Serena looking ominous for US Open


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As anyone who watched any coverage of WTA
Stanford last week will know, Serena Williams is well and truly back.

Technically she returned at Eastbourne in June, but that wasn't really Serena. The
Serena we all know, the Serena we are used to seeing, didn't even turn up at Wimbledon - although her battling performance was pretty

But the former world number one is back on form now, wiping the floor with any
opponent put in front of her last week including Wimbledon
finalist Maria Sharapova and the woman who beat her at SW19, Marion Bartoli.

It's beginning to look like the only
thing that can beat Serena at the US Open is the draw.

Although the win in Stanford suggested
Serena is back to her best, it only moved her back up to 79 in the world.

Between now and the US Open there are
another five tournaments, although two of those are in the same week, so it's
only possible for Serena to play four at the most; Carlsbad this week, the
Rogers Cup in Toronto beginning on August 8, Cincinnati beginning August 15 and
New Haven beginning on August 21.

Given that the American
is not playing in Carlsbad,
that leaves her with three possible tournaments.

Even if she plays all three and wins them
she can only pick up a grand total of 2270 points, which based on this week's rankings
would leave her ranked 10th in the world - although it is highly unlikely that
Serena will play three tournaments in three weeks leading up to Flushing Meadows
and that all of her rivals will fail to pick up any points in that time.

Therefore, Serena, if she is seeded at
all, will likely be a low seed and could be unlucky enough to be landed with a
tough draw.

Obviously this has been scant deterrent
to Serena in the past and might still prove nothing for her to worry about.

But at the same time, her injuries in the
past have never been as serious as the cut foot and pulmonary embolism that
kept her out for almost 12 months.

And she is older than before, obviously,
meaning her recovery is slower and it takes longer to work her way back to full

If Serena is pushed to three sets in each
of her early rounds will she have enough left in the tank when the going gets
even tougher in the latter stages of the tournament?

That said, the only person to take a set
off Serena in Stanford was Maria Kirilenko in the second round.

With in-form players Sharapova and Bartoli being so comprehensively beaten by the American last week, it is
looking more and more likely that it will take an outstanding performance by
someone unexpected, or a great fortnight by returning world number two Kim
Clijsters, unbeaten at Flushing Meadows since 2004, to stop Serena.



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