Dinara Safina (RUS) vs. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Nobody has even come close to challenging Safina as of yet. In four matches she has lost a total of five games! She certainly looks unstoppable as of right now, but then again so did Nadal! If she captures this title, it would be the first Grand Slam victory of her career and would cement her status as the #1 player in the world.
Azarenka has looked very good as well. She has only dropped one set (to Carla Suarez Navarro) and she just took out the defending champion, Ana Ivanovic, with relative ease. Next to Safina, there is no one who has played better tennis in 2009 than Azarenka.
Safina is 3-1 against Azarenka, but in there one meeting so far in 2009 Azarenka won in three sets. Both girls have big groundstrokes, excellent serves, and cover the court well. Both are playing fantastic tennis, and it is really too bad that they have to meet in the quarters. I think you will see Safina get her first real challenge in this match, but I just cannot pick against her. She is so strong and seems mentally focused, and that is a scary thing for the rest of the field. This should be close, but I give the edge to Safina.
Nick's Pick - Safina in 3 sets
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) vs. Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Cibulkova is in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. Her best result previously was at the 2009 Aussie Open when she reached the fourth round. The 20-year old Slovakian came into the tournament ranked #19 in the world, which is down three spots from her career high of #16.
It is fantastic to see Sharapova back and winning again. The tour missed really missed her when she was injured, and hopefully she can keep that shoulder healthy throughout the rest of her career. In the fourth round she knocked out Na Li in three sets and is trying to get to the semis for the second time in her career.
Sharapova is 2-0 against Cibulkova with both of those wins coming on clay in 2008. At 5'3â, Cibulkova's biggest weapon is her speed and agility. Her movement side-to-side and front-to-back is a great asset. She also gets a lot of power out of her small frame and when you combine that with her speed, it is a lethal combination. Sharapova needs to have a very good serving day and step inside the court to finish points early. She doesn't want to get into long rallies with Cibulkova because of her movement. I see this one going three sets with Sharapova winning a close one. She is just such a tough competitor that I think when it gets tight she will be the one to come out alive!
Nick's Pick - Sharapova in 3 sets
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
Serena stepped up her game and blasted Aleksandra Wozniak off the court in the fourth round in only 53 minutes! She had only eight unforced errors and broke Wozniak five times. When Serena is playing like this, she is just about impossible to beat. She hasn't been to the semis here since 2003, which was the year after she won the tournament and completed the âSerena Slam.â
Kuznetsova dropped a set for the first time at this year's tournament in her fourth round victory over Aggie Radwanska. The win puts her into the quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive year and she is trying to get back to the finals for the first time since 2006.
Serena is 5-1 against Kuznetsova with one of those wins coming on clay and one coming earlier this year at the Australian Open. Both Serena and Kuznetsova are big girls who are extremely solid from the baseline. Kuznetsova has excellent groundstrokes and a very good serve. What separates Serena from Kuznetsova is her movement and ability to track down the extra ball. Serena also has a better mental approach and can turn her game up when needed. I think this is going three, but in the end it's going to be Serena.
Nick's Pick - S. Williams in 3 sets
Samantha Stosur (AUS) vs. Sorana Cirstea (ROU)
For the first time in her career, Stosur is in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam as a singles player. She has won many doubles titles in the Grand Slam arena and was once the #1 ranked doubles player in the world. She beat Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round to advance.
Cirstea got what has to be the biggest win of her career, as she took down former world #1 Jelena Jankovic in the fourth round. She won 9-7 in the third set to advance to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. In fact, prior to this tournament her best result at any Grand Slam was the second round!!
This is the first career meeting between the 19-year old Cirstea and the 25-year old Stosur. Neither girl has much experience in the singles arena on this stage, but Stosur has certainly been here before playing doubles. That knowledge will definitely be a factor throughout this match. Cirstea has a big-time forehand and showed nerves of steel against Jankovic, but can she do it again? It's always interesting to see how players follow up great wins. Do they continue to play at that level or do they fold under the pressure? Stosur has probably a more consistent game than Cirstea and with her previous experiences I give her a slight edge in this match.
Nick's Pick - Stosur in 3 sets