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Indian Wells Preview

by J.M.

With a current win/loss record of 11-3, Anastasia Myskina now heads to one of the richest tournaments of the year, besides the Grand Slams, at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California. She has recently taken a couple of weeks off after her quarterfinal appearance at Dubai, which is not a bad idea considering the last time she had a small break, she came back in tremendous form when she won in Doha without dropping a set! That aside, this Tier 1 tournament is one where many dreams tend to come true, such as with Daniela Hantuchova winning this event last year, and when Myskina will be given a chance to continue her fantastic performances as of late.

Unlike other big tournaments, including grand slams, the Pacific Life Open is unusual in that there are thirty-two (32) seeds that are all given first-round byes. Subsequently, Myskina will be given a first round bye because she is the 7th seed here. This will allow her to get more practice in and adjust to the conditions and atmosphere of the tournament. Last year, she put in a solid performance but was unfortunately defeated in three tough sets by eventual semi-finalist, Emmanuelle Gagliardi. In that match, it was only the tiebreakers that decided who would progress to the quarterfinals and if Myskina had won it, she could have indeed beaten Smashnova and Hantuchova to move into the finals. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise then, as she now only has to defend 4th round points that could easily be accomplished by a player of Myskina’s talent!

As the 7th seed, Myskina is situated on the bottom half of the draw with the following seeded players in her quarter:

Iva Majoli (28th)

Meghannn Shaughnessy (23rd)

Eleni Daniilidou (12th)

Elena Dementieva (14th)

Alexandra Stevenson (22nd)

Laura Granville (30th)

Jennifer Capriati (2nd)

Her second round opponent has already been decided in another big-hitting Russian and experienced doubles player, Svetlana Kuznetsova, who evidently won her first round match against a qualifier in straight sets yesterday. Although she has only won two matches this year, she has demonstrated her talent in a few of her matches against the likes of players such as Venus Williams and Elena Bovina before being outlasted in both matches. Myskina and Kuznetsova have never played before, although they must have some idea of each other’s games considering they are both Russian and have possibly practiced together at a younger age. Myskina is not prone to being upset by players ranked below her, yet she could have her hands full in the 2nd round if she is “rusty” or does not perform to the best of her ability if the power from Kuznetsova becomes the decisive factor in the match’s result.

3rd round possible matches:

Myskina vs. Poutchek

Myskina vs. Zvonareva

Myskina vs. Majoli (28th)

 

Assuming Myskina reaches the 3rd round, her draw is pretty open. Poutchek and Zvonareva have never played Myskina before so if either player were to defeat Majoli in the 2nd round, they should pose no threat to Myskina’s game and experience. In particular, if Zvonareva were to play Myskina, Anastasia should ultimately be able to win because Vera has unfortunately “choked” in many important matches against high-class players like Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams. As the highest ranked player in her small division, Myskina should ultimately have no choice in defending her points from last year and if she were to meet Majoli, as the seedings imply, their head-to-head record of 2-0 in Myskina’s favour suggests she can defeat the Croatian and progress to the 4th round.

Likely 4th round matches:

 

Meghannn Shaughnessy (23rd)

This American has suddenly regained the form that allowed her to reach the number 10/11 position by defeating many top 10 players, including V. Williams. She has reached the Australian Open quarterfinals, won Canberra and last week in Scottsdale defeated world number 9, Jelena Dokic, in convincing fashion. Could be a very dangerous opponent as she has a 2-1 head-to-head record against Myskina, winning their last encounter in Moscow late last year.

Eleni Daniilidou (12th)

Currently a top 15 player, Daniilidou has had a comfortable start to the year and last week reached the quarterfinals of Scottsdale before going out to eventual champion Ai Sugiyama in straight sets. Her big weakness is her backhand so Myskina should be able to overpower her and get the short ball and hit the winner. Last week Sugiyama commented on how “stupid” she was to constantly hit the ball to Daniilidou’s forehand when she was down 2-5 in the second set and by changing tactics, she recovered to win the next five games and win the match as a result.

Quarterfinal vs. Capriati???? Is it Possible????

Realistically, Myskina has a great chance to move into the semi-finals of this event considering many higher ranked players she has the capability to defeat and also many other players are likely to be upset along the way. For example, Alexandra Stevenson, who was a semi-finalist last week in Scottsdale, is prone to losing to players ranked well below her because she often goes for low-percentage shots. However, if she did make it to the 4th round and had to play Capriati, she would probably win because for some strange reason, she always does! Elena Dementieva, former top 10 player, has slid down the rankings since deciding on playing as many doubles and singles tournaments as possible. The likelihood is, nonetheless, that Capriati will move through the first few rounds easily, Stevenson will fall early and Myskina will have to play Capriati in a fantastic quarterfinal match up. Their head-to-head record is as follows:

QF

Charleston

Apr 21 2002

J Capriati (1) - A Myskina

6-0 7-5

3

Key Bisc.

Mar 24 2002

J Capriati (1) - A Myskina (32)

3-6 7-5 6-2

As is evident, Myskina gave Capriati quite a fright in Key Biscayne 2002, which begins in two weeks, before falling in three sets. Again, Capriati was stretched by the Russian in Charleston in the second set where, if she had won that set, she probably would have won the match as Myskina doesn’t mind a comeback match, as was evident in Australia earlier in the year. This meeting, however, can be dismissed as a determining factor in predicting who will win or not as it was played on clay whereas Indian Wells is a traditional hardcourt tournament.

Semi-Finalist???? We’ll see!

If Myskina is having the time of her life, she has a great opportunity to move into the semi-finals where she could be playing many people such as Lindsay Davenport (4th), Amelie Mauresmo (5th), Patty Schnyder (9th) or Elena Bovina (13th). Bovina could stretch Davenport or even beat her if they both progress to the 4th round. Mauresmo, who is injured, could easily fall to lower ranked players due to her injury so it is unpredictable as to who will reach the semis or even the finals. Either way, the way Anastasia has been playing and the fact that she has beaten/stretched many top ten players including Williams, Clijsters, Dokic, Henin-Hardenne, Capriati and Hantuchova surely proves that she will be back in the top 10 in no time at all!

Predictions:

2nd Round: Myskina defeats Kuznetsova in 2

3rd Round: Myskina defeats Zvonareva in 2

4th Round: Myskina defeats Shaughnessy in 3

Quarterfinals: Myskina defeats Capriati in 2

Semi-Finals: Davenport defeats Myskina in 2

GOOD LUCK ANASTASIA!

Myskina.com was created and is maintaned by Pierre Cantin and may not be reproduced in any form without my written consent. If ever you find material here which you beleive is yours and would like either to get credit for it or simply for me to put it down, please e-mail me.