Stay tuned to Nick's Pick throughout the 2010 Australian Open for in-depth coverage of the tournament!
Jie Zheng (CHN) vs. Justine Henin (BEL)
Zheng is in the second Grand Slam semifinal of her career and she did with a rather easy victory over Maria Kirilenko. She is one of the two Chinese women left in the draw and that is huge for China. A win here would give China its first representative in the finals of a Grand Slam, it would also be the biggest of Zheng's career.
Henin won a tough two set match over Nadia Petrova and is in the semis of the Australian Open for the fourth time in her career. She won this title back in 2004 over Kim Clijsters and then in 2005 she fell to Amelie Mauresmo in the finals. I think everyone is looking forward to a Serena/Henin final, but neither girl should look past their opponent!
Henin is 1-0 against Zheng, but that match took place all the way back in 2005. This is going to be an excellent match between two of the smallest players on the WTA Tour. Zheng will stay on or near the baseline, hit the ball flat and will work Henin side to side. Henin plays with more variety, will come into the net often, and will attack Zheng's serve whenever possible. The difference in this match is going to be Zheng's serve. If she gets it in play and is serving well she has a good chance of pushing Henin, if not, Henin has the clear edge. Either way I like the Belgian.
Nick's Pick - Henin in 3 sets
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Na Li (CHN)
Serena made an incredible comeback in the quarters as she was down a set and 4-0 before storming back to win in three over Azarenka. You could take all the lessons in the world with the world's best coaches, but you can't teach what Serena has. Her ability to dig deep within herself is what separates her from everyone else.
Li scored a major upset in what wasn't the prettiest match in the quarters, taking out Venus Williams 2-6, 7-6(4), 7-5. This is her first appearance in the semis of a Grand Slam and after the tournament ends she will become the first Chinese player to enter the top 10 when the WTA rankings are released.
Serena is 3-1 against Li and beat her the two times they faced in 2009. I don't care what anyone thinks, I believe that Venus' loss effected Serena before she took the court. These two are like twins and when one is hurting the other feels for them. Despite that and the fact that she played her worst tennis of the tournament, she was still able to will herself to a win. When you combine her mental strength with her physical prowess, she is extremely difficult to beat. Li will give her a match, but I look for Serena to advance.
Nick's Pick - S. Williams in 2 sets