It’s getting down to the wire in both Tokyo for the men and in Beijing for the men and women. While the men’s event in Beijing has seen few surprises as top seeds Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic appear headed for another final clash, some upsets in the other tourneys are allowing for some intriguing matchups.
In Beijing, Svetlana Kuznetsova has been flying under the radar and playing well getting herself into the semis with a 6-3, 6-3 against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Sveta will now face Nadia Petrova who survived another tough match against Shuai Peng 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2.
As much as I would like to see Petrova get through and win the event, I feel like Sveta, who is 4-1 lifetime against her, will find a way to win this.
The other semi has Agnieszka Radwanska against the always feisty Marion Bartoli.
Over in Tokyo, the key match will be the semifinals between Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilifred Tsonga. This is a must win match, not only as they would be the favorite in the final against either Lleyton Hewitt and the revived Mikhail Youznhy, but a good showing would help Tsonga on Monfils close in one of the final spots for the ATP Finale in London.
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Some quick thoughts on the key Day 8 matchups at the U.S. Open.
Melanie Oudin vs. Nadia Petrova
Oudin has won her last two matches over Dementieva and Sharapova by displaying tremendous heart and grit, but also due to those players helping out by not attacking the American more. Petrova is a solid player and will not let Oudin jerk her around the court. If Petrova holds her serve and keeps the crowd out of it, Petrova should win in two sets.
John Isner vs. Fernando Verdasco
Both men endured five set matches in their last round so fitness could be an issue. Verdasco is also suffering from an abdominal strain so he is spinning his serve in, so Isner should have a decent shot at returning. As long as Isner can not have a letdown after beating Roddick and can keep serving big, Isner should win in four.
Roger Federer vs. Tommy Robredo
Unless Federer displays more non-brilliant play like he did against Lleyton Hewitt for a set, Federer should win this in three easy sets.
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Caroline Wozniacki
Both players here have a great opportunity to make it all the way to the finals as their side of the draw is wide open. Wozniacki has been hyped for some time but never quite lived it up to it all. “Sveta” can beat anyone, anywhere but her motivation has always been questioned. I think Sveta is ready to prove she can challenge for majors anywhere and will win this is three tough sets.
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In another dramatic match, Melanie Oudin, the rising American teenage star, held her nerve to close out a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 win against Maria Sharapova. Sharapova helped Oudin’s cause by double faulting 21 times (basically a set of double faults).
Oudin’s amazing run can still continue as she now faces 13th seeded Nadia Petrova in the Fourth Round. Oudin will again come into this match an underdog but you have to like her chances to make it into the quarterfinals.
Because of Oudin’s long match plus Roddick’s long five setter against John Isner, Dinara Safina’s match didn’t start until ten o’clock at night and on Louis Armstrong court. Facing off against Petra Kvitova, it was another wild, nervy error filled match from Safina. This time however, Kvitova showed real belief and attacked Safina at every opportunity. Things did get tight when Safina had three match points on Kvitova’s serve in the third set, but Kvitova held on to get things into a tiebreak where she finally prevailed 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5) finally ending Safina’s misery this week.
Safina will remain number one no matter what but her loss does mean an unseeded player will reach the semifinals in her section of the draw.
Other winners today included Svetlana Kuznetsova and Caroline Wozniacki who will face each other in the fourth round. The winner of that match will be a heavy favorite to reach the semifinals as well.
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