Venus vs. Serena? That’s one thing I can guarantee won’t happen at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. Henin vs. Clijsters? Let’s just hope they make it past their third rounds. Shakira? I’m thinking she’ll make a quarterfinals appearance – main stadium, of course.
The seeded semifinals: Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka (Kim Clijsters) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (Justine Henin)
FIRST QUARTER (top half)
Kuznetsova’s back this week as the first seed – maybe she’ll actually win a match this time. (I know, I know, f*ck the haters!) First up for Sveta is the winner of Peng vs. King. Szavay is seeded for her 3rd round and Bartoli is her Rd. of 16. She’ll be looking out for Wickmayer or Li Na in the quarterfinals.
Seeded Rd. of 16s: Kuznetsova vs. Bartoli, Wickmayer vs. Li Na
Look out for: Playboy Mommy Ashley Harkleroad vs. Alicia Molik in the first round, Wickmayer vs. Rezai in the 3rd
Dark horse: Aravane Rezai
SECOND QUARTER (top half)
Venus Williams was on a spectacular run leading up to Indian Wells, winning Dubai, Acapulco and the Billie Jean King Cup in consecutive weekends. After skipping the California desert, will she be able to pick up where she left off? She’ll need to be sharp from the start, playing the winner of Larcher de Brito vs. Cirstea in her first match. Anabel Medina Garrigues is her 3rd round and Nadia Petrova is her Rd. of 16. Pennetta or Agnieszka Radwanska could give her a workout in the quarters.
Seeded Rd. of 16s: Venus vs. Petrova, Pennetta vs. Radwanska
Look out for: Larcher de Brito vs. Cirstea in the 1st, Chakvetadze vs. Petrova in the 2nd, Ivanovic vs. Radwanska and Lisicki vs. Pennetta in the 3rd
Dark horse: Sabine Lisicki
THIRD QUARTER (bottom half)
This is an especially intriguing quarter of the draw: Victoria Azarneka is the top seed in this section, but expectations are on hold after she crashed out in the 3rd round last week to Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. At least she’ll have a chance for redemption if/when she meets her recent nemesis in the same round this week. Seeded 14, Kim Clijsters is also in this quarter and also looking to improve on a third round loss at Indian Wells. No. 7 seeded Jelena Jankovic said last week that the best way for her to start winning again was to, uh, start winning again. Will she build on her great desert success, or will it come tumbling down in Miami like a game of Jenga?
Seeded Rd. of 16s: Jankovic vs. Stosur in a replay of the IW semifinals, Clijsters vs. Azarenka
Look out for: Suarez-Navarro vs. Stosur and Martinez Sanchez vs. Safarova in the 2nd round, Zheng vs. Stosur (or Carla!) and Clijsters vs. Peer in the 3rd
Dark horses: Too many to pick from, so I’m taking two. Carla Suarez Navarro or Shahar Peer
FOURTH QUARTER (bottom half)
This features one of the best “eights” in the draw. Justine Henin (wild card) and Elena Dementieva (5th seed) will face off – again – in the second round. Cibulkova is a probable third round for the winner and then Kleybanova, Zvonareva or even Oudin are Round of 16 possibilities. (I’d love to see Melanie meet her idol across the net!) IW finalist and second seed Caroline Wozniack anchors the draw, looking at Maria Kirilenko in the third round and either Schiavone or Pavlyuchenkova in the Round of 16.
Seeded Rd. of 16s: Dementieva vs. Zvonareva and Schiavone vs. Wozniacki
Look out for: Dementieva vs. Henin (that’s a can’t miss!) and Zvonareva vs. Oudin in the 2nd round
Dark horse: Francesca Schiavone