Hey everyone, welcome back to VANtage Point! In honor of the U.S. Open, which is only a matter of days away, I have something planned special for this week. I’ll get to that in a matter of sentences, but first let’s take …
A Look Back: So, see, umm, what I meant to say was that … OK, I blew it! I guess I picked the wrong week to go against the mighty Roger Federer, who dropped some hammers on my pick to win, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic in the last two rounds. And don’t get me started on my runner-up call, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Anyway, congratulations to Rog!
This Week’s Spotlight: So, here’s that special “in honor of the U.S. Open” deal I was talking about. I’m just going to skip over New Haven, where some of the top pros are playing, and go straight to Queens, where the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament is going on. It’s where you get to see up-and-comers and players still hanging on or some returning from injury try to make it in the main draw. And if you live in New York and you’re a tennis fan, please, PLEASE, I beg of you to go out to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and catch some of the action. It’s free and I think it’s the best deal you can get in any sport!
Players to Watch: This year, both the men and women’s draws are loaded. Here are some marquee (or former marquee or maybe one day could become marquee) names to watch out for: On the men’s side, you have veterans like Xavier Malisse, Stefan Koubek, Dominik Hrbaty and Vince Spadea playing. Young guys like Donald Young and Carsten Ball are also in the mix.
As for the women, keep an eye on Sesil Karatantcheva, Asia Muhammad and Carly Gullickson. There’s also the most veteran player of them all in the draw, Kimiko Date Krumm, the 38-year-old former top-five player who decided to make a comeback after being retired for years.
And the Winners Are: If you’ve read VP in the past, you might be wondering, “Hey, where’s the Final Four section?” Well, the way the qualifying tournament is set up, there really isn’t one. And there’s a LOT of players that go in after winning three rounds — 16 on each side. So, in a nod to the missing “Final Four” section, I’m going to pick four players from each side that I think will make it in. For the men, it’s Aussie Peter Luczak, hard-court specialist Frank Dancevic, and the previously mentioned Ball and “Ain’t Afraid o’ Ya” Spadea.
On the women’s side, I’m picking Krumm (she’s living the dream!), the missing Nicole Vaidisova, defending U.S. Open girl’s champ Coco Vandeweghe and Karolina Sprem.
That’s it! Enjoy the qualies; the main event’s only days away!
Van Sias writes the blog Tennis Talk, Anyone?
(image via flickr)