|Venus Williams practicing her serve.|
Most notably, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, the two top ranked women in the world, are absent from Cincinnati. Additionally, No. 10 seed Ana Ivanovic was forced to pull out of the tournament with an injury to her right foot.
On the plus side, all the remaining players seeded in the top 10 have advanced to the round of 16, with the exception of France's Marion Bartoli who was defeated in her opening match by Johanna Larrson of Sweden.
Fresh from her Olympic gold medal victory in London, Serena Williams opened her campaign with a straight sets win and has to be considered the favorite at this point. Several other women could present challenges to Williams though, including older sister Venus and top-seeded Aggie Radwanska of Poland.
Incidentally, Aggie Radwanska's sister Ursula is also a professional women's tennis player - and interestingly, Ursula has also made the round of 16. Unfortunately for Ursula, her next opponent is Serena, so it is unlikely that she'll advance and it won't be possible for both sets of sisters to make the final eight.
One final name to note in the women's field is Sloane Stephens, a young American hopeful who has been climbing the rankings and whose first two showings in Cincinnati have been impressive.
Okay, on with the photos!
|Serena looks intense even during her practice session.|
|Sam Stosur (Australia) - 2011 U.S. Open champ.|
|Venus Williams shows off the wingspan.|
|Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber - 2011 U.S. Open Doubles champs.|
|Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) - practicing her volley.|
|Sloane Stephens (U.S.) charging hard up the rankings.|
|Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) - former world #1.|
|Caroline W's famous boyfriend and|
world #1 golfer, Rory McIlroy.