Thursday, 17 May 2012

Rome: Day 5 preview

The last 8 players have emerged. Let's take a look at these last 4 matches.

(14) Dominika Cibulkova vs. (8) Li Na

Li Na has been quietly having a good year this year. I would never thought I would say this but she's actually very consistent. This is her fifth QF in a row and she looks very eager to break this streak. Dominika has Victoria Azarenka to thank for her best showing this year. The world number 1 withdrew and gave Dominika a free pass to the QFs. I'm very sure Domi is well rested but Li isn't exactly playing marathon matches either. I'm going to pick thie Chinese for a place in the semi-finals.

Pick: Li in 2 sets

(9) Serena Williams vs. Flavia Pennetta

Flavia has never beaten Serena before. Will she do it here in her home-country? This is her best chance to claim her first win over the GOAT. Buoyed by the home-crowd, good form and clay which nullifies Serena's booming serve; Flavia better take her chance now or it's now or never. Still, you'll never know which Serena will turn up. She seems eager for once and injury-free. And a hungry Serena is a sight to behold. Anyhow, I expect a high quality match with lots of winners.

Pick: Serena in 2 tight sets

(12) Angelique Kerber vs. (4) Petra Kvitova

A real big test for the big-hitting Czech. Petra claimed a win over Kerber in Stuttgart but it was very close. Also, the indoor clay favours her more. Now on the real clay, Kerber can engage Kvitova in longer rallies and cause Kvitova to think more. I think it's ripe for Kerber to breakthrough. But let's see how mentally strong Petra is.

Pick: Kerber in 2 tight sets

(2) Maria Sharapova vs. (WC) Venus Williams

Another monster clash here. Their Wimbledon scream-fest is still deeply etched in my mind. These 2 players always give their all in their match-ups. Maria is looking very determined to defend her title here and Venus is looking to consolidate her place in the Olympics team. Should be a mouth-watering match with lots of high decibel grunts. I really don't know who to pick but I am going to buy a packet of popcorn and enjoy the drama. LOL

Pick: Too close to call. Slight edge to Maria

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