Women’s Singles – Round 4
Lindsay Davenport (USA) vs. Dinara Safina (RUS)
Davenport proved once again why she is back on the WTA Tour. She got what may have been the biggest win since her return last year, when she defeated the second-ranked player in the world, Ana Ivanovic, 6-2, 6-4 in the third round. Davenport has never won this title, and I am sure she would love to add this trophy to her mantle.
Safina struggled early against Sybille Bammer in the third round, but then dominated the match winning it 4-6, 6-1, 6-0. Safina got to the fourth round here last year before losing to Nadia Petrova in three sets.
Davenport is 2-0 against Safina, but the two haven’t faced since 2005. After losing to Davenport in the third round, Ana Ivanovic said that it was Davenport’s great return of serve that was the difference in the match. I think that will play a big role in this match as well. Both girls hit big, and serve bombs. Davenport just does everything a little bigger and better. We will have to see if her back holds up, because last week at Indian Wells it didn’t. If Davenport plays her game, and she is feeling good she will win this match.
Nick’s Pick – Davenport in 2 sets
Sabine Lisicki (GER) vs. Elena Dementieva (RUS)
Lisicki continues to impress me, day-in and day-out. The 18-year old Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy student pulled off a huge upset in the third round, defeating the fifth-seeded Anna Chakvetadze in straight sets.
Dementieva needed three sets to get by Dominika Cibulkova in the third round. Dementieva has had good success here in the past, reaching the finals in 2004 and the semis in 2001.
Lisicki may have been nervous at the beginning of her match against Chakvetadze, but those nerves certainly didn’t last that long. Once Lisicki’s powerful serves and booming groundstrokes started going in, the match belonged to her. Also, Chakvetadze lost her temper and she let her emotions get the best of her. I don’t think that will happen to Dementieva.
We all know about Dementieva’s super-sonic serve (ha ha), but really, once the serve gets in play she has some of the best groundies on the WTA Tour. She moves extremely well, and has a great foundation. This is going to be a close match, but in the end I think Lisicki is primed for another upset!!
Nick’s Pick – Lisicki in 3 tough sets
Here are some quick thoughts on the other fourth round matches:
Justine Henin (BEL) vs. Elena Vesnina (RUS) – Henin rolled through the third round, and I don’t see any reason why that will change here. She is 2-0 against Vesnina, and has yet to lose a set to her. The one thing Henin can’t do is look forward to a possible quarterfinal match against Serena.
Kaia Kanepi (EST) vs. Serena Williams (USA) – Kanepi looked good in the third round, blasting #11 Patty Schnyder 6-0, 6-1. Williams can’t start slow, because Kanepi will pounce. I don’t think that is going to happen though. Williams is focused and ready to go, and when that is the case, watch out!
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) vs. Shahar Peer (ISR) – These two have met four times, with each player winning two of those matches. Peer has won the last two, including a fourth round victory over her in Miami last year. I am sure Kuznetsova hasn’t forgotten about that. Peer defeated Michelle Larcher de Brito in the third round, but Kuznetsova has a great lower foundation and she is going to get more balls back than Larcher de Brito. I like the way both girls are playing, but I am giving the edge to Kuznetsova in this match.
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. Venus Williams (USA) – Wozniacki is a very talented youngster who is darn good. She moves well, can change the pace, and has a nice serve. Williams has already played her three times (all in 2007), and she won all of those matches. I don’t think she will look past her here. Williams is the pick.
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) vs. Jie Zheng (CHN) – Jankovic has been ranked in the top five for some time now, but she has yet to really break through and win a big tournament. If she could claim this title that would definitely qualify as a big win. Zheng is part of a Chinese contingent of solid players, and with the Olympics in Beijing later this year I am sure they will be looking for good results. Jankovic is 2-1 against Zheng, and I think she will move on to the quarters.
Ai Sugiyama (JPN) vs. Vera Zvonareva (RUS) – Sugiyama doesn’t make many mistakes, and she is great from the baseline. She won’t come into the net very much, but don’t think she isn’t comfortable there. Zvonareva is 1-2 against Sugiyama, including a loss to her earlier this year at the Aussie Open. I am going to go with youth over experience here, and pick Zvonareva.