vendredi 30 décembre 2011

Top 10 Predictions for 2012

After we saw the 2011 Top Ten, let's try to guess how the WTA TOUR Top 10 will look like after 2012, after its four Grand Slams, its Masters Cup and its Olympic Tournament ! I know that it is quite risky to do so before the season even began but you know that I love taking risks, I love being challenged so come here and say what you want to say !

1- Serena Williams (UNITED STATES)
When Serena's on, she's hard to handle (Melbourne, Australia)

Assuming that Serena Williams will strongly be back in the tour, playing a quite full schedule, I can see her back where she belong, at the head of the WTA ranking system. Her game is still very tough for her oppenents to handle because she puts so much intensity and so much power in all her strokes that she becomes a killing machine on court. We all know that Serena got this extra power when she plays at Grand Slam and she will be THE player to upset in every Grand Slam. I can see her winning at the Australian Open this year and clinching a Runner-Up trophy at both Wimbledon and US Open . She'll also win a couple of Mandatory Premiers in order to clinch this first spot. It won't be one of those "Serena's year" but, it could be an enough good year for her to dominate (one last time... ?)

2- Maria Sharapova (RUSSIA)
Maria Sharapova's determination is back on court (Madrid, Spain)

The Russian diva can definetely make it. She played quite well during 2011, but she was still far from her top and she's still got the motivation and the will to improve and ne doubt that her team, lead by Thomas Hogstedt, will help her out. In 2011, we saw a new Sharapova on court, hungry and full of will to be back to where she belongs, the top. Like I said, not playing her best tennis, she managed to reach the fourth spot at the end of this year and I can see her going even higher this year, assuming that she gets rid of her ankle injury. Maria Sharapova will just have to stop those up and down she still got from time to time. She'll be one of the biggest contenders in Grand Slam and, this year, I can see her winning at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon. In fact, she's got what it takes to do so and even better, why not, at the Olympics, an event that she's always dreamt to play. Nonetheless, her inconsistency and sometimes, the preassure she feels sometimes on the court, will make her fail to clinch the first spot in 2012. Wait and See.

3- Petra Kvitova (CZECH REPUBLIC)
Petra Kvitova, will again, play a strong season (Melbourne, Australia)

She'll drop a little bit in the rankings to finish the year at the 3rd spot. Petra Kvitova is a great player able to beat anyone when she's on. And that's the thing, when she isn't on, she's able to lose to anyone. Petra lacks consistency because she lacks experience. She's still young and gotta learn few things. But, don't get me wrong, Petra Kvitova will indeed have a great season in 2012. She'll be one of the toughest player to face in Grand Slams and in all tournaments in General. In fact, she's able to pull out some stellar tennis to beat anyone on a good day, on a good week. But I can also see her sometimes, bashing a match and getting trashed when you don't expect it. Her season can be highlighted by a win in a Grand Slam, in Roland Garros, for example, or why not, in Wimbledon again. Mandatory Premiers and Premier 5 will also be Petra's objectives just as the Olympic Games, where she really could clinch a medal as she plays at her best when she defends Czech Republic's banner as we saw it during the Fed Cup, throughout the year.

4- Samantha Stosur (AUSTRALIA)
With her lethal forehand, Sam Stosur showed she's able to reach the tops (Osaka, Japan)

Samantha Stosur had an overall good year in 2011. Even if the year did not begin really well, she found back her tennis a little by a little to clinch the title at the US Open, where nobody expected it. That's women's tennis charm, everything can always happen, whenever, wherever and made by whoever. I expect Samantha to be steadier this year and to become on of those players that we will see at latter stage at lot of tournaments, including grand slams. I can see Sam Stosur reaching semi-finals at three grand slams this year, and why not having, eventually a quite good result at Wimbledon, where she's never shined before. I also think she'll win finally a big claycourt event, why not, in Madrid ?

5-  Victoria Azarenka (BELARUS)

Victoria Azarenka's determination (Miami,US)

I'm not doing this for Victoria Azarenka's fan who got all right to hate because I don't really believe in their beloved "Vika" ! But I really think that Victoria, even if she goes down a little bit in the rankings, will play a full, solid and consistant season. In fact I can see Victoria being a big threat at every Premier event. Actually she could end up being the player who had won the most tournament on the tour in 2012. But sadly, I can't see her doing great at slams. Of couse, she'll still be a tough oppenent there and a contender to win there but I don't think she's got, yet, what it takes to do better than what she did this year, reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon. In fact, I am not even sure if she will reach that stage in Slams this year as the fields will be strong and as she often got physical issues during the two-weeks events. I'd bet she'll play another final at Istanbul at the end of the year losing to either Kvitova, Sharapova or Serena Williams. I am not saying Victoria will never win a Slam in her career or something, but I just don't think it's not gonna happen this year. But I really hope she will prove me wrong by winning one because I actually quite like seeing her play and moving around the court.

6- Marion Bartoli (FRANCE)
Marion Bartoli show she's able to defend too (London, UK)

2012 could be another breakthrough year for Marion Bartoli, just like 2007 and 2011 were. Marion is becoming a much wiser and experminted player on the tour and she works on her weaknesses every year a bit more. For instance, she's the leader of ace makers this year when you remember who she started at serve, you realize that she is a hard worker. I can definetely see her reaching the best ranking of her career with this 6th spot at the WTA Tour ranking. In fact, 2012 Marion's season will be a season during which she'll be steady and will reach regurally the latter stages of tournaments, smaller or bigger. I can see her having one great result at Slam, in Roland Garros, for instance, but not reaching another Slam final as she did in 2007. Her biggest challenge will be to play the Olympic Games for France despite of all the issues she's got with a quite strange Federation that feels like she's got another top players to do it instead of Bartoli while, right now, they don't. The most beautiful end to this story is Marion clinching a medal to prove everybody in France, what she's able to do.

7- Kim Clijsters (BELGIUM)
2012 could be another successful year for Kim Clijsters (NY, US)

The Belgian mum will be back in action in Brisbane next week. Assuming that Kim will remain on the tour, I can see her going back in the top 10 but not going any higher than the 7th spot. She admitted herself that she was thinking about stopping playing right after Olympic Games and we know that Kim is no more the kind of player to run all over the world to follow the tour. In fact, I don't expect Kim Clijsters to win a Slam this year but why not to reach two or three finals. And this will begin at the Australian Open where she's got her title from last year to defend. Kim Clijsters will also be a threat on big tournaments such as Indian Wells and Miami where she remains the last player to have won them both back to back. She also could do well at Roland Garros while, except Fransesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur, no one seem a claycourt specialist. The question is, will she able to provide Belgium a medal, which is her biggest hope...

8-  Vera Zvonareva (RUSSIA)
Vera Zvonareva's will to win (London, UK)

Vera Zvonareva should remain in 2012, one of the steadiest player on the tour, she'll be the kind of player who will regurally reach quarter-finals or better at tournaments she enters. In fact, Zvonareva will still be the kind of player which will always be a challenge to beat because of her fitness and her defensive skills. I can see her having one or two great results at Slams, and why not reaching a final. I actually chose this 8th spot because I sadly think she won't be able to clinch a title in 2012 (except perhaps in Doha where she seems to feel right at home). Perhaps I've been a bit harsh with Vera as I can see her going much higher than this spot with a bit of luck and success but, if she does not change something in her game, this is likely the spot she'll grab at the end of the year wich is more than honorable.

9- Sabine Lisicki (GERMANY)
Sabine Lisicki's teremendous serve (Roland Garros, France)

I can see 2012 as being a great year for the german player. She's prooved before that she was able to play some good tennis and her offensive powerful game is likely to suit all surfaces. If she's healthy and injury free, Sabine Lisicki will be able to play a full schedule in order to reach, for the first time of her career, the WTA TOP 10. In fact, she's able to do well at both tour tournaments and grand slam. I can see her reaching another slam semi-final by the way, in 2012, why not in Wimbledon again ? She'll be one of those players with lot of ups and a bit downs though which will forbid her to go higher than a nineth spot this year. In fact, Sabine lacks yet consistency and this is because she is not totally fit yet. Sabine Lisicki could, in a good week, grab a Premier 5 event and why not a Mandatory Premier, but this is still to much to ask from a player who just came back from injury and who is enjoying her time on the court. She came back strong in 2011 in order to reach the N.15 spot at the end of the year and can go even higher in 2012.

10- Caroline Wozniacki (DANEMARK)
Wozniacki's defensive skills (Tokyo, Japan)

The Dane is likely to lose her first spot this year but also to go down a little bit in the rankings scuring a tenth spot at the end of 2012. In fact, her recent results clearly showed the limits of her game. In fact, in a good day, any good player can overwhelm Wozniacki by hitting hard, deep and consistant : Maria Sharapova did it in Rome, Dominika Cibulkova did it in Wimbledon, Flavia Pennetta did it during the China Open. Actually, Wozniacki's attitude's also been doubtful sometimes, during Cincinnati and Toronto for instance. Her game is no more a secret or a liability for other players and even though she'll keep consistant, winning a couple of small tournaments and reaching regular results at Slams and Premiers.

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