May 4, 2008

SERENA predicted to take title in Berlin!

As Serena prepares for her second clay event of the season, Ravi Ubha (, selects Serena as the last woman standing.

"Justine Henin is a three-time winner in Germany and one of the great performers of all time at this event. But as has been the case so often in the past year, Serena Williams is sitting in her quarter of the draw. Just a few weeks ago, Williams demolished the world No. 1 in Miami, 6-2, 6-0. Additionally, Henin is playing in her first clay tournament of the year, having pulled out of Charleston with a right knee injury. Can Henin circumvent a wealth of talent and win this Tier I event for the fourth time? Here's how we predict the German Open will play itself out.

First Quarter: Henin-Serena Williams, part 14

Henin bailed from the Tier 1 tourney in Charleston, S.C., last month, not wanting to risk injury to her right knee, so Berlin marks her first tournament since a crushing 6-2, 6-0 defeat to Williams in the quarterfinals of the hard-court Sony Ericsson Open more than a month ago. A friendly draw early means she can ease into the last eight.

Williams claimed the Miami title and did the same in Charleston, improving to 19-1 this season. Though potentially tricky foes await in the second and third rounds in resilient teens Alize Cornet and Agnieszka Radwanska, it's hard to pick against Williams.

Serena Williams has encountered Justine Henin in the quarterfinals of the draw the last four times they have met. Williams then would battle Henin for the 14th time. She's 1-4 against the three-time defending French Open champion on dirt, where Henin is most comfortable. Then again, Henin's campaign has been less than impressive. Prediction: Williams

SEMIFINALS: The Hard Hitters Williams and Kuznetsova are armed with two of the hardest-hitting games in women's tennis. Williams has a 4-1 edge in their head-to-head matches, and the superiority is probably greater when it comes to performing under pressure, as witnessed in Miami. Williams took the third set of their semi 6-3. Similarly Ivanovic has the mental edge over compatriot Jankovic, leading the series 5-1. Prediction: Williams, Ivanovic to advance

FINAL: To be blunt, it's hard to stop Williams when she's on a roll, so if the younger of the tennis-playing sisters is anywhere near her best, a straight-set job is on the cards. A closer look at Ivanovic's path when she reached the Australian Open and French Open final reveals a cushy draw. Confronted by the likes of Henin, Sharapova (not on a clay court) and Williams, the 20-year-old fizzles. Prediction: Serena Williams"

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