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Miami Preview

by J.M.

After a disappointing month, Myskina now moves on to the Sarasota tournament where she again has a strong chance to move into the top 10 for the second time in her career! She is the 2nd seed of the tournament, behind top seed and defending champion, Jelena Dokic. She has a pretty tough draw but after a relatively good season on clay last year, plus her experience as a result of last year’s hard work, she should make it to the final and even win the tournament, depending how the seeds pan out.

1ST Round- Loit

Emelie Loit seems to be having all the bad luck when it comes to draws, as she often has to play a top seed in the earlier rounds, such as at the Australian Open and Paris. Regardless of this, she is a typical French clay courter, which means she uses slice and heavy moonball shots, and subsequently knows the surface very well. This was evident last year when she qualified for Acapulco and made the quarterfinals (after defeating the number 5th seed, Conchita Martinez, in the process), as well as making the 3rd round at the French Open! Since then, her ranking has improved so she could give Myskina a tight match. However, since the Australian Open where she nearly pulled off the biggest upset in grand slam history after stretching Serena Williams to three sets, she has only won a few matches so her confidence levels may not be peaking.

Myskina and Loit have never played before but Anastasia should be able to handle her opponent’s style of play and prevail in two tight sets or even a three setter, seeing as though this is her first clay match of the season!

2nd Round…

Unfortunately, Myskina could have a very tough second round opponent. She would either have to play Elena Likhovtseva of Russia, or a qualifier, who could be a player such as Alicia Molik and Nadia Petrova:

·        Likhovtseva: has made the 3rd round at Indian Wells at Miami; made the final at Doha before being defeated by Anastasia in straight sets; last year made the 3rd round of the French Open and at other clay tournaments suffered early round exits to top seeds. Myskina should win in two tough sets.

·        Molik/Petrova: these are just two possible qualifiers that could be troublesome for Myskina if they were placed in her side of the draw if they qualified. Both players have huge serves and could produce the upset of the tournament if Anastasia is not on her guard!

QF- One step further???

Last year, Myskina fell to number 2 seed, Meghannn Shaughnessy, 6-3 6-7 4-6. This year, she will be hungry to improve on that appearance by going one stop further by reaching the semi-finals. The following two players are possible opponents:

·        Mary Pierce: solid player on clay who won the French Open amongst many other titles; she was injured for most of 2001 but stormed back in the French Open where she made the quarterfinals; the last tournament she played was in Doha a couple of months ago where she lost to Myskina 5-7 4-6. Pierce isn’t a player known for her fitness but rather someone who always goes for the winners, so Myskina should try some dropshots and crosscourt rallies to win the match.

·        Elena Dementieva: the 7th seed here at Sarasota; she is still struggling to find her form that led her to be a top 10 player; she can play on clay as is evident through her 4th round appearance at the French Open last year, and her quarterfinal appearance at Amelia Island. A three setter is likely between these two!

Semis-time to capitalize!

If Anastasia were to progress to this stage of the tournament, she could easily win her semi-final match with her newfound confidence levels and move into the final. Patty Schnyder could stop her, however, with her topspin shots that penetrate deep into the court. After all, she did defeat three top ten players last year at Charleston, including Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati, which is a top clay court event. If she won’t stretch her, maybe France’s Nathalie Dechy will…this woman has had the year of her life- she won Gold Coast, made the QF at Scottsdale and Antwerp respectively, and in the last month, put in solid results at Indian Wells and Miami. As a French person, she loves the clay courts and knows how to play on them. Myskina must be hitting her groundstrokes with fierce accuracy to prevail in this possible match up.

Finals-Dokic???

It is very likely that Myskina will play Jelena Dokic in the final, assuming both the top seeds make it this far! Dokic is the defending champion here and did not lose a set last year. Although Jelena has had a poor start to the year, her game finally came into play when she made the quarterfinals at Miami last week, which is regarded as the 5th grand slam. When she’s hot, she’s hot! Dokic loves the clay season and it was at the Rome tournament in 2001 in which she proved to the WTA tour her tennis capability when she won the prestigious Tier 1 event. She also made the quarterfinals of the French Open last year, before bowing out in three sets to Capriati.

On the other hand, it was in Rome last year in which Anastasia pulled through against Dokic when she defeated her 5-7 6-4 6-3. She had also stretched Dokic the week before in Hamburg to three sets before losing. Their full head-to-head record is as follows:

1

Los Angeles

Nov 10 2002

J Dokic(8) - A Myskina

6-3 6-4

SF

Bahia

Sep 15 2002

A Myskina(3) - J Dokic(1)

6-2 6-4

3

San Diego

Aug 4 2002

J Dokic(6) - A Myskina(9)

6-4 6-3

F

Birmingham

June 16 2002

J Dokic(1) - A Myskina(6)

6-2 6-3

3

Rome

May 19 2002

A Myskina - J Dokic(6)

5-7 6-4 6-3

1

Hamburg

May 5 2002

J Dokic(5) - A Myskina

6-3 0-6 6-2

As you can see, most of their matches have been quite tight so expect a thrilling final with lots of rallies and winners.

Other players that could progress to the final on the top half, if Dokic fell unexpectedly early, could include Conchita Martinez, Ai Sugiyama, Anna Kournikova, or Iroda Tulyaganova.

Predictions:

1st round: Myskina d. Loit in 2 sets

2nd round: Myskina d. Molik in 3 set 

QF: Myskina d. Dementieva in 3 sets

SF: Molik d. Schnyder in 2 sets

Final: Dokic d. Myskina in 3 sets.

Good luck Anastasia and enjoy the tennis!

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.