Serena would be an ideal fit in Pat Summitt's Tennessee program

With the Final Four of women's college basketball and the Sony Ericsson Open going on simultaneously, we decided to join them.

Originally Published: April 2, 2008
By Bonnie D. Ford |

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Once again, the Sony Ericsson Open conflicts with the NCAA Final Four, so we figured if you can't beat 'em, copy 'em. Here are capsules for the women's bracket, where Serena Williams is probably the closest thing to a slam dunk.

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Player, country and seed: Serena Williams, United States (8)
Listed at: 5-9
Coach: Oracene Price and Richard Williams
2008 record: 12-1, 1 title (Bangalore, India)
Road to the Miami Final Four: d. Edina Gallovits (unseeded), Flavia Pennetta (27), Kaia Kanepi (unseeded), Justine Henin (1).
Semifinal outlook: Williams clearly has confidence, fitness and confidence in her fitness -- when a reporter asked her the last time she was in such good shape, she responded "1982,'' when she would have been a year old. She's won four titles here and the wind and humidity that confound other players don't bother her even when she's not playing perfect ball.
Most likely to be recruited by: Tennessee
Why? Defending champion in this event; "Orange Crush" nickname is a natural fit; Pat Summitt tough enough to be an honorary Williams sister.

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Player, country and seed: Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia (3)
Listed at: 5-8
Coach:: Stefan Ortega
2008 record: 18-5
Road to the Miami Final Four: d. Yung-Jan Chan (unseeded), Victoria Azarenka (25), Sharar Peer (16), Venus Williams (6).
Semifinal outlook: Kuznetsova will have to buck her recent history of going deep in tournaments only to play her most uninspired tennis in the biggest matches -- she's lost three finals this season. She and Williams split their two matches last year.
Most likely to be recruited by: Connecticut
Why? Past champion in this event; won nearby New Haven tournament last year; used to cold winters; earthy sense of humor would go over big with The Horde, the large and hungry press corps that follows the team.

Jelena Jankovic
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Player, country and seed: Jelena Jankovic, Serbia (4)
Listed at: 5-9
Coach:: Currently without one
2008 record: 19-6
Road to the Miami Final Four: d. Sofia Arvidsson (unseeded), Lucie Safarova (unseeded), Jie Zheng (unseeded), Elena Dementieva (10).
Semifinal outlook: Perhaps because of her workhorse schedule, Jankovic often tends to make early, easy matches look hard and vice versa. She'd be well-served not to dig herself the kind of hole she fell into here against second-round opponent Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden, where she had to save five match points.
Most likely to be recruited by: Stanford
Why? Laid-back intellectual vibe combined with taste for luxury cars and clothing; appeared at tournament players' party wearing dress made of cell phone components, perfect for Silicon Valley corporate events.

Vera Zvonareva
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Player, country and seed: Vera Zvonareva, Russia (19)
Listed at: 5-7 3/4
Coach:: Samuel Sumyk
2008 record: 20-5
Road to the Miami Final Four: d. Ekaterina Bychova (qualifier), Alisa Kleybanova (qualifier), Ai Sugiyama (unseeded), Dinara Safina (13).
Semifinal outlook: If Jankovic isn't focused and energetic right from the start, Zvonareva needs to pounce, as she did in their most recent match, the 2007 final in Auckland. That wound up going Jankovic's way in a tough three-setter.
Most likely to be recruited by: Louisiana State University
Why? Looking for first title in the event; fight back from wrist injury requires ferocity of Bayou Bengal; last name has a zydeco ring to it.

Bonnie D. Ford covers tennis and Olympic sports for She can be reached at

Bonnie D. Ford

Enterprise and Olympic Sports
Bonnie D. Ford is a senior writer for