Thoughts on the US Open

Last night, I finally watched the Women’s US Open Final. I was vacationing in Jibacoa from Sept 9-16, celebrating a close friend’s 30th and in that week alone, I missed the BB12 finale (congrats Hayden) and for the first time since 1999, both the men’s and women’s US Open Tennis championships. I couldn’t wait to see the action unfold on my PVR, hence I spoiled myself with the results after dinner at the resort. I have some lingering thoughts about this year’s open is particular and what it means for 2011. My top 10 afterthoughts from the 2010 US Open:

Venus still controls how she punctuates the last paragraph of we career. Success in doubles will not be enough. She is a better clay courter than her sister (watch her movement in Madrid) and I expect her to succeed again on clay in 2011 if her knee holds up.

Rafael Nadal is the King of Tennis. Like Serena at Wimbledon, he brought serving dominance to this tournament and played through the wind to blast opponents off the court. I did not pick him to win this tournament; I though Federer would handle Djokovic and battle his nemesis. In any event, I’m happy that he was able to complete his career slam in the Big Apple.

Serena was missed…on the court. I love Serena Williams’ interest in design, fashion and her desire to become the next humanitarian tennis player after Martina Navratilova, James Blake and Andy Roddick. However, nothing beats Serena Williams in full growl on a tennis court. Come back soon and give us matches like your Australian Open triumph over Victoria Azarenka.

Vera Zvonereva is the top Russian woman currently on the WTA. She also will be the spokeswoman for Kleenex tissue the way she has cried and whimpered on the court. Not known for holding her nerve, Hats off to her for finding a way to get to her second singles Grand Slam final.

Where are the American men? The men met their foes prior to the semis. Roddick, Blake, Isner – all fizzling earlier. A Fish dipped in lighter batter proved to be the only thing Mary Carillo could talk about (if I heard that he lost 30lbs one more time…). Ginepri, Dent…shall I go on? I believe the era of American dominance will return again – I grew up with Courier, Chang, McEnroe, Sampras and Agassi. Would love to see these guys continue to march on to protect their turf.

For the first 5 rounds, Caroline Wozniacki was the #1 player in the world. She looked great in her Sharapova beatdown. Many had hyped up this match to be more than what it was, but I was impressed with Caroline since she played Schiavone at Rogers Cup. Gone were the one of moonballs that she used to throw in to add “variety”. She really took it to her opponents and had barely lost a game in the early rounds of the tournament. I hope Serena sends her something nice to thank her for losing prior to the final – had she made it, the Dane would have become the #1 player on the tour.

Maria Sharapova is done. As much as I wanted to believe in the “she wins slams every other year” crap, I knew that this would be a trying season for the young Russian who has already had much success at a young age in her career. I loved her win at the 2008 Australian Open where she appeared fearless, ready to fight and won that title without dropping a set after a sound drubbing by Serena in 2007. Against Wozniacki, she lacked speed and consistency on her serve and that hurt her. Also, she struggled to keep balls in the court. Love the girl, pretty girl, but I think we have seen her best tennis.

Roger Federer will win more slams, it may take him longer to get to 20. I really thought that he was going to win this title. He looked great in Cinncinati and Toronto. I did notice that he was starting to make a few more errors, a few more double faults and play more loose games in this Open. We have to recognize his dominance in the slams – he is still a lock for the second week regardless. However, he will need to pull out his most aggressive, consistent tennis to continue to make the finals with the guys of Nadal, Berdych, Djokovic and Murray in the mix. He will need to go after more second serve returns. He will need to hit through some of those backhands. He will also need to come to net and shorten some of the points to ensure that he extends his career to get to 20. It will be harder with more of these guys finding their form.

Djokovic played his way into the tournament and is an unlikely finalist. He was a hot mess coming in. That first round was a test, but he got better with each round. I still think I preferred his serve technique with the Wilson Racket and forehand, but he used both masterfully to get to the final. I did not see the Federer match, but I am sure that Djokovic had something to say about giving the NY fans a #1 vs. #2 final.

Kim Clijsters has me contemplating getting pregnant. She handled her nerves to get through Stosur and a determined Venus to dismantle Zvonereva in another straight sets win for her 3rd US Open title. Post Jada, she is fearless, aggressive and rewriting what was already an impressive career. If she can organize herself in he first half of the year, I can see her wrestling for the #1 spot by mid summer. However, I do not see her holding up the Suzanne Lenglen trophy despite two finals appearances in 01 and 03 or beating a Williams on grass for the Wimbledon title.

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