Shriver: Fitness and focus major factors
Fitness and focus major factors
by Pam Shriver
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Justine Henin-Hardenne and Lindsay Davenport played the most dramatic match of the tournament so far in the fourth round. Both players had leads and lost leads. There was just something for everybody to get excited about in that match.
Justine Henin-Hardenne just showed so much guts and heart at the end. She held on against cramps, Davenport and the demons of losing close matches in the past. But the difficulty of that match could hurt her in the next.
Justine Henin-Hardenne (5), Belgium, vs. vs. Virginia Ruano Pascual, Spain
Depending on how Henin-Hardenne recovers from her long match, she'll be the favorite. As long as she comes off the Davenport match in one piece, she'll win. What an amazing effort she put out in the fourth round. A match like that could put Henin-Hardenne into a different level of confidence for big majors.
Ruano Pascual is known for her doubles. The farthest she's ever gotten in a Grand Slam in singles was in the quarterfinals -- and that was in the French Open in 1995. But doubles has only helped her. In this round, she'll be the perfect example of someone who will benefit from all those close doubles matches played in the big arenas, even though they are not always full.
Daniela Hantuchova, (7), Slovakia, vs. Venus Williams (2), United States
Last year's match between these two went 6-4 in the third. Hantuchova is playing better than she was last year. Venus is, too.
Venus is playing well enough to win, but this is her first real dangerous opponent. If her focus slips at all, like her familiar problems with her second serve, she's in trouble. Hantuchova hits well off the forehand and backhand. She's not afraid of the big match either.
Hantuchova has had a lot of close matches and close sets recently, so she's not going into the match as confident in that situation. That's why I think Venus will win.