Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mother's Day? Woman's Quarters Preview

Quarterfinal No. 1: Kim Clijsters vs. Na Li

Is there anything that Kimpossible can't do? Hang around Flushing Meadows until Saturday and you just might have your answer.

Kim is vying to become the first mother to reach the semifinals of a Grand-Slam since Yvonne Goolagong stormed to the Wimbledon title in 1980. After surviving an up and down match with Venus Williams in Sundays 4th-round match, Clijsters will be looking to keep Chinese Veteran Na Li from becoming the first Chinese player to ever advance to the semifinals of the U.S. Open.

Li is 1-3 in her career against Clijsters with the win coming in their last meeting in 2007.

The 27-year-old from Wuhan China has yet to lose a set in the tournament.

Clijsters has benefited from tremendous support from the N.Y. crowds, and this could help to get her over the edge in what will more than likely be a very competitive match.

Pick: Clijsters in 3

Quarterfinal # 2: Serena Williams vs. Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta became the first Italian women to grace the top-10 with her presence earlier in the summer, but the milestone hasn't appeared to diminish her desire for more recognition. The 27-year-old from Brindisi, Italy was irrepressibly bold in fighting off six match points against Vera Zvonareva on Sunday evening, and she'll be looking to become the first Italian woman to ever make the semifinals of a Grand-Slam (Italian women are 0-10 in Grand-Slam quarterfinals).

But does Flavia have the firepower to contend with the games most dynamic player, Serena Williams? In their only previous meeting she lost 6-2 in the third set to Serena (Miami 2008).

Even as Pennetta has been playing the best tennis of her career, winning 23 of her last 26 matches (titles in Palermo and L.A.), and is high on confidence, it seems like a stretch to imagine her getting past Serena in New York.

Williams has yet to be tested at this years Open, winning each of the 8 sets she has played. The three-time U.S. Open champion has won three of the last four Grand-Slams she has played in.

Tonight's match vs. Pennetta will be her 8th career U.S. Open quarterfinal match - she has won four of seven, and each time she has won she has advanced to the final.

Pennetta was a quarterfinalist last year, losing to Dinara Safina in straight sets.

Pick: Williams in 3

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