Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Thinnin' out the herd: Womens quarterfinal preview

Everything appears to be holding to form in the women's draw of the U.S. Open, which means anything goes. Maria Sharapova, for example, now has more time to test out that PowerShot camera. Also, I wonder if she can wear that night dress of hers out clubbing.
Sharapova isn't the only high seed missing from the quarterfinals. Ana Ivanovic and Nadia Petrova also bowed out early. But what we have left is lots of potential: Another Serena/Henin quarterfinal clash, Venus/Jankovic, and a possible all-Williams semifinal. (The fans of pretty tennis must cringe at this.)
A closer look at the womens quarterfinals:

Justine Henin v. Serena Williams: This is the third straight Grand Slam quarterfinal meeting between these two, and the numbers don't look good for Serena. Henin dominated in Paris and eked out a win at Wimbledon. Justine has been steamrolling through the draw, and Serena has looked a bit streaky. Can she raise her game for the big match? By now, we should know the answer is "Heck yes!" Serena in three.
Jelena Jankovic v. Venus Williams: You know, this is one messed-up draw. But I guess that's what happens when you give Sharapova her own half. Anyway, Jankovic has edged Venus the last three times they've played, including Wimbledon last year. But Venus is looking good so far at the Open. She raised her level against Ivanovic, and I think she can do the same against Jankovic, whose weak serve is starting to catch up with her. Venus in straights.
Agnes Szavay v. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Who didn't see Szavay in the quarterfinals? The 18-year-old is having one heck of a Slam. Maybe she'll swing by the food bar and grab a burger. Seriously, the Hungarian seems to be putting her game together this summer, winning her first title and making the New Haven final. I'd give Szavay a fair shot against Kuznetsova, even though she lost to the Russian in that New Haven final. However, Kuznetsova's been here before and her experience should get her through. Kuznetsova in two tight sets.
Anna Chakvetadze v. Shahar Peer: This might be the hardest one to call, just because one of these 20-year-olds will get a shot at a Grand Slam semifinal, which would be a first for both. Both have solid ground games, but Peer seems to be a slightly steadier player, while Chakvetadze can spray a few untimely unforced errors. This is going three, and it'll be entertaining. Edge to Chakvetadze, who's been on a roll this summer.

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