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Vania King (USA) vs. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)
King scored a major upset in the second round, taking our 15th-seeded Sam Stosur 7-5, 6-4. This is the first time that King has reached the third round of any Grand Slam tournament, and it is great that she is able to do it in front of her home fans. She came into the tournament ranked #114 in the world, but this will certainly help her climb back into the top 100.
Hantuchova has had to go three sets in each of her match thus far. She is a former quarterfinalist at the US Open, but that was all the way back in 2002. Since that point, she has failed to get out of the third round. This is a great opportunity for her to get into the second week, and make some noise.
This is the second career meeting between King and Hantuchova, with Hantuchova wining the first in straight sets. I was mesmerized by King in her win over Samantha Stosur in the second round. She never broke her concentration, she moved fantastically, she had excellent groundstrokes, and she wasn't hesitant at all in coming to the net and hitting a simple block volley. You know what you are going to get with Hantuchova. She has very steady groundstrokes, a good solid serve, and is comfortable at the net. She will have to be careful, because King will put pressure on her and will attack. The question is: Can King continue to play like she did after winning such a big match? The longer this match goes, the more it favors King. I give the edge to Hantuchova, but she is going to have to win it in straight sets.
Nick's Pick - Hantuchova in 2 sets
Kim Clijsters (BEL) vs. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)
Clijsters fell behind 14th-seeded Marion Bartoli in the second round, but she battled back and won the match in three sets. She is a huge crowd favorite, and everyone wants to see her continue to win. A win here would set-up a potential fourth-round match against Venus Williams (if she wins), which would be extremely fun to see!
Flipkens knocked off 20th-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues in the second round and is into the third round of the US Open for the first time in her career. She is currently ranked #93 in the world, which is only seven spots below her career high of #86 in the world which she achieved back in March.
This is the first career meeting between these two Belgians, but I am sure they know each other very well. That won't make any difference to Clijsters, because she only sees one thing across the net: her opponent! I was impressed to see Clijsters come back against Bartoli like she did. She showed mental toughness and she demonstrated how resilient she can be. Clijsters was able to wear Bartoli down with her relentless pounding groundstrokes and her constant attacking of the ball. She will do the same against Flipkens, because that is the only way she knows how to play. Flipkens definitely has the talent to give Clijsters a match, but I just don't see her losing this one.
Nick's Pick - Clijsters in 2 sets
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) vs. Shahar Peer (ISR)
Kuznetsova is a two-time Grand Slam champion, winning this title in 2004 and she won the 2009 French Open. Since winning the French Open title, she hasn't played her best, going 7-5 (including the first two rounds here). She definitely has the ability to win this title, it just depends on whether she is mentally ready to or not.
Peer comes into the tournament ranked #64 in the world, but was as high as #15 just a couple of years ago. She reached the quarterfinals of the US Open back in 2007, but since then she has failed to get out of the fourth round of any Grand Slam tournament. A win here would help her recapture some of the confidence she had two years ago.
Kuznetsova is 3-2 against Peer and has beaten her the last three times they have played. It is great to see Peer win a couple of rounds and get her name back in the spotlight. She is a crowd favorite at the US Open because of her competitiveness and her discipline on the court. She moves well, has solid groundstrokes from both sides and a good serve. Kuznetsova has an extremely good foundation, outstanding groundstrokes, a solid serve, and moves well. I would like to see her play with a bit more variety at times, but she is like a tank on the court and is stronger than most of the girls on the tour. It seems at times she lacks the ability to capitalize on the big points, and that has hurt her in close matches. This match will depend more on Peer than on Kuznetsova. If Peer is on she could win this match, if not, she will be in trouble. I look for this to go three sets, and in the end I have to go with Kuznetsova.
Nick's Pick - Kuznetsova in 3 sets
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. Sorana Cirstea (ROU)
Wozniacki is a name that we haven't heard much of so far throughout the US Open, but is definitely someone people should watch out for. She is only 19-years old and is already ranked inside the top 10. She has never been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam and this would be a great time for her to demonstrate just how good she is.
Cirstea comes into the tournament ranked #26 in the world, just three spots shy of her career high. She reached the quarterfinals of the French Open this year, but other than that she has never been past the third round of any other Grand Slam. At the age of 19, she is one of the top young talents on the tour.
Cirstea is 2-1 against Wozniacki and has beaten her twice already this year. Both og these girls are young, exciting, and very fun to watch. Wozniacki is like a stick of dynamite out there as the ball just explodes off her racquet. She moves extremely well, has a good serve, and isn't afraid of anyone. Cirstea strikes the ball well from both sides, has a good return of serve, and keeps her unforced errors down to a minimum. She is deceptively quick and does a great job of anticipating the next shot. This is going to be a close match from the outset, especially since the two just played a couple of weeks ago. I know Cirstea just beat her in Los Angeles, but I am going to give a slight edge to Wozniacki in this match.
Nick's Pick - Wozniacki in 3 sets