Nick's Picks is back for the US Open and we are in New York City for the entire tournament to provide live coverage! Once again, we've partnered with Tennis Week for even more coverage and you can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr!
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) vs. Anna Chakvetadze (RUS)
Zvonareva advanced easily into the second round, with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Nuria Llagostera Vives. Her best result here came back in 2004, when she reached the fourth round. Not many people are talking about this top-ten ranked player, but be careful, she is capable of beating anyone.
Chakvetadze is a former top-five ranked player, but she has fallen on hard times and is down to #68 in the world. She reached the semis at the US Open back in 2007 and has also been to the quarterfinals of both the French Open and Australian Open. The talent is certainly there, it just comes down to her mental focus.
Zvonareva is 2-0 against Chakvetadze, but the two haven't faced since 2006. Like I said up top, Chakvetadze has the talent to take down the best in the world, but she struggles to focus and hasn't played anywhere near the level she showed two years ago. Zvonareva had an injury earlier this year that kept her out of play, but she is feeling better now and looked great in the first round. Her biggest weapon is movement and tremendous foot speed. She also has a very solid serve, hits offensively, and will look to control the court. I think Chakvetadze can push her, but in the end, Zvonareva just has too many weapons for her fellow Russian.
Nick's Pick - Zvonareva in 2 sets
Venus Williams (USA) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)
The first round was a struggle for Venus, but she demonstrated why she is #3 in the world with a gritty three-set victory. She had to see the trainer a couple of times, and who knows how that will affect her moving forward. One thing is for sure: Venus will not go down without a fight!
Mattek-Sands beat a tough opponent in Iveta Benesova in the opening round 6-3, 6-4. She has never been out of the second round of the US Open, but is more than capable of doing so.
Venus is 2-0 against Mattek-Sands, with one of those wins coming earlier this year at the French Open. Mattek-Sands is flashy (make sure to check out what she is wearing), and dangerous at times. She plays big at all times and will be right there if Venus continues to make mistakes from the forehand side. Mattek-Sands is going to have to attack whenever she can to have a chance at beating Venus. I think in the end, Venus will settle down, focus, and get back to business.
Nick's Pick - V. Williams in 2 sets
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) vs. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)
Jankovic breezed by Roberta Vinci in the opening round 6-2, 6-3 and is looking to get back to the finals for the second consecutive year. She just won the title in Cincinnati and beat three top-ten opponents in Victoria Azarenka, Elena Dementieva, and Dinara Safina along the way.
Shvedova is a 21-year old from Kazakhstan who is currently ranked #55 in the world. She did reach the third round of the French Open earlier this year, but this is the first time she has ever advanced into the second round of the US Open.
Jankovic is 1-0 against Shvedova, with that win coming last year at Doha. Jankovic just spent time at the Academy before Cincinnati and she is full of confidence. I gave her a little tip on her backhand when she was down and I told her that she had a double pump on the backhand which was causing her to lose that solid foundation. She has fixed that now and her backhand is looking fantastic once again. The other thing I have noticed with Jankovic is that she is very happy. When Jelena is happy and has confidence, she is extremely difficult to beat. Shvedova will have to take chances in this match and try to keep Jankovic off-balance. I don't see that happening and I like Jankovic to move through.
Nick's Pick - Jankovic in 2 sets
Elena Dementieva (RUS) vs. Melanie Oudin (USA)
Dementieva looked great in her first round victory over Camille Pin, winning 6-1, 6-2. Many of the experts are picking her as the winner, and I think she has an excellent chance of winning her first Grand Slam right now. She was a finalist here in 2004, and certainly has the talent to beat anyone.
Oudin is one of the young American women that people are talking about. She surprised everyone by reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon and upsetting Jelena Jankovic in the process. In 2007, as a junior she won 27 consecutive matches and four straight tournaments!
This is the first career match between Oudin and Dementieva, and promises to be one of the more intriguing matches of the day. Oudin's game is predicated on movement and getting the extra ball. She is quick and has very solid groundstrokes. She is small (5'6â), but she gets a whole lot of power out of that petite frame. She will definitely attack Dementieva whenever she can, but she doesn't have the big weapon to hurt the Russian. Right now, I feel Dementieva has the best groundstrokes on the tour. She is so consistent, hits with depth, and keeps her opponents on the defensive. Her serve has improved and her movement is world class. Oudin must try and break Dementieva down mentally, because if there has been any problems in Dementieva's game it has been her mental focus. If Oudin can do this, then she will have a chance. Don't be surprised to see this match go three sets, but in the end you have to go with the experience of Dementieva.
Nick's Pick - Dementieva in 3 sets