0 against Ferrer. That would be Ferrer's last stand.
Vera Zvonareva is the 2nd seed on the Women's Draw, and was the finalist here last year, where she was crushed by Kim Clijsters.
A lot of people will disagree with this pick, as she is a heavy favorite to go at least to the semifinals.
But there are some very dangerous players in her quarter who could take her down. The unknown is Venus Williams, who has barely played this year, and a lot of people are discarding her—not me.
While Williams has to prove she is physically fit—she suffered from a viral illness—and will likely face Sabine in the second round, she is the one I think will eliminate Zvonareva.
While Vera beat Venus at the Hong Kong Tennis Classic early this year, Venus had beaten her nine times in a row before.
Venus likes it when she feels he has something to prove, and while she might not win the Open, she will eliminate Zvonareva.
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You were waiting for this one. Andy Roddick is not even a top 20 seed this year. Andy is just not the same all-out, intimidating force he once was.
It can be argued that he has been suffering from minor injuries that, lumped together, can be taking their toll on him. Plus, his mental game is just not there.
He has lost to John Isner and Phillip Kohlschreiber, who are not two walks in the park. But those were two players he would dominate in the past.
He will be eliminated by a player he has not lost to before as well, Nicolas Almagro in the third round.
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This should be almost expected by now from Caroline Wozniacki in the Grand Slams. The world's No.1 player has not won a Slam yet.
So, why should we expect more? She is definitely a talented tennis player and certainly deserves to win one. At least that way she could tie with rumored squeeze and pro golfer Rory McIlroy in the majors department.
But I don't see it happening here. She has Daniela Hantuchova—who beat her at Roland Garros—in the third round. That is, of course, if the Slovak can beat struggling Svetlana Kuznetzova.
Caroline has beaten Hantuchova twice on hard courts, but you can argue whether she will have the mental edge if they met again.
She might pass those two, but she won't get around Na Li, who has beaten Caroline three out of the last four times they have played.
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It's tough to put Rafa, one of the best players in the world, on this list. I cannot pinpoint to a specific player to take him out earlier than Andy Murray, but I am almost too compelled to pick an early exit for him.
His early exits in Montreal and Cincinnati should not come as a surprise. He has never been a top player at the Summer Masters tournaments. But overall, something just doesn't seem right with him.
He is not the same fiery guy we are accustomed to seeing on the court. It's like when we see used to see an emotional Tiger Woods on the course. When he'd make a mistake, he'd the club and fire off an expletive or two.
With Rafa, you would hear him roar "Vamos," pump his fists and, basically, take his opponent down with his attitude. Where has all that gone?
I do still think he has the easiest quarter of the men's draw, and he is one of the most gifted tennis players on tour, so he has the tools to do it. But he doesn't seem to be on top of his game right now and, with that, I can see him enduring another early ouster.