Vera Zvonareva (RUS) vs. Kim Clijsters (BEL)
Zvonareva came into the tournament ranked #21 in the world, but she is certain to move up because she is only defending 3rd round points. She was beating Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 3-0 in the fourth round when Jankovic retired due to an injury. This is her first appearance in the quarters of Wimbledon and it’s only the third time she has ever been to the quarters of any Grand Slam.
After dropping the opening set to Henin, Clijsters battled back and beat her fellow Belgian in three sets. This is the fourth time she has reached the quarters of Wimbledon and she is looking to reach the semis for the third time in her career, and the first since 2006. She is looking for her first career appearance in the finals of Wimbledon.
Clijsters is 5-0 against Zvonareva but three of those matches have gone the distance and they haven’t played since 2006. They did meet at Wimbledon back in the first round in 2006 and Clijsters won that in straight sets. Zvonareva is on a roll right now and is playing excellent tennis. She can move, she has a solid serve, she takes the ball on the rise and her groundstrokes are excellent. The one thing about her, is that she is very emotional and she sometimes lets her emotions get the best of her. I don’t think you will see Clijsters stand on the baseline and slug it out with Zvonareva. She will try and mix it up, keeping Zvonareva off-balance throughout the match. Clijsters’ movement is some of the best on the tour and her serve is excellent. This will be a back-and-forth match and in the end, I give a slight edge to Clijsters because of her mental strength and her footwork.
Nick’s Pick – Clijsters in 3 sets
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Na Li (CHN)
Serena won an emotional match over Maria Sharapova in the fourth round and that will give her a ton of confidence heading into this heavyweight clash. Serena is extremely comfortable right now on the grass and it is going to take a near-Herculean effort to beat her at Wimbledon.
Li beat Aggie Radwanska to reach the quarters of Wimbledon for the second time in her career. She is having a very good year, reaching a career high of #10 in the world and winning a title on grass at Birmingham a couple of weeks ago.
Serena is 4-1 against Li and beat her earlier this year in the semis of the Australian Open in two tiebreak sets. It’s really amazing how some players don’t get much acknowledgement for their play and that is what is happening to Na Li. She has quietly moved through the draw, but she isn’t someone to take lightly. She likes to dictate play with her solid serve and her excellent side-to-side movement. She stands right on the baseline and will take the ball early which helps to catch her opponent out of position. Her only weakness right now will be her mental game. Does she think she can actually beat Serena on grass? That is what you really have to watch. We know that Serena loves to play on grass and she is at home there. This will be a slugfest, but you have to give the edge to Serena until someone proves they can beat her.
Nick’s Pick – S. Williams in 2 sets