2010 US Open – Nick’s Pick – Women’s Singles Quarterfinals
Venus Williams (USA) vs. Francesca Schiavone (ITA)
Schiavone is making her second appearance in the quarters of the US Open, but it has been some time. She last reached this round back in 2003, but this has been the best year of her life on the tour and she proved to everyone earlier this year she has the goods to win a Grand Slam. She’s blown through her draw so far, but this will definitely be her biggest test yet.
Just when it looked like Venus was going to need three sets to beat Shahar Peer in the fourth round, she elevated her game and won 7-6(3), 6-3. It’s amazing to think how long it’s been since Venus won this tournament (2001), but I think she has a great chance this year to end that drought.
Venus is 7-0 against Schiavone and has already beaten her twice this year (Australian Open and Madrid). This is going to be a very entertaining match – it’s like David vs. Goliath! Schiavone brings an all-court aggressive style to the match and she does it with plenty of spirit and desire. She will get lots of balls back and she won’t give anything away easily. If Venus stays back at the baseline, Schiavone will give her one heck of a match. Venus needs to come forward and press the issue, forcing Schiavone to try and pass her. I think this will go three sets, and I have to give a slight edge to Venus because she just does everything so well.
Nick’s Pick – V. Williams in 3 sets
Sam Stosur (AUS) vs. Kim Clijsters (BEL)
Stosur won an incredible match over Elena Dementieva in the fourth round, staving off four match points and finishing at 1:37am (the latest ever for a women’s match at the US Open). This is the first time she has ever been to the quarters of the US Open and only the third time in her career at any Grand Slam.
Clijsters has lost a total of 14 games in four rounds, including a big win over the resurgent Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round. There is no one more comfortable on these hard courts than Kimmy and the last time she entered this tournament and didn’t win it was in 2003.
Clijsters is 3-0 against Stosur and beat her earlier this year in the quarterfinals at Miami. Stosur survived a thriller against Dementieva and she now has another very tough match against Clijsters. Both girls have big weapons and move well. Stosur’s serve is bigger, but I feel Clijsters can negate Stosur’s kick serve a bit and then once the rally begins the edge goes to Clijsters. For Stosur to win, she is going to have to come forward more than she probably wants to do and use those great doubles skills to win some easy points. She cannot beat Clijsters from the baseline because of how well Clijsters covers the court and her ability to change defense into offense so quickly. This is going to be a close match, but I have to give a slight edge to Clijsters. Don’t miss this one!
Nick’s Pick – Clijsters in 3 sets
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)
Wozniacki played some of the best tennis I have seen thus far in 2010 on the WTA Tour with her straight set victory over Maria Sharapova in the fourth round. Both women were playing at an extremely high level and if there was any doubt as to why Wozniacki is the #1 seed, she showed that she has the talent, moxy and determination to win this title.
Cibulkova surprised me with her straight set win over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round and is into the quarters of a Grand Slam for just the second time in her career. She has a knack for playing well during the Grand Slams, she just needs to carry this to other tournaments throughout the year.
Wozniacki is 4-1 against Cibulkova and just beat her a couple of weeks ago in straight sets at New Haven. Cibulkova’s movement and steady groundstrokes were too much for Kuznetsova to handle in the fourth round. She was able to track down more balls that Kuznetsova and she pounced on any defensive return. This issue here, is that Wozniacki does everything Cibulkova only better, plus she has a bigger serve and her groundstrokes are a major weapon. Wozniacki’s backhand is perhaps the top in the game and she can turn defense into offense so quickly. She’s made only 40 unforced errors throughout the tournament which is incredibly low and if she keeps that up she is going to be basically impossible to beat. I love the way she is playing and I look for her to continue rolling
Nick’s Pick – Wozniacki in 2 sets
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) vs. Kaia Kanepi (EST)
Zvonareva blew Andrea Petkovic off the court in the fourth round, beating the German in 67 minutes and breaking her six times. She is keeping her unforced errors down and has been able to break her opponents throughout the tournament at an incredible rate. If she keeps this up, she has a good chance to reach another Grand Slam final.
Kanepi fought extremely hard to beat Yanina Wickmayer in the fourth round as she lost the first set 6-0 and then was down a break two times in the second set before coming back to win 0-6, 7-6(2), 6-1. She reached the quarters at Wimbledon earlier this summer and if she wins this it will be her first Grand Slam semifinal.
This is the first career meeting between Kanepi and Zvonareva and it promises to be an interesting match. Kanepi has trimmed down and is in better shape than she was earlier this year and the results are obvious. She hits big from both sides, has a booming serve and can cover the court fairly well. She will not relent for a moment in this match and what I love about her is that she is a fighter. I look for Zvonareva to use her outstanding movement and footwork to control the court. She likes to stand on or near the baseline, take the ball early and catch her opponent’s off-guard. She has a fantastic backhand, her serve is improved and she is very comfortable at the net. This will be a tough match, but I look for Zvonareva to pull through in the end because of her consistency and experience.
Nick’s Pick – Zvonareva in 3 sets