My (Un)official Guide to the 2013 US Open – Part 2

This is the second post in a series I am writing about the 2013 US Open. The event begins Monday, August 26 and the draw for the tournament was released yesterday. You can view the first post by clicking here.

I was surprised by several of the matches that could occur before the semifinals at this year’s US Open. In this post, I discuss some of the top players’ draws for this tournament.

The “Big Four”

For the last few years, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray have been considered the “Big Four” in men’s tennis. Other than the 2009 US Open in which Juan Martín Del Potro was the champion, one of the “Big Four” have won every Grand Slam since the 2005 season.

The “Big Four” are going to be worth watching throughout this tournament because none of these champions have the easiest draw.

Here is a little speculation about how their draws may work out just to make it to the semifinals:

Djokovic [1] will probably have a bit of a test in the quarterfinals. In this round, Djokovic could potentially play former champion Del Potro [6] or Tommy Haas [12], who has been looking pretty good the last few months.

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Murray‘s [3] quarter looks to possibly be a little better than Djokovic’s, but he will likely have to defeat either Thomas Berdych [5] or Stanislas Wawrinka [9] to make it to the semifinals. They have all had a good years, and I would expect that to be an exciting quarterfinal match. In the semifinals, he would face the winner of Djokovic’s quarter.

murray

Andy Murray

Nadal [2] and Federer [7] have ended up in the same quarter of the draw. This sets up a possible quarterfinal match between the two of them, but they will potentially face some tough opponents before they would even get to that point.  Nadal could play either Nikolay Davydenko or Fernando Verdasco [27], who made it to the quarterfinals of this year’s Wimbledon, in the third round.  In the fourth round he could be up against either big-serving John Isner [13] or Gael Monfils, who has had good results US Open. Federer may end up playing Sam Querrey [26] in the third round and then Tommy Robredo [19] in the fourth round.

Since Nadal and Federer might play each other, I have included a great video of them promoting a tournament:

Serena Williams

While the “Big Four” have been several consistent players at the top of men’s tennis lately, women’s tennis has had Serena Williams. Williams, the top seed in the women’s draw, is the defending champion at this year’s tournament. Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam (it was the US Open) in 1999, and she is still an extremely dominating force in women’s tennis.

I would expect Serena Williams to have a good tournament, but she may have the most interesting draw in this tournament.  In the first round she will face Francesca Schiavone. Schiavone won the French Open in 2010. She has also made it to the quarterfinals of the US Open a couple of times. This is a first round match that will likely have the intensity of a match that would take place much later in the tournament.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

In Serena Williams’ quarter of the draw is also Sloane Stephens [15] and her sister, Venus. Serena Williams could play Stephens in the 4th round. Stephens has had a great year and probably her biggest win was when she upset Serena Williams at the Australian Open. Since then, there has been some controversy about what they think about each other, too.

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

If they can both make it through four rounds, the Williams sisters would battle it out in the quarterfinals. It’s a little unlikely because Venus Williams would possibly have to have three huge wins against Kirsten Flipkens [12], Carla Suarez Navarro [18] and then Angelique Kerber [8] for this match up to happen, but she has an amazing serve and I would not completely count her out of it

Venus and Serena Williams

Venus and Serena Williams

What about Sugarpova Sharapova?

Sharapova has made some headlines lately. The third ranked women’s player has recently talked about legally changing her name to Sugarpova, the name of her brand of candy. Sharapova was also in the news about a week ago when she lost to Stephens and then fired her new coach, Jimmy Connors.

Sharapova will not be in any headlines at the US Open because she has withdrawn from this year’s tournament due to a shoulder injury.

Until next time,

Hannah

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Four_%28tennis%29

Photo Credit

IMG_7640

IMG_7839

Serena Williams

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My (Un)official Guide to the 2013 US Open – Part 1

The US Open tennis tournament starts on August 26th. It will be the perfect compliment (and distraction) for the beginning of fall semester. I briefly talked about the US Open in my last post, but I thought I’d write a few posts to recap this year’s professional tennis and go into more detail about what I will be keeping my eye on at this year’s tournament.

The Early Rounds

The tennis year started out with very few surprises in the early rounds of the Australian Open and French Open. Then, Wimbledon changed everything.

In the first couple rounds of the Men’s Draw and Women’s Draw, there were many tournament changing upsets.

In the first round of the Men’s Draw, Rafael Nadal [5], Stan Wawrinka [11] and Janko Tipsarevic [14] were among the five seeded players not to advance to the first round. The second round matches resulted in six more seeds exiting the tournament earlier than expected. Roger Federer [3], who has seven Wimbledon titles, went down in this round. Also, the tournament ended at this time for John Isner [18] and Marin Cilic [10] because of injury.

federerIt’s hard to imagine, but the early rounds for the women at this year’s Wimbledon was even more unpredictable than the men. Sara Errani [5], Maria Kirilenko [10] and Nadia Petrova [13] were a few of the eight seeded players who did not make it past the first round. The second round was also not friendly to some of the top ranked players with an additional nine seeds exiting the tournament. Some of those seeds included well known players such as Victoria Azaranka [2], Maria Sharapova [3], Caroline Wozniacki [9], Ana Ivanovic [12] and Jelena Jankovic [16].

I may have gotten a little carried away with the Wimbledon information, but my point is that while it is easy to pass over the early rounds, these first couple rounds can be extremely exciting. You never know when a qualifier or an up-and-coming player will play the match of his/her life against a top player. These rounds are full of tennis that is passionate, exciting and fun.

Love

“Love” is not what a tennis player wants to hear on the court, but this has been a year that some players have gotten attention for it off of the court.

One of the most notable relationships involves Victoria Azarenka. The cameras have been on Azarenka on the court and they have also been on a notable (and easy to spot) guest in her box. Redfoo, of the music group LMFAO, has made several appearances at Azaranka matches. His hair and outfits make him hard to miss. What you may not know is that Redfoo enjoys tennis and tried to qualify for the U.S. Open. He will not be on the court, but may provide some entertainment at Azarenka’s matches and has been known to have appearances at press conferences.I will have another post up about the US Open in the next couple of days.

Until then,

Hannah

photo credit:

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/swiv/206620273/”>Swiv</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Kicking Off a New Year (kind of)

August may not mark the beginning of a new calendar year, but for whatever reason August has always felt like the start of a new time for me. This summer, I had the opportunity to be part of the APPLES service-learning internship program and spend time as a communications intern at the Chapel Hill – Carrboro Public School Foundation. It has been a great summer.  My internship is coming to a close and a new semester will begin soon.

Lately, I have also been reminded of something else new August brings each year… sports.

Tennis

While tennis may not be what comes to many people’s minds when they think of sports in August, it’s what will probably always come first in my mind. In high school, the tennis team’s season started at the beginning of August. There was always something new and exciting about tennis at this time of year in high school, and even these past few years after high school there is still something about this month that makes me want to get on a tennis court.

Part of my interest in tennis may be because of the US Open, which starts at the end of August. Although it is the last Grand Slam of the year, I have always enjoyed watching the U.S. Open. It also does not hurt that the US Open is a little easier to watch because it is the only Grand Slam that takes place in my time zone.

This year’s tournament is going to be particularly exciting the men’s draw looks like it could be about as competitive as it has been in a long time.  Djokovic, Nadal and Murray have all won a Grand Slam this year, and it is hard to guess who will win the U.S. Open title with Federer, del Potro and Tsonga also very much in the mix. The women’s draw is similar with three different Grand Slam champions this year coming into the tournament, and there are quite a few up-and-coming players that may have a huge impact on how the tournament plays out.

Football

Football teams also kick off their seasons this time of year.  The NFL teams started their preseason games this weekend, and college and high school games will begin at the end of the month.

This year, it has felt to me like football has been in the news (not necessarily for the right reasons) since the Super Bowl concluded in February.  Trade rumors, trades, player safety concerns, (possible) NCAA violations and players’ actions off the field have kept football in the news.

Yesterday, I found it refreshing to watch the Carolina Panthers play their first preseason game. I even enjoyed the hype around Tim Tebow playing the second half for the Patriots.

There is a lot of excitement with a new season. I am looking forward to being able to watch a few football games (particularly Tar Heels and Panthers) on the weekends for the next couple months as my “new year” begins.

Until next time,

Hannah

As the Semester Ends, Tennis is Heating Up

Yesterday, I played tennis with my friend Sallie after the Branding of Me met for the last time.

Sallie and I at the tennis court

I was feeling a little down before we met up at the courts. Another semester is coming to a close. This has been a great semester. I have learned so much in all of my classes, and I have enjoyed them very much. Also, the conclusion of another semester makes me think about how quickly time goes by at UNC.

Playing tennis today was a great way to clear my mind. I left the courts not feeling down, but happy about all that I learned this semester and that I have the opportunity to spend another year at UNC.

I also left the courts happy because playing tennis and thinking about summer reminded me that tennis, as in the Pro Tour, is starting to heat up.  I am looking forward to watching some amazing tennis this summer.

The comeback story in tennis is that Rafael Nadal is back from his knee injury. Not only is he back, but Nadal is winningNadal may have lost to Novak Djokovic in the final of Monte Carlo over the weekend, but he has made it to five finals out of the five tournaments he has played in since his return. He has won two of the tournaments. Monte Carlo marks the beginning of the clay court season which will lead to the French Open at the end of May.

Photo Credit: Christopher Johnson

Photo Credit: Christopher Johnson

There is a lot up in the air about tennis this year…

Will Djokovic continue his dominance? Earlier this year he won the Australian Open and last year he was victorious at the French and Australian Open. This year could be more of a challenge with Nadal’s return, and Andy Murray and Roger Federer are still very threatening, but Djokovic has looked very good the last few months.

Can Murray win Wimbledon? Talk about pressure…and passion.

Winning his first Grand Slam at the US Open last year will hopefully make it a little easier for him. Also, he was able to win the Gold Medal at the All England Club just weeks after Wimbledon last year. I would love to see him win at Wimbledon, but this year will certainly be a challenge.

Is this the year Federer will not be as relevant? I doubt it, and I certainly hope not. Federer has won 17 Grand Slam titles and I’d love to see him add more to his record this year.  Men’s tennis is as tough, but I still think this year will be good to Federer.

Can anyone stop the big four? Can David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, or anyone else get in the way of Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray? What about Stan WawrinkaHe beat Murray at Monte Carlo and lost to Djokovic 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 12-10 in the Australian Open earlier this year. There is the potential for some great tennis in the upcoming tournaments and Grand Slams.

Who will step up in the women’s game? Currently, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka are in familiar spots on top of the rankings, but can they stay there? I believe Sharapova could have an excellent year if she stays healthy. Azarenka won the Australian Open earlier this year, and took Wimbledon and the US Open last year.  She could continue to be a strong force in the women’s game. Also, Serena Williams is hard to ever count out, and like Sharapova, she will be hard to beat if she remains healthy. With that said, one of the reasons I like the women’s game is because upsets happen often and you never know what will happen.

Until next time,

Hannah

Photo Sources

Keeping it in the Family

Sibling’s have a special connection.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to play with, or against, a sibling in a professional sport.  In honor of Siblings Day, these are some of my favorite siblings in sports right now.

Peyton and Eli Manning

The Manning brothers have won 3 combined Super Bowls.  Combined, they have also made 15 pro bowl appearances.  Although they compete against each other, they always seem to be very supportive of each other.  They can even be spotted working out at the same place in the off season.

They have also shown they have a great sense of humor…

Marc and Pau Gasol

The Gasol brothers have combined to have 5 All-Star game appearances in the NBA.  They have also come together to help Spain win two silver medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Venus and Serena Williams

For almost 15 years (Venus won 2 Grand Slams in 1999), the William sisters have dominated in women’s tennis.  They have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles together and 3 Olympic gold medals in women’s doubles.  They have also won a combined 22 Grand Slam singles titles.

B.J. and Justin Upton

The Atlanta Braves signed the both Upton brothers this past off season.  So far, uniting the siblings is working well for Atlanta (and not so well for the Cubs).

Bob and Mike Bryan

The Bryan brothers have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles together.  They also won the gold medal together in the 2012 Olympics. These twins even play music in a band together.

Until next time,

Hannah