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August 27-Sepember 9
New York, NY, USA
Lawn Tennis, The US Open
US Open Women's Picks 2007: Venus Williams To Win
By Anton Lagani, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Friday, August 24, 2007 9:25am CST USA

Venus Williams, US Open Women's Picks 2007
Photo by Richard Drew/AP
New York--( A friend of mine recently suggested I try the Betfair online website to try to cash in on my picks. I was a bit weary of Betfair in the wake of the recent Nikolay Davydenko Poland Betfair suspension of bets. Then I remembered Betfair does not accept bets from the United States because online gambling is legally prohibited here. So let's fast forward to the quarterfinals in the women's field because I think not many upsets will happen before that time.

In one of few early upsets, I am picking teenager and New Haven semifinalist Agnes Szavay of Hungary to down 7th seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia in the third round. On the tour Petrova oftentimes wins the matches she is supposed to win and then loses in the quarterfinals to players more mentally tough and who are better able to attack. The 8th ranked Petrova would be expected to beat Szavay but I have been impressed by Agnes' groundstrokes and mental toughness this week at New Haven and I think she could be ready to make week two at the US Open.

My quarterfinal matchups are listed below:

(1)Justine Henin BEL defeats (8)Serena Williams USA (12)Venus Williams USA defeats (3)Jelena Jankovic SRB (6)Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS defeats (9)Daniela Hantuchova SVK (2)Maria Sharapova RUS defeats (6)Anna Chakvetadze RUS

A few last notes on matches prior to the quarterfinals: In the fourth round 9th seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovokia will seek and get revenge for her loss to Szavay this week in New Haven. Also recent Wimbledon winner Venus Williams of the USA leads Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 3-0 head to head and should be able to outserve her on the hard courts in the round of sixteen.

In the quarterfinals I don't think Serena Williams' recent thumb injury which has sidelined her since Wimbledon and her fitness will have recoved enough to stop Henin. Venus Williams should get some revenge on Jelena Jankovic for her losses to her at this year's French Open and last year's Wimbledon; even though Venus did tell us ten years ago at the 1997 US Open she was "not a revenge person." In the two other quarterfinals Hantuchova and Chaketadze will be overpowered by Kuznetsova and Sharapova respectively.

Finally in the semifinals Venus if healthy I think will upset Henin in a third set, and Sharapova will be more consistent to beat fellow Russian Kuznetsova in straight sets. The dream Williams/Sharapova final could go either way but I'm picking Williams to stop defending champion Sharapova. Maria has recently changed her serve to a shortened motion due to a persistent shoulder injury, but it will not be enough to keep her from losing serve against a very powerful returner. Sharapova would also need to make a change in her tactical game and add netplay or another weapon to win against Venus. Or she would need to hope Venus falls apart with errors as she did when they last met on a hardcourt in Miami in the spring where Sharapova won 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. Sharapova actually leads Williams head to head 3-2. But I'm giving the edge to Venus since Williams took Sharapova apart in their last meeting which was at Wimbledon 6-1, 6-3, and Williams plays the power game better when both players are on and are playing the same attacking baseline game.

Darkhorses: Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova

First Rounds To Watch: Watch the first rounds of these players to see how they are playing: Serena Williams, Nicole Vaidisova, Venus Williams, Agnes Szavay. Vaidisova and Serena have not played since Wimbledon due to injury. People will want to see how Wimbledon champion Venus is playing and what she will wear from her new line EleVen. And is new upstart teenager Agnes Szavay for real?

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