The shit gets real this week as the USO Series gets two top level mandatory events for the men and women. The top ladies, sans Serena (foot), Venus (knee), and Sam (forecep) are in Cincy and my big question is whether Vika and Masha can back up their form and results from Stanford. They both took last week off.
As for JJ, THE NUMBER TWO PLAYER IN THE WORLD (it's on her business cards), she'll get a chance to rebound from her loss to Kleybs in the second round of San Diego. She blamed the loss on her injured ankle, which she said she couldn't practice on at SD, but she's been on the courts in Cincy. So...I'm assuming it's better? I guess we'll get the definitive answer if she loses, which she shouldn't, seeing as how she's got two qualifiers in the first two rounds. Then again, if I'm one of those qualifiers, I'm smelling blood.
Cincy also sees Kim returning to action. I mean, who knows how that's going to turn out. And Aga will be playing her third tourney in three weeks. I get that she's fit now and everything, but she was fiddling with her foot throughout yesterday's final.
Early round jaw droppers: Sveta vs. Masha, Ana vs. Vika, Flavia vs. Zheng. Other fun ones: Dani vs. Pavs, Petko vs. Coq au Vin. If only because I get to keep using that nickname.
Here's a fun game: Who will get dumped out first: Aga or Franny. Discuss.
Cincy draw and OOP.
Center Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Vania King vs. Nuria Llagostera Vives
2. Dinara Safina vs. Roberta Vinci
3. Marion Bartoli vs. Anabel Medina Garrigues
4. Victoria Azarenka vs. Ana Ivanovic (NB 19.20hrs)
5. Gullickson/Gullickson vs. Kleybanova/Makarova
Grandstand (from 11.00hrs)
1. Monica Niculescu vs. Sabine Lisicki
2. Jamie Hampton vs. Sara Errani
3. Shahar Peer vs. Olga Govortsova
4. Mirza/Niculescu vs. Hampton/Oudin
5. Craybas/Gallovits vs. Coin/Hradecka (NB 19.00hrs)
Court 3 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Bojana Jovanovski vs. Aravane Rezai
2. Dominika Cibulkova vs. Alona Bondarenko
3. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Alexandra Dulgheru
4. Ayumi Morita vs. Arantxa Parra Santonja
Court 4 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Kimiko Date Krumm vs. Akgul Amanmuradova
2. Vera Dushevina vs. Anastasia Rodionova
3. Yaroslava Shvedova vs. Alla Kudryavtseva
As for the dudes, we've got a sausage smorgasbord in Toronto, as all the top guys are in action. So far, the story has been Rafa and Nole playing dubs together, starting tonight, but apart from that piece of marketing genius it feels like a whole lot of "wait and see". Rafa and Roger are on opposite sides of the draw and can't meet until the finals but each of the top four will have some work to do to get there. Ok, maybe not Nole. His draw is pretty cake. He just has to survive himself.
Rafa's got A-Rod is his quarter (and Sam Q in his 1/8), Moose has Sodz (who, incidentally, could move up to #4 depending on how those two do here), Fed has Big Berd, and Nole has the Broken Playstation.
Match I want to see: Nalby vs. Sod (R3). Hell, how about Ernie vs. Sod (R2)?
Match you couldn't pay me to watch: Fabio vs. Radek (R1). Barf.
Toronto draw and OOP: