Back to tennis. Well, at the US Open it’s the usual story – the male/female contrast is huge. Easy matches, lots of 6-0 sets in one draw, and a tough first week in the other event. Only this time, it’s the men with the stroll for the top seeds, and the women with all the last set showdowns.<br /><br />Why the turnaround? One reason is that, right now, Roddick, Federer, Hewitt and Agassi are all just streets ahead of the rest. The chasing pack are going down injured, tired and just plain out. I’ve said it before, but who needs the long-distance hop to Athens? Andre and Lleyton have benefitted from skipping the trip, and Rod / Fed are just too good to not hit top gear in the slams.<br /><br />But the women? It’s a shift in the game. Williams sisters have faded, the Justine H-H has had a mixed year, Capriati and Davenport are just staying in the mix, and the Russians are all over the place. It’s another wide-open event, and it SHOULD (God I hate saying this because I know I’ll jinx her) be Mauresmo’s to win. <br /><br />You can basically pencil in the men’s semis now. It will almost certainly be Federer-Henman, Roddick-Hewitt, the latter two being complete certs. Henman is the best left in his section, and Roger should be too good for Andre.<br /><br />On the Women’s side, Davenport-Venus should go Lindsay’s way, and if Capriati plays well we could have no Williams in the semis, which would be weird. So, I pick a France-US final, Davenport-Mauresmo. Possibly the nicest women on the tour, apparently.
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