Matt Cronin, our man on the ground in Australia, weighs in on Venus' chances on hardcourts:
Suarez has to be credited for her extraordinary play as unquestionably, she contested the match of her life. She was literally leaping at the ball, smoking crosscourt backhands a la Justine Henin, smacking high-hopping forehands (dare we say) like Rafael Nadal, jamming Venus with intense body serves.
But where was the Venus who won the WTA Championships with a suffocating net attack and deep, meaningful groundstrokes? Where was the Venus who once trusted that she could deliver a roundhouse return of serve at crunch time, or lace a running backhand down the line when off the court? Where was the Venus who was many analysts' favorite to win the Australian Open title that had eluded her? Nowhere to the found. The 2009 Venus Williams was huffing and puffing, confused and bewildered.
Venus did not appear depressed after the loss, or particularly shocked. And why should she be? Look at how many different players had their way with her on hard courts in 2008, both young and old — Ana Ivanovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Petra Kvitova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Na Li, Jelena Jankovic and Flavia Pennetta.
The part that shocked me was that list of players she's lost to on hard courts in 2008. I kinda wished I had seen that before I picked her to win the Open.