Friday, August 22, 2003

The Open Brackets: With action starting in Queens on Monday, I figured I'd get some almost-certainly-wrong predictions in. Andre looks like he has a fairly easy bracket. His biggest challenge may come in the first match, where he's drawn the unseeded but talented Spaniard Alex Corretja. Others in the bracket include Kafelnikov, who is seeing an early backside to his career and poses little threat, and Max Mirnyi, who has never quite put it all together. The dark horse in this bracket is Grosjean. Lleyton Hewitt, barring another herculean choke, has his bracket wrapped up. Mistakes could open the door for Srichiphan, who has streaked out of obscurity to be seeded 11th. The third bracket should be Andy Roddick's to lose. He's been a hot hand lately. If he's out before the quarters, he needs more than a new coach. In the final bracket, Roger Federer will be on the spot to prove that Wimby wasn't a fluke. He's a great player, but not a great closer. In Wimby trim he can take the competition in his draw from Wimbledon foe Philippoussis and Aussie Open quarterfinalist David Nalbandian. I hope we see a lot of this talented fellow, but he'll have to play consistently. Alas, in that depratment his flawless recent slam win was an exception. Finally, among those in the running for qualifier spots is Ivo Karlovic, the 6'10" Croatian monster who sent Hewitt packing in England this summer. His height and reach could be potent weapons, though one gets no sense of the overarching skill of a Richard Krajicek, another fellow with a huge reach.

As for the chicks, you know the drill: Venus, Kim, or Justine, with outside chances for J.Cap (unlikely, since she's in Venus's bracket), Lindsay (though her 3-seed is a gift), or one of the Russian ladies' mafia. Speaking of whom, USA Today reports that Anna Kournikova will make it to the Open after all. As an "entertainment reporter" for USA Network.

On another entertainment note, Sampras is going to get weepy at another slam, only this time it won't be because he didn't need his usual "injury" excuse. No offense, Pete; you're great and all, but you should have hung it up at your last Wimbledon when somebody still gave a shit.

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