Venus Williams: Odds on Every Possible 2011 US Open Match

JA AllenSenior Writer IAugust 27, 2011

Venus Williams: Odds on Every Possible 2011 US Open Match

0 of 7

    Venus Williams played in her first US Open in 1997, making the finals at age 17. It was a stunning debut.

    She won back-to-back US Open titles in 2000-2001, reaching one more final in 2002. Since that time Williams has not returned to Arthur Ashe Stadium to play in a championship final match.

    The elder Williams sister has competed in twelve previous US Open tournaments with an 85.5 winning percentage.

    2011 will mark appearance 13 for Williams. You wonder if this outing will prove to be “bad luck” for Venus or for her opponents. 

    Having played in only three tournaments in 2011, the Australian Open, Eastbourne and Wimbledon, saying Williams has inadequate match preparation to win a major is an understatement of epic proportions.

    Realistically, Venus comes into the US Open with nothing to lose at this point.

    The American certainly has a good excuse to lose early but that is not how Venus has conducted herself throughout her career. She takes the court always believing she can win. Williams does not quit trying to win the match until the strike of the last ball.

    With more than 14 years of experience on tour, Venus will give it everything she has as action gets underway. 

    The tennis gods, in fact, were kind. Her draw pits her against potential opponents she has defeated in the past. Aside from her second round match against Sabine Lisicki, Williams' path is not nearly as bad as it could have been.

    What are her odds of success? As we look at the potential draw of the former world No. 1, we can gauge the level of competition and the odds of Venus Williams making it through to the next round.

Round 1: Venus Williams vs.Vesna Dolonts

1 of 7

    Russian Vesna Dolonts, formerly known as Vesna Manasieva, turned pro in 2006. She is currently ranked No. 86 in the world. Dolonts plays right-handed with a two-handed backhand.

    The Russian’s primary arena of play has been the ITF Circuit. This year, however, she did advance to the third round of the Australian Open, upsetting the No. 15 seed Marion Bartoli in the second round.

    Dolonts has played once at the US Open in 2009, losing in the first round. Venus Williams has never before faced Dolonts on the tennis court.

    Even rusty, Williams should be able to turn this opponent away. Dolonts has no weapons to disturb the American who will own the court with her powerful serve and her movement. 

    Odds that Vesna Dolonts will defeat Venus Williams are 50:1. 

Round 2: Venus Williams vs. (22) Sabine Lisicki

2 of 7

    Sabine Lisicki must first get past Alona Bondarenko in the first round of the 2011 US Open. Fighting injuries, Bondarenko has not had a very successful season so far this year with a record of 4-10.

    Lisicki should win the first round encounter allowing her to face Williams in the second round,

    The American has faced Lisicki twice in her career. In 2009, the two met on the clay at Charleston with Lisicki winning 6-4, 7-6 in the round of 16. In 2010, Williams won on the hardcourts of Dubai 6-2, 6-3 in the second round.

    After being out for almost a year with injury, Lisicki made a huge impact at this year’s Wimbledon as a wild card entry into the tournament after the German won the title at Birmingham. Lisicki advanced to the 2011 semifinals at the All England Club, losing to Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3.

    During the 2011 summer hardcourt season, Lisicki advanced to the Stanford semifinals, losing to Serena Williams 6-1, 6-2. At Carlsbad, the German lost in the quarterfinals to Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 3-6, 6-4; but Lisicki went out unexpectedly in the first round at Cincinnati to Shahar Peer 6-4, 7-6. Lisicki is currently playing in the Texas Tennis Open, advancing into the final.

    Lisicki’s overall record for 2011 is 39-15, but the German has made tremendous progress in 2011. Her big serves and her aggressive groundstrokes are very difficult to counter for most players on tour.

    The odds for Venus to prevail in this match are not the best. She has a 50-50 chance, at best.  Williams may survive because of her experience and her determination to advance.

    Odds for this match are even up or 1:1

Round 3: Venus Williams vs. (15) Dominika Cibulkova

3 of 7

    Before advancing to the third round to meet Venus Williams, the No. 15 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia must first dispatch Shuai Zhang of China in an opening round encounter. 

    The two met once before in Fed Cup play in 2010 with Cibulkova winning 6-4, 6-1. Zhang has had minimal success in 2011. Cibulkova should not have too much difficulty overcoming Shuai Zhang in the first round.

    The Slovakian then would need to overcome the winner of the match between Klara Zakopalova and Irina Falconi of the USA. The nod in this first-round match must go to the more experienced Zakopalova over her younger American opponent. The Czech should advance to meet Cibulkova.

    The Slovakian Cibulkova must then overcome Zakopalova to move on to the third round.

    Cibulkova and Venus Williams have met twice in the past, splitting the head to head. In 2008, the Slovakian won 6-3, 6-3 on the Doha hard courts during the round of 16. Williams defeated Cibulkova 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of the 2010 French Open.

    2011 has been one of the diminutive Slovakian’s best years on tour as she rose to the No. 15 WTA ranking. Her progress through the field at the 2011 Wimbledon Championship took her to the quarterfinals where Cibulkova lost to eventual finalist Maria Sharapova.

    At Stanford Cibulkova advanced to the semifinals when she retired because of a strained abdominal muscle. She was subsequently knocked out in the first round in Toronto and upset recently in the second round of the Texas Open during oppressive heat and high winds.

    Venus Williams, who stands literally head and shoulders above Cibulkova, should have an excellent chance to get by the Slovakian and advance to the fourth round.

    Odds of Cibulkova defeating Venus Williams in the third round are 5:1.

Fourth Round: Venus Williams vs. (2) Vera Zvonareva

4 of 7

    The No. 2 seed Vera Zvonareva should survive to the fourth round, although she can expect stiff competition from Kateryna Bondarenko and later (30) Anabel Medina Garrigues. 

    Zvonareva, one of last year’s finalists at the US Open, will be looking to go one step further in 2011. Last year the Russian lost to Belgian Kim Clijsters in the final in a than than an hour.

    The Russian may have to get beyond Venus Williams to make it back to the 2011 US Open final. That could be a problem because in their head-to-head, Williams holds a 7-1 advantage. 

    Zvonareva’s only victory over Williams came on clay at the French Open in 2003. The last time they met was on the Madrid clay in 2010, Venus won 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the round of 16. 

    Zvonareva has a 45-15 record in 2011 and advanced to the semifinals at the 2011 Australian Open and most recently the semifinals at the 2011 Masters at Cincinnati. Even so, the Russian has not exactly set the world on fire with her play.

    Assuming Venus Williams survives to the fourth round, she should be playing well enough to get past Zvonareva who has no real weapons to defeat an in-form Williams. 

    Chances to win for Zvonareva to defeat Venus Williams in the fourth round are 4:1.

Quarterfinals: Venus Williams vs. (9) Samantha Stosur

5 of 7

    Samantha Stosur is much like Gael Monfils on the men’s side of the draw. The Aussie has talent to burn but her mental acumen and her on-court decisions leave much to be desired.

    Every season you expect her to grab the triumphs that should be hers and every season she leaves the court strangely empty-handed. This is what lack of confidence can do to a player of the highest caliber.

    With a 31-16 record, Stosur has come on strong on the American hard courts. The Aussie reached the finals in Toronto, losing to Serena Williams 6-4, 6-2. She followed that by advancing to the quarterfinals in Cincinnati losing to eventual champion Maria Sharapova.

    In their head to head, Stosur has met Venus Williams four times and has never defeated her. The last time the two met was in Madrid on clay in 2010. Williams won that match 6-3, 6-3.

    In 2010, Stosur reached the quarterfinals of the US Open. Prior to last year, Stosur had never done particularly well in New York City.

    It is hard to say what hand will trump should both women survive to meet in the quarterfinals. Will the Williams “rust” overrule the Stosur “yips” on court? If Venus has found enough game to advance this far, she will control the outcome of this match.

    Stosur’s chances of defeating Williams in the quarterfinals of the US Open are 3:1.

Semifinals: Venus Williams vs. (3) Maria Sharapova

6 of 7

    When the dust of the first week settles and the real contestants set themselves up to battle in week two, Maria Sharapova will be left standing in the semifinals after overcoming Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals.

    In this scenario, Venus Williams survived to meet Sharapova in the semifinals where it will be billed as a battle between two very tall and wily veterans on tour.

    Sharapova, by anyone’s standards, is having a very good year after making it to the fourth round of the 2011 Australian Open, the semifinals of the French Open and the finals at Wimbledon. Contrast that to Venus Williams' season and you have a very different picture emerging.

    Sharapova and Williams have split their head-to-head meetings at three each, with Sharapova winning on hard courts in Zurich in 2004, in Miami in 2005 and again at Miami in 2007. Williams won at Wimbledon in 2005 and 2007 and then again at Stanford in 2009. The Stanford tournament remains the last time the two superstars met. 

    Sharapova would have to be the favorite in this matchup. Venus faces 3:1 odds to win this match over the Russian.

Finals: Venus Williams vs. (28) Serena Williams

7 of 7

    Should Venus Williams survive the odds and make it to the finals of the 2011 US Open, she will, no doubt, face her sister Serena Williams in the final.

    The two sisters have played each other 23 times with Serena holding the edge at 13-10. 

    The sisters met 12 times in grand slam tournaments with Serena defeating Venus during seven of the major encounters. Eight of those meetings were slam finals with Serena winning six trophies while Venus won two.

    The sisters have been the backbone of American tennis for over a decade. Venus, now 31, whose game is still miraculous when played as only she can play it, is fading now as injuries complicate her ability to remain competitive.

    Should the sisters meet in this final, it would prove to be a miracle––but one worth the wait and one worthy of a world stage.

    Serena would win the encounter without question because she would compete full out against her sister and that would be the greatest compliment of all to Venus Williams at this stage of her career.

    Venus’ odds of winning this final against her sister Serena are 50:1.