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August 25, 2011
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U.S. Open Indicators 2011
by Ray Bowers
The year's preeminent figure in men's tennis has been the tall Serbian Novak Djokovic, 24, whose 2011 run includes triumphs at Australian Open, Wimbledon, and at five of the six Mandatory 1,000-Series events thus far decided. Prior to his recent shoulder troubles and defeat at Cincinnati, Novak's only loss this year came against Roger Federer in a four-set semi-final at Garros. Roger won there in a fourth-set tiebreaker, darkness closing, even though Novak had been the dominant attacker through most of the late drama. Djokovic's superb run of 2011 is producing comparisons with history's best ever.
The Big Four in men's tennis -- Djokovic, plus Nadal, Federer, and Murray -- have been a stable group, the four having monopolized the top four places in the year-end official rankings every year starting in 2008. They also lead in the current rolling-12-month list. All four are superb in virtually every skill, but they are most distinguished in two -- (1) serve-returning ability and (2) footwork and court movement.
Just behind the Big Four are two near-superstars -- Robin Soderling and David Ferrer -- who have occasionally threatened to puncture the monopoly. Next then is the second tier -- Tsonga, Berdych, Monfils, perhaps del Potro, and the newest member at age 29, American Mardy Fish. All have the weapons to defeat any higher-rated member who is playing below his best.
No watcher at a given tournament can witness closely more than a fraction of that event's matches. Nor can an armchair observer view electronically any more than a sampling of the pro tennis played every week worldwide. Predicting outcomes of matches or tournaments thus requires large doses of second-hand impressions, subjective judgment, and guesswork. Useful in guiding the forecaster can be various kinds of numerical data, thoughtfully applied.
Here, we again employ six numerical indicators as aids in understanding possible outcomes at U.S. Open 2011.
1. WEIGHTED PERFORMANCES OF PAST 13 MONTHS
This, our most basic Indicator, weights past achievements at various tournaments according to how well historically each event has predicted results at succeeding U.S. Opens. The resulting weights used here thus tend to reflect (1) commonality of surfaces and other conditions with U.S. Open and (2) recency.
Here are the leaders in the resulting scores Sk. (Note that the values here and in several other indicators are dimensionless and are meaningful only for comparisons.)
1. Novak Djokovic, 6.07
Nadal led in the Sk calculation until well into 2011. He and Djokovic divided the four Slams in our 13-month period, but Novak's two triumphs (Australian Open and Wimbledon 2011) were more heavily weighted in our calculation than Rafa's (U.S. Open 2010 and Garros 2011). Novak's larger edge over Rafa here came in winning five 1,000-Series Masters events, all in 2011. Rafa won just one.
2. Rafael Nadal, 4.53
3. Roger Federer, 3.28
4. Andy Murray, 2.89
5. Tomas Berdych, 1.32
A hard-to-explain anomaly became evident in working through the calculations to reach the weightings used here. The historical results in the summer tournaments in North America, in particular the Canadian and Cincinnati, failed to correlate with results at the Open as well as expected. Indeed, our calculations produced weights for predicting this year's Open that were twice as heavy for Indian Wells and Miami (both played five months before the Open) as those for Canada and Cincinnati.
Results in Cincinnati suggested an answer. Could it be that the severe physical demands of the North American summer circuit, played on hard courts in very hot conditions, are so demanding of those players who advance to the late rounds, that their very success amid few breaks during the summer tends to reduce their chances at the Open? Novak Djokovic, for example, seemed badly worn down even before withdrawing with shoulder trouble against Murray in Cincy. Earlier in the weekend, Berdych outplayed Djokovic much of the way but then broke down physically, while Nadal seemed hardly his usual self in losing to Mardy Fish. Mardy, too, seemed unable to call on his recent brilliance in losing to Murray in the Cincinnati final.
2. HARD-COURT RESULTS OF 2011
Here, 2011 player performances on hard courts, outdoors and indoors, are summed in ATP points.
1. Novak Djokovic, 6,100
Djokovic's lead over the others is extreme here, confirming his comfort in hard-court movement and stroking. Nadal, who was strong in our first indicator, is barely inside the first five, his triumphs at Garros and Monte Carlo 2011 not counted here, being on clay.
2. Roger Federer, 2,260
3. Andy Murray, 2,230
4. Mardy Fish, 2,065
5. Rafael Nadal, 1,880
3. ELITE WINS VS. TOTAL LOSSES, 2010-2011
"Elite Wins" are match victories over some fifteen stars here designated elite players.
1. Rafael Nadal, 33 elite wins, 20 total losses, ratio 1.65
Rafa was well ahead in this tally for 2010, but Novak's 2011 run made matters close here. Sixth place went to Mardy Fish (11 elite wins, 28 total losses, ratio 0.39). This indicator has sometimes proved highly prescient.
2. Novak Djokovic, 27 elite wins, 20 total losses, ratio 1.35
3. Roger Federer, 21 elite wins, 24 total losses, ratio 0.88
4. Robin Soderling, 18 elite wins, 31 total losses, ratio 0.58
5. Andy Murray, 16 elite wins, 28 total losses, ratio 0.57
4. RECENT PATTERN OF IMPROVEMENT
The idea here is to compare a player's current level of play with his previous historical best. Our calculation uses the player's best previous 12-month ranking as numerator and his ranking in very recent play (April 24-August 21, 2011) as denominator. The resulting 3p ratio identifies players now playing at their best-ever level. Players so identified might be rising future superstars or perhaps merely temporary overachievers.
1. Bernard Tomic, rank for period #42, previous best #173, 3p ratio 4.12
The leader, Australian-grown Bernard Tomic, 18, this year became the first teenager since Boris Becker to attain the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. Since then, however, Bernard lost in the second round in Canada and was beaten in the qualifiers at Cincinnati and in Winston-Salem.
2. Alex Bogomolov, rank #34, previous best #97, ratio 2.85
3. Janko Tipsarevic, rank #12, previous best #33, ratio 2.75
4. Ryan Harrison, rank #50 , previous best #128, ratio 2.56
5. Mardy Fish, rank #5, previous best #11, ratio 2.00
The presence of Mardy Fish in the top group seems significant for our purposes. During the four-month period measured here, Mardy reached the quarters at Wimbledon, where he defeated Berdych, then made a superb run on the summertime hard courts, winning at Atlanta and reaching the final in Los Angeles and in Montreal. At Montreal he lost to Djokovic by score 64 in the third set, but at Cincinnati the next week he defeated Nadal to reach the semis and then lost closely to the eventual winner, Murray. There was also an exhausting Davis Cup tie against Spain, where Mardy played well in best-of-five-set action but scored no wins. Mardy's 25-pound weight reduction and program of fitness partly explained his improved performance.
Fish's current assets include a constant willingness and ability to attack net with little warning, plus excellent ability in serving and rallying, all reinforcing his long-standing accurate and often-powerful backhand.
5. PAST U.S. OPENS
Sometimes a player performs exceptionally well at a given tournament year after year. Here, each player's results at past U.S. Opens are weighted for recency, and the best five values are then summed.
1. Roger Federer, 28.8
Roger at age 30, holds five past U.S. Open crowns, won in consecutive years 2004-2008. His reaching the final in 2009 and semis in 2010 suggests that his career has passed its zenith but is far from over. Watching him in action, it is hard to detect any decline in his skills, but the high level of talent among the present group of superstars five or more years younger than Roger weighs more and more heavily against Roger. His third-place score in our third indicator, above, Elite Wins vs. Total Losses, also verifies that he can still compete against the best.
2. Rafaek Nadal, 17.7
3. Novak Djokovic, 17.0
4. Andy Roddick, 10.1
5. Juan Martin del Potro, 9.7
6. HEAD-TO-HEADS AND PREDICTIONS
Our sixth Indicator, Head-to-Head Results, is introduced in conjunction with the match-ups suggested by the official draw. The predictions rest in part on our integration of all the indicators.
This is the quarter of Novak Djokovic, certainly the game's best player in 2011 to date and the tournament's acknowledged favorite including in the message of our indicators. A foremost uncertainty arises, however, as to the condition of Novak's right shoulder, as the injury seemed by no means trivial in Novak's last start, in Cincinnati. But if he is close to his previous form, Novak should prevail.
Dodig over Davydenko. Nikolay is still dangerous at 30, but Dodig is the recent riser at 26, having upset Nadal in Toronto. Dogopolov over Gasquet. Gasquet is the higher seeded player, but riser Dolgopolov has resumed the upward path he earlier asserted in Australia.
Djokovic over Dodig and also over Dogopolov. Novak commands far too much mobility and firepower for either.
Tipsarevic over Berdych. Janko has won all three of their past meetings including recently in Montreal. Tomas leads in most of our other indicators, though the margin is close in the second indicator, hard-court performance in 2011. Berdych withdrew from a close match with Djokovic in Cincinnati, but that possible shoulder difficulty turns the choice here to Tipsarevic. Monfils over Tipsarevic. The French star was dismal in the final here in Washington, but he showed spark in Canada and Cincinnati, where he lost to Djokovic in both cases.
Djokovic over Monfils. Novak has won all eight of their past meetings, and won four of their five sets in the last month.
Roger Federer is the top seed here and should advance to the quarters comfortably over Cilic and either Stepanek or Troicki. But either of two warriors in the lower half of this quarter, Fish and Tsonga, both now playing at very high level, could spell big trouble for Sir Roger.
Fish over Tsonga. Mardy leads Jo-Wilfried in every one of our first five indicators, though the two have never met in head-to-head competition. The French player starred at Wimbledon 2011, beating Federer and carrying Djokovic to four sets in the semis, and has played well thereafter. But these credentials are trumped by Mardy's superb summer run.
Fish over Federer. Roger has won six of their seven past meetings including their most recent, a split-setter at Indian Wells 2010. He leads in four of our first five indicators, where Mardy's only edge is in his current pattern of improvement, indicator four. Their ages are close, but Mardy may have the edge in conditioning for an extended hot-weather struggle and at least equality in motivation and confidence.
Andy Murray thoroughly defeated a below-form and then injured Djokovic at Cincinnati, showing superb countering ability, excellent avoidance of error, and plenty of mustard in serving and stroking. Finishing the summer relatively fresh, and well ahead of all possible opponents in our indicators, Andy should comfortably reach the expected quarter-final meeting with Soderling or del Potro.
Del Potro over Soderling. Robin's readiness is unproven, as he has not played competitively since July, having withdrawn at Montreal with right-wrist trouble. Del Potro has won four of their five past meetings, most recently on a hard court at Miami 2011. Soderling is ahead closely in the first three indicators, but Juan Martin is a past U.S. Open champion and is the younger player by five years.
Murray over del Potro. Andy leads in our first three indicators, and he holds the head-to-head edge at W-L 5-1, having won all four of their past hard-court meetings. With Juan Martin seemingly not yet at his best form of 2009, Andy is the clear choice here.
The boys from Spain should be in full command here.
Ferrer over Almagro. David's resolute play against bigger and stronger opponents continues to delight galleries. He plays tight tennis, designed to exploit any opportunity but determined not to give opponent easy points. His is not soft tennis, however, as he creates excellent pace in serving and stroking. Still, Almagro is the heavier striker, but he is distantly behind David in our indicators, including in head-to-head wins where David leads 8-0.
Nadal over Ferrer. Rafael's indifferent results this summer create concern. He leads in most indicators, though the margin is close in the second, hard-court results in 2011. Rafa has won a good majority of their head-to-head meetings, especially in recent years, but he and David have divided their six hard-court meetings equally, David winning their only U.S. Open match and also at Australian Open 2011. Ferrer's summer has been little better than Rafa's except for two fine wins over Roddick and Fish in Davis Cup play. The case is close, but Nadal's recent greatness is too strong in memory to defy.
Murray over Nadal. Believers in Andy Murray have endured many disappointments over the years, while believers in Rafa have enjoyed repeated success. In a composite integration of our first five indicators Rafa stands in third place, Andy closely fourth. Rafa has won a strong majority of their head-to-head meetings, except that the two are very close in their hard-court meetings, with Andy ahead in by W-L 4-2 in their last six hard-courters starting with his win at U.S. Open 2009. There are many conflicting considerations here, but the verdict of summer 2011 points clearly to Andy.
Djokovic over Fish. Albeit the wonderful summer of Mardy Fish, it is simply impossible to overrule Novak's spectacular play through most of this year. I remember writing in my notebook after one superb set by Novak that it was hard to imagine that the game has ever been played at a higher level. Novak leads Mardy in past head-to-head wins 7-0, including at Miami and Montreal this year, and also in all but one of the other indicators.
Murray over Djokovic. Probably Novak himself is very unsure how the shoulder will hold up under two weeks of grueling tennis at the Open. Guessing, Novak's general superiority in all aspects of the game should carry him to final-round Sunday, but surely at cost in Novak's ability to coax further performance from that wounded instrument. Andy showed in Cincinnati that at his best, he is entirely capable of outplaying a weakened Novak. Andy has won four of their last five meetings on hard courts. Now, the long-awaited Slam triumph has at last come for the Scotsman.
RETURN OF THE NET ATTACKERS?
Can it be that men's pro tennis is becoming more of a net game? Mardy Fish's excellent success of late came with a strong dose of aggressive net-attacking by Mardy. Both his win over Nadal in Cincinnati and the remarkable win of Stepanek over Monfils in the final at Washington showed how a determined and skilled net attacker could confound an athletic and powerful baseliner. Other top players like Berdych, Tsonga, and even Monfils have shown dazzling ability in forecourt and, at least in some outings, an interest in using it. Among the Big Four, Federer is superb at net, and the other three, although essentially baseliners, are not far behind Roger in forecourt ability.
As improved mobility and countering ability from deep have became widespread, difficulties have increased for attackers to strike winners from back court without considerable risk of error. Meanwhile today's baseliners are not well practiced in answering a skilled and persistent net warrior. The ultimate remedy of yesteryear -- denying the net to opponent by seizing it first -- is a forgotten tactic.
The second week of Wimbledon this year saw more frequent net approaches than in any of at least the previous five years. It would not be surprising if the forthcoming U.S. Open produced further evidence of this appealing development among the men.
With Serena Williams sidelined last fall and winter, Kim Clijsters, then 27, swept the three biggest events of the period -- U.S. Open 2010, the year-end championships at Doha 2010, and Australian Open 2010. But since then Kim has played only sporadically because of various shoulder, wrist, and ankle injuries. Her recent withdrawal from U.S. Open 2011 was a major disappointment, leaving the forthcoming Open without its champion of the last two years and one of its prime favorites to win this year.
Meanwhile Serena, now 29, returned to competition just before Wimbledon 2011 following injuries and health problems that began almost a year earlier. On the North American hard courts this summer she won Stanford and Toronto, raising her game with every appearance and showing determination, fitness, and a playing level as strong as ever. Then came a withdrawal at Cincinnati nominally for a toe injury but probably also to permit rest and preparation for the Open.
Given her dominating power in serving and stroking, Serena, whose thirteen Slam championships include three U.S. Open triumphs, will be favored against any opponent. But there is no shortage of aspirants capable of defeating Serena if the strong-willed American cannot find the form she showed at the finish in Canada.
1. WEIGHTED PERFORMANCES OF PAST 13 MONTHS
1. Caroline Wozniacki, 3.80
At age just 21, Caroline Wozniacki's strong pattern of success in non-Slam events seemed at least temporarily derailed in July 2011, when she retired from the tournament in Bastad, Sweden, with right-shoulder strain. She returned to action a month later in Toronto and then Cincinnati, where in both places she lost her first match, beaten by improving Vinci and McHale, respectively.
2. Maria Sharapova, 2.71
3. Victoria Azarenka, 2.46
4. Vera Zvonareva, 2.32
5. Petra Kvitova, 1.59
But even before the injury, evidence was growing that Caroline's comparatively soft game was failing against heavier-hitting servers and strokers, seen in losses in the big clay events this year to Goerges, Sharapova, and Hantuchova. Still, Caroline is a resourceful and resilient player with a distinct knack for winning. Historically, her best Slam has been U.S. Open, where her own moderately forceful shots profit from the fast bounce. She leads strongly in this fundamental indicator.
Not far behind Caroline here are Sharapova and Azarenka, both of them assuredly power hitters. Both have surged well in 2011 -- Victoria beating Maria in their final at Miami and Maria reaching the final at Wimbledon and winning in Cincinnati. Vera Zvonareva, 26, in fourth place here, was runner-up one year ago at Flushing Meadows. The new Wimbledon champion, Kvitova, age 21, fifth here, is a powerful and still-rising lefty likely to contend well at Flushing Meadows.
2. HARD-COURT RESULTS OF 2011
1. Caroline Wozniacki, 3,543
Most of Wozniacki's success this year has come on hard courts -- triumphs in the Premium-Plus tournaments at Indian Wells and Dubai plus a semi-final finish at Australian Open, all in the first part of the year. Sidelined and then generally unsuccessful thereafter, her margin here ahead of Zvonareva has nearly vanished.
2. Vera Zvonareva, 3,276
3. Maria Sharapova, 2,645
4. Andrea Petkovic, 2,240
5. Victoria Azarenka, 2,172
Vera Zvonareva, 26, shows semi-final or better finishes in Australia, Miami, and San Diego this year and a win over Wozniacki in the final at Doha. Her best results historically have come on hard courts. Maria Sharapova, 24, third here, largely relies on all-out power in serving and stroking but also has surprisingly good defensive ability, a combination nicely abetted by the surface at Flushing Meadows. Rising star Andrea Petkovic, 24, scores well here but hurt a knee in Cincinnati, visibly handicapping her in losing there to Jankovic. In fifth place is Victoria Azarenka, 22, whose success has been held back by varied injuries causing a surprising number of match retirements.
3. ELITE WINS MINUS TOTAL LOSSES
1. Serena Williams, 14 elite wins, 10 total losses, ratio 1.40
Serena Williams's margin here seems extremely significant in assessing her chances at the Open. Kim Clijsters's score, although not shown here, is even higher. (Kim shows 20 elite wins against only 16 total losses for ratio of 1.94.) Wozniacki's tally is instructive, revealing that although Caroline has never won a Slam, her success against the other top players is quite good compared with others her age.
2. Maria Sharapova, 14 elite wins, 21 total losses, ratio 0.67
3. Venus Williams, 6 elite wins, 10 total losses, ratio 0.60
4. Caroline Wozniacki, 17 elite wins, 29 total losses, ratio 0.59
5. Vera Zvonareva, 17 elite wins, 33 total losses, ratio 0.52
4. RECENT PATTERN OF IMPROVEMENT
1. Petra Kvitova, rank for period #2, previous best #14, 3p ratio 7.00
Petra Kvitova ranks second to Sharapova in total points earned during the period since April 24, primarily owning to her capture of Wimbledon 2011. A power server and stroker, her record has been up-and-down both before and after her great triumph.
2. Roberta Vinci, rank #14, previous best #37, ratio 2.64
3. Sloane Stephens, rank #70, previous best #179, ratio 2.43
4. Ksenia Pervak, rank #35, previous best #83, ratio 2.37
5. Li Na, rank #3, previous best #6, ratio 2.00
Roberta Vinci, 28, improved her already strong credentials as riser by defeating Wozniacki in Canada. Stephens and Pervak, third and fourth here, are clearly marked as risers here but seem not yet close enough to the top echelons for championship thoughts. In fifth place here is Li Na, 29, champion of Garros 2011, who will be a difficult opponent at the Open if she can again summon her relentless pounding of moderately forceful ground-strokes.
5. PAST U.S. OPENS
1. Serena Williams, 16.7
Serena is the unquestioned queen here, although Kim Clijsters would have been tops if she not withdrawn. Both Kim and Serena have won the Open three times, and both have been runner-up once. Wozniacki's fourth-place edge over Sharapova here is surprising, as Maria is a past Open champion, having won the crown in 2006. But since then Maria has never passed the fourth round, while Caroline lists final and semi-final round appearances among her four Open performances.
2. Venus Williams, 11.4
3. Svetlana Kuznetsova, 10.9
4. Caroline Wozniacki, 10.2
5. Maria Sharapova, 8.7
6. HEAD-TO-HEADS AND PREDICTIONS
Three stars stand out here -- top-seeded Caroline Woziacki, Garros winner Li Na, and rising star Andrea Petkovic, situated in that order of rank, albeit fairly closely, by our first five indicators. A strong performance at the Open by Petkovic is to be expected barring further knee trouble, while Li's ability to summon her early year greatness remains uncertain and Caroline's shoulder troubles and dismal summer play is outright discouraging.
Caroline should overcome Hantuchova to reach the quarter-finals, having never lost to her prior to this spring. Li and Petkovic will be close, but Na's strong play in reaching the final at Australian Open, beating Petkovic along the way, and then in her Garros triumph establishes her the definite favorite. If she recovers her early-year greatness, the Chinese star should then defeat Wozniacki, probably comfortably.
Serena's biggest test should come in her third match, against Victoria Azarenka. Both have had physical problems, but Serena's health seemed affirmed in Toronto, while her recent spell of rest should only have helped. The road to the Final Four then seems clear for the American, perhaps to include a meetings with rising Pervak, then either Schiavone or Jankovic, where our indicators point narrowly to Jelena off her close win over the Italian in Cincinnati.
There are some fine match-ups in this quarter among rising players and Sharapova, who seems at her peak. Peng Shuai and Julia Goerges are both upward movers, though Julia has slipped backward somewhat from her earlier promise. Recent form argues that Peng should advance. Maria, however, has far too much firepower for either.
Petra Kvitova, champion of Wimbledon 2011, should command the other half of the quarter. Standing in the way should be either Agnieszka Radwanska, who seems on an upward swing and should prevail here, or Wickmayer, whose summer has been disappointing.
Kvitova and Sharapova will than settle matters, where the winner should become the tournament favorite with Serena. Maria is certainly the choice based on her strong summer's run, which turn our indicators in her favor. But Petra was the winner when they played at Wimbledon this year, a place where Maria's success has exceeded even that at Flushing Meadows. My choice is Sharapova, partly because of her improved defensive and countering ability shown this summer, which should challenge Petra's capability for sustained and error-free attack.
There are several fine contenders here, but only Zvonareva seems at a potential championship level. Vera should certainly win her first three matches and then probably surmount either Lisicki or Cibulkova. Marion Bartoli, however, will be a serious problem for Vera in the final match of the quarter. Vera is in third place in our composite of the first five indicators, Marion is tenth, and Vera leads by 9-2 in head-to-head matches. The choice is Zvonareva.
Sharapova leads Zvonareva in head-to-head wins 7-3, and has won their last three meetings including a split-setter in Cincinnati 2011. They are close in our first five indicators, Maria in second place in our composite ranking behind Wozniacki, Vera third. The outcome will rest with Maria in her ability to power though with an acceptable error rate. The message points to Sharapova.
Meanwhile Serena Williams should have no trouble against Li Na, whose artillery will be blunted by Serena's superior mobility and answering fire. Serena's final-round meeting with Sharapova will be a test of extreme wills. But the outcome should not be much different. Serena has won their last six meetings, including this summer at Stanford. Serena has the serving and stroking weight to make it difficult for Maria to claim the initiative, she has the defensive skills to blunt Maria's attacking when it comes, and she has the athletic ability and consistency to outlast Maria when extended exchanges ensue. It should be Serena's fourteenth Slam conquest.
It has been a strange time here -- an earthquake yesterday, aftershocks and then heavy rains from the west today, a hurricane expected tomorrow. Probably the qualifying matches at Flushing Meadows will be thrown off schedule this weekend. But by Monday things should clear, and the millions of watchers worldwide will once again be dazzled by the greatest in men's and women's sport.
Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A.
Here are the heaviest weighted predictor tournaments used here in calculating the men's singles Sk, our first indicator. The weights are calculated from empirical results starting in 2000.
-- Indian Wells 2011, 9.83%
In the third indicator, "Elite Wins" are defined as match wins over the following "elite" players. Men: Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Ferrer, Soderling; nonclay only: Berdych, Roddick, del Potro, Tsonga, Fish; clay only: Almagro, Verdasco, Gasquet, Chela. Women: Wozniacki, Clijsters, Zvonareva, Azarenka, Stosur, Jankovic, Sharapova, Serena and Venus Williams, Henin, Li, Bartoli, Kvitova, Petkovic and (clay wins only) Schiavone.
-- U.S. Open 2010, 8.85%
-- Miami 2011, 8.62%
-- Australian Open 2011, 7.09%
-- Wimbledon 2011, 6.78%
Integrating the first five indicators numerically into a single composite ranking calls for weighting each indicator according to its past sucess as predictor. Here are the leaders if in the present exercise each of the five is given equal weight. Men: 1. Djokovic; 2. Federer; 3. Nadal; 4. Murray; 5. Fish; 6. Soderling. Women: 1. Wozniacki; 2. Sharapova; 3. Zvonareva; 4. Kvitova; 5. Li; 6. S. Williams.
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This column is copyrighted by Ray Bowers, all rights reserved.
Following interesting military and civilian careers, Ray became a regular
competitor in the senior divisions, reaching official rank of #1 in the 75
singles in the Mid-Atlantic Section for 2002. He was boys' tennis coach for four
years at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Virginia, where
the team three times reached the state Final Four. He was named Washington
Post All-Metropolitan Coach of the Year in 2003. He is now researching a history
of the early pro tennis wars, working mainly at U.S. Library of Congress. A
tentative chapter, which appeared on Tennis Server, won a second-place award
from U.S. Tennis Writers Association.
Questions and comments about these columns can be directed to Ray by using this form.