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Tenaciously Tennis


WTA Future Weigh-In

The action has been fierce on the WTA tour with Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova both coming off recent wins in Dubai and Memphis, respectively, Shahar Peer stunning the tennis and political worlds into an inspired semifinal run, and China’s Na Li making a big statement about her future before faltering in Malaysia. If the drama and intensity continues as it has so far, this year will be prove to be one of the most exciting yet.

First, Venus’ exceptional play. By beating Victoria Azarenka and claiming Dubai, Venus shows she still has the desire and ability necessary to take home the big trophies. Maybe not Wimbledon, but her win in Dubai over Azarenka proves that Venus is still very competitive at the top of the game. Look to see the older Williams sister keep claiming those smaller titles. Are majors out of the question? I see a typical, weak run at the French, but a strong showing on her home turf at Wimbledon during the summer.

Sharapova, who shocked many with her first round loss at the Australian Open, came back in her first match since then to claim her first title of the season and claim the 13th ranking. Sharapova did not drop a set, including in her lopsided final against the unseeded Sofia Arvidsson. With play like that, Sharapova could be a real contender at the French Open. If the confidence is high and the serve strikes true, look to see Sharapova not only match, but improve upon last year’s surprise quarterfinal run at the French. Indian Wells should be a promising tournament, too.

Next on the list: Shahar Peer. TENNIS.com’s Steve Tignor does the situation justice with an interesting interview of Peer’s coach, Pablo Giacopelli. Hopefully, Peer can keep the confidence going and continue to shine through the season.

Finally, Na Li’s desire to become number one looked like it had merit as she fought to the semifinals of the Sunny Slam. However, this looked much tougher after some uninspired play in the first round at the Malaysian Open with her 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 loss to Tatjana Malek of Germany. It looks like the pressure might be getting to Li. While she has the skill to remain a top-ten player, I predict she continues to succumb to her nerves in the coming months

Conclusion: Venus and Sharapova remain dominant forces, while Peer and Li are question marks going into the spring and summer season.

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