Predictions: Who got it right?

By
Updated: September 9, 2012
After two weeks of matches and a day’s delay from Mother Nature, the book has closed on the 2012 U.S. Open. The tennis media has plenty to say about how Serena Williams made her championship run. But enough analyzing the players; What the media itself? How did some of the game’s top writers and announcers do when playing Nostradamus prior to the start of the Open? Let’s take a look back at the pre-Open picks and see who aced their prognostications – and who could use a better crystal ball:
ESPN
ESPN.com provided the Costco-sized bucket of pre-Open predictions, with 12 analysts and writers offering their “expert picks” on the women’s draw. All but two of them had Serena winning the event. The pair of iconoclasts who picked differently were Ravi Ubha, who had Victoria Azarenka (so close!), and Kamakshi Tandon, who had Marion Bartoli — who bowed out in the fourth round, losing the last two sets of a two-day quarterfinal to Maria Sharapova 2 and 0).
ESPN.com’s experts also served up sleeper picks, many of which were used on Venus Williams; Venus, of course, was bounced in the second round by Angelique Kerber. Chris Evert had a nice sleeper pick in Ana Ivanovic, who made a run to the quarters before getting pancaked by Serena. Mary Joe Fernandez’ sleeper choice of Kim Clijsters was a snoozer, as the former champ entered retirement after a second round loss to Laura Robson.
GRADE: B+
Sports Illustrated:
There was consensus from the SI.com pickers’ panel of Jon Wertheim, Bruce Jenkins, Courtney Nguyen, Brian Armen Graham and Elizabeth Newman: Everyone picked Serena, with overarching caveat of “only Serena can beat Serena.” In the end, they were all correct, as Serena’s second-set self-defeat in the finals was her only real hiccup of the Open.
For dark horses, Jenkins had Sloane Stephens getting to the fourth round as part of an “awakening” at this year’s Open. Stephens didn’t quite rise and shine, losing to Ana Ivanovic in third round. Nguyen had Na Li as a dark horse on the strength of winning in Cincinnati, but Li was ousted in the third round by Robson. But, credit where credit is due, Nguyen did call the relatively early exits of Agnieszka Radwanska and Sam Stosur.
GRADE: B
Peter Bodo, Richard Pagliaro and Stephen Tignor all picked Serena, with Ed McGrogan the only Serena dissenter; He picked Petra Kvitova, who was bounced in the fourth round.
The quartet also chose dark horses, and most of them stayed dark. McGrogan did well to choose Nadia Petrova, who made it to the fourth round before losing to Sharapova in three sets. But Pagliaro’s pick of Mona Barthel was booted in the first round by even darker horse Bojana Jovanovski.
GRADE: B-
Bleacher Report:
Patrick Clarke did the guessing game for BR, and he was almost spot-on. He called Sharapova getting stymied in the semis by Azarenka, and the Williams-Azarenka finals. But he had a “rejuvenated” Azarenka toppling Serena, who wouldn’t be able to hold up after “two weeks of grueling tennis.” Serena’s cakewalk wins in the middle of the tourney must not have been so trying after all.
GRADE: A-
Don Jozwiak still has his beloved Prince Spectrum racquet from high school, but not his Pat Cash-inspired mullet. Don is an award-winning sports writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience covering tennis and most other ball-and-stick games. He lives in Farmington Hills, Mich., with his wife, Rebecca, and their tennis-playing children, Sophia and Jackson. You can follow Don on Twitter (@djoz) or catch up with him on his personal blog (donjoz.posterous.com).

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