Summer Hard Courts – More Fizzle than Sizzle

Rather than do a preview of the women’s event in Toronto and the men’s event in Cincinnati, I thought it would be easier to just look at some of the highlights (and lack thereof) of the summer hard court season so far.

The Frontrunners
For the men, Sam Querrey, Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray have so far been the most consistent this summer. Murray just played one event, Montreal, but he won it, and I expect him to at least get to the finals of Cincinnati this week.

For the women, Flavia Pennetta won L.A. and has played well in other events. Jelena Jankovic surprised a few people by winning Cincinnati. Elena Dementieva has also been consistent despite some tough loses in the semis of both Stanford and Cincinnati.

Shaking off the rust

Most of the top players have looked downright shaky for the summer. Roger Federer failed to close out his match against Tsonga in Montreal. Serena Williams has played spotty at best. Dinara Safina, usually very consistent in getting to the semifinals of any event she plays, has only gotten to one final this summer. Even Andy Roddick, who got to the finals of D.C. and semis at Montreal needs to get into an extra gear.

Predictions this week
For the ladies in Toronto, the event is still wide open with Safina, Venus, and Kuznetsova all losing early. A key match is wildcard Kim Clijsters playing Jelena Jankovic. If Clijsters wins, look for her to do very well at the Open. She could beat Serena should they meet, but I’m sure Serena would want to send a message that she’s still the player to beat
Winner – S. Williams.

For the guys in Cinncinati, a key match will be Andy Murray v. Roger Federer if they both make it to the semis. If Murray can win that match, which I think he can, Federer will have a lot to worry about before the Open. On the other side of the draw, if Nadal can get to the finals, he should be in pretty good shape for the Open.

Winner – A. Murray

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