Here we go!
My Predictions for the Quarterfinal Round of the J&S Cup in Warsaw, Poland are as follows:
Match #1: Amelie Mauresmo (1) vs. Franchesca Schiavone (9)
Franchesca go a little bit of luck on her side, when Paola's withdrawl moved her into a more favorable section of the draw, but this is where her run for the roses ends. Mauresmo, has been of the most solid performers on tour this year. If it wasn't for her back problems, the Oz Open final would have, in my honest opinion, been a re-match of the WTA Tour Champs. I think that when Amelie is on, not many people outside of the Williams Sisters and Kim, can stop her. Health will be the biggest factor in this match, as it always is in Amelie's matches. She has an exciting all-court game, that if she began to discover and ultilize, she may find herself playing match #7 at the US Open or Wimbledon. She's a force on clay, but Schiavone is a tough competitor. She's done well against some top players, but I think this match will be all Amelie. Expect one tough set and one hard one, but Amelie should advance if her health is not a concern, and she plays with not only confidence, but conviction.Prediction: Amelie in 2 Tought Sets
Match #2: Svetlana Kuznetsova (3) vs. Silvia Farina Elia (6)
Svetlana's had some amazing wins over some great players on the toughest surfaces (def. V. Williams and J. Henin-Hardenne both on hardcourt, surfaces that they have both won multiple Grand Slams on), and because of this, she has recieved a huge boost in her confidence. She is ranked just outside of the top ten, and by the time, they raise the flags in Olympic Stadium (should they finish the buildings), Kuznetsova could find herself in the top ten. Her Fed Cup teammate, Zvonareva knows what it's like to be there, and this will be Kuznetsova's coming out party. She is capable of doing a lot of damage. She's had an easy draw thus far (destroying compatiot Vera Douchevina, losing only one game), and this match against Siliva, who's had a decent year, should be very telling of her ability to crack the top ten. I think that Silvia will put a fight (she's gotta be tired of losing all of these matches to younger upstarts), but no matter how hard Siliva pushes, Svetlana will push back, harder. This is Kuznetsova's time to shine, but it won't come without some work.Prediction: Kuznetsova in 3 Tough Sets
Match #3: Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi (8) vs. Vera Zvonareva (3)
This is gonna be a good match. I think.... If Smashnova can play the kind of tennis that got her into the quarterfinals, then she'll be ok, and may challenge Vera. Vera is on a tennis high right now. She is playing great clay cour tennis right now, and I think that, if she can keep it together, her semifinal match-up with Venus has classic match potential. But that's the thing, Vera has got to take it one match at a time. If she can keep her head in the game and realize the impresive clay court record that she has, and all of the causualties that she has 'collected', then there's no way that Anna could possibly do anything about it. This match is in Vera's hands, it's hers to keep or to give away, but I think Vera will win here fairly easily.Prediction: Vera in 2 Fairly Easy Sets
Match #4: Magdelena Maleeva vs. Venus Williams (2)
This is going to be another good match. Venus doesn't have a losing record to very many active players (in fact, besides Magdelena and Serena, I don't think it's anyone), so Venus will have some extra incentive to win this match. She's regained her Roland Garros '02 form to a degree. Look for Venus to continue improving and mixing up her game by not only serving well, but coming in to net quite a bit. She started off her match against Zuluaga slowly, but had it been anyone other non-seeded player at this tournament, she may not have lost that first set. She's as intimidating, whether people want to admit it or not, as Paris Hilton is rich. She will always be a force. Even to this day, people call wins over Venus, the biggest in their careers. She's got a lot to lose, but a whole lot more to gain. If she wins this match, it sets up another claycourt battle with Zvonareva, the fiesty Russian who sent her packing in Paris last May. Venus should get through this match with a little resistance from Maleeva, but not a lot of it. Maleeva's played some great clay tennis, and she will undoubtedly test Venus, but Venus is too motivated, and when she is truly motivated, then I really don't see anyone, besides Serena, beating her. Venus has a lot going for her: serve, motivation, movement, and the x-factor, no one has beaten her on clay this year. Maleeva will test Venus, but she should pass with flying colors, and a regal victory curtsey to boot. Prediction: Venus in 2 Sets
My Predicted Semifinal Matchups:
Amelie Mauresmo (1) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (4)
Vera Zvonareva (3) vs. Venus Williams (2)
What do you guys think?
Tune in tomorrow for my semifinal predictions!
Good Luck to: