Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What the first week of the season has shown us


I know, we're already a few days into the second--and even more when you consider Australian time--but what happened last week could have some repercussions on the weeks and months ahead. Plus, this is my favorite post to post of the year, and has been for the past few seasons! Anyway, here's a look back with some thoughts going forward:

* Andy Murray means business. Sure, he started off the week slow but by the time the end started rolling around in Brisbane, Murray was in fine form. Barring injury, this could be his year for a Slam.

* Watch out for Kaia Kanepi. Folks, I have her down as my hole-puncher for the upcoming Australian. She's going to take out a top-eight seed on the way to the quarters or even the semis. If it's not in Melbourne, it'll be at one of the Slams this year.

* Injuries, injuries, injuries! The walking wounded that piled up last week was ridiculous! I hope it's not a sign of things to come.

* Oh yeah, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga means business, too. I think all of the ATP's "Big 4" have some signs of vulnerability right now. If there's someone to take advantage, it would have to be the Frenchman.

* What's up with the Americans? Ummm, wow: Between both tours, players from the U.S. went a combined 4-6, and two of those wins came from Serena Williams. The Hopman Cup was a disaster, too. Not exactly a great start to the year, but the season is long; someone should break through.

* Milos Raonic will go far. With that serve and the game to back it up, Raonic could be in the top 10 by the end of the year. What's troubling, though, is the injury that slowed him last year. Here's hoping he stays healthy.

* Flavia Pennetta could have a breakthrough. Granted the field in Auckland was devoid of top-10 players, but Pennetta did well to make the singles final there. She had to retire due to injury, but I was wondering... she made the doubles final there, too. If she didn't play so much, would she be a consistent top-10 threat? That'll be something to look out for in the weeks and months ahead.

(Photo: AP)

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