Monday, September 3, 2007

Scouting Report

Here's a first hand view of two young players from Saturday's matches at the US Open-and an As Good As News forecast

-Donald Young - Southpaw junior wunderkind who recently won his first tournament as a pro on the Challenger circuit and his first match on the main tour. Quick, good feel for when to approach the net but lost many points to Feliciano Lopez because he couldn't stick the volleys when he had the chance. Serve needs work. Ground strokes good on both sides but not really a weapon on either. A little temperamental, started to run through his volleys and hit long when he lost control of the match, but Donald was trying to do too much, he never really quit. Donald is 5 feet, 9 inches and will never have a big serve but there is room for improvement. With work Young might be another Sebastian Grosjean. Despite his junior success, he does not look like a player who will be winning majors. Most important- he needs a nickname. Ringing cries of "C'Mon Donald - You Can Do It" were less than inspirational.
-Victoria Azarenka - This 18 year old from Minsk, Belarus pushed Martina Hingis off the court with big ground strokes on both sides. She started out trying to play strategically, hitting an occasional drop shot, mixing in ground strokes up the line. Azarenka was more or less holding her own, then she stopped thinking and started hitting every shot deep and cross court. Hingis, maybe the best strategist on the women's tour, must have known what was coming but she could do nothing about it. Azarenka is listed at 5 feet 11 inches but her legs seemed to be at least 5 feet long. She was in great shape, she was willing to think her way throught the match (until she realized she was better off just slugging) and we may hear a lot more from her. She plays mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi, a sought after partner, so someone thinks she can play.

-Unfortunately for Azarenka her next opponent is Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 champ, who seems to be forgotten in the celebrity poor bottom half of the draw. Kuznetsova is playing well, she seems like a good bet to reach the finals ready and rested against an exhausted top bracket survivor. Right now Venus Williams is playing the best tennis of any woman on the planet, but she may have to face Serena in a sister's match that has been a psychodramatic disaster for Venus in years past. Even if Venus survives she may be too drained to handle Kuznetsova. On the men's side - Roger Federer - what more need be said?

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