July 25, 2011
With U.S. Open Series underway, all eyes will be on the top players to see who will dominate the summer hard court season, and go on to win the ultimate prize: The U.S. Open title. World No. 2 Kim Clijsters, who is the two-time U.S. Open defending champion, and arguably the best player on the women’s tour, could potentially win her third consecutive U.S. Open title this year, her fourth overall. The last female player to win the U.S. Open singles title three or more times in a row was Chris Evert (1975-1978).
With a 31–11 W/L record on hard courts, it’s hard to imagine anyone beating Clijsters on that surface. But with Serena Williams back in contention, Clijsters will need to bring her A game in order to get past Serena, who seems to be well on her way to regaining her winning form.
Like Clijsters, 13-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams has three U.S. Open singles titles under her belt. Since 1999, the two former No. 1 players have met nine times (head to head: 7-2/Serena leads). Their most recent match was the 2009 U.S. Open semifinal--a match that is much more memorable for Serena’s on-court outburst at a linesperson than Clijsters beating Serena and going on to win the U.S. Open title. Serena missed the 2010 U.S. Open due to injury, opening up an opportunity for Clijsters to win the U.S. Open title again.
Over the past few months, it has been Clijsters who has taken some unexpected time off due to injury. Her struggles with a nagging right ankle injury forced her to miss most of the 2011 clay court season, as well as Wimbledon, which has cast some preliminary doubt about her chances at the U.S. Open. Her last match was on June 14 at the Unicef Open, where Clijsters lost in the second round after bruising her right ankle and injuring her tendon. She recently bowed out of the Mercury Insurance Open in San Diego as a result of that injury.
According to her website, Clijsters has resumed training in New Jersey, and is looking forward to the U.S. Open. "All Grand Slams are special, their history, their atmosphere,” says Clijsters. I love the atmosphere that hangs around the US Open, I feel very homely, I just feel very comfortable when I'm there. It probably has something to do with the fact that my husband [Brian Lynch] is from around here and that a lot of family members re from around here."
Clijsters has tentative plans to return to competition at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which begins on August 8, followed by the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, and the U.S. Open in New York. Her schedule will be announced next week.
Sharapova on Track
World No. 5 Maria Sharapova is feeling good after reaching the final at Wimbledon and is ready to tackle the hard court season. She will compete in the U.S. Open Series at Stanford this week, followed by Toronto, Cincinnati, and the U.S. Open. The most intriguing match-up for Sharapova could come at Stanford, where she will likely face Serena Williams in the quarterfinal (head-to-head 6-2/Serena leads).
Who knew that a sport like boxing could bring a tennis player and a golfer together? That’s exactly what happened when 21-year-old Caroline Wozniacki met pro golfer, Rory McIlroy at a boxing match in Germany in early July. The two have since become fast friends, and are “rumored” to be an item, but nothing has been confirmed just yet. Maybe Wozniacki’s new friendship will bring a little bit of extra support into her player’s box at the U.S. Open when she makes another attempt at winning her first Grand Slam title.