Tennis Expert Picks - US Open
Editor's note: In selecting our picks, the "toughest road" must be by a player currently seeded in the top eight, and a "sleeper" is someone seeded 20th or lower.
On a certain level -- the tennis side of things -- it makes a good deal of sense.
Pam Shriver won 20 Grand Slam doubles titles, the second-highest total in the Open era after her partner, Martina Navratilova, who won 31. That's the most on our talented staff of expert prognosticators, although Chris Evert's 18 major singles titles -- tied with Navratilova for second in the Open era behind Steffi Graf's 22 -- is more than impressive.
Shriver has a nose for this game, and, with one Grand Slam left to play in 2013, she is in control of her own destiny with nine correct -- out of 18 categories at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. That's a .500 batting average, way better than anything you're getting out of Miguel Cabrera.
Turns out, Shriver is, well, competitive.
"At the end of last year, when I realized how our picks were being tracked -- and a winner was declared, Brad Gilbert," Shriver said recently from her California home. "I made a very conscious decision to pay more attention to my picks with respect to how the draw fell. I also decided to make fewer brave choices and go more with the percentages."
She made her move in France, correctly picking four of six categories, then consolidated her lead with two more wins (Andy Murray as winner and Tommy Haas as sleeper) in a wildly unpredictable fortnight at the All England Club.
Venerable Cliff Drysdale, the recently enshrined Hall of Famer and a former champion in this competition, is again proving to be formidable, sitting alone in second place with eight, followed by a five-way tie for third.
"I'm probably going to jinx myself and choke just by talking about this," Shriver said. "But I'll sit down with the draw at the US Open and try and stick with what's been working -- who has the tough draw, who has the easier ones. Making sensible picks.
"I know one of the girls can win this thing. Go, Shriver. Go, girls."