Vera Zvonareva (RUS) vs. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)
Zvonareva battled back after dropping the first set to Kim Clijsters, beating the Belgian 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach her first career Wimbledon semifinal. Zvonareva, who trains at the IMG Academy Bollettieri tennis program, is playing in her second career Grand Slam semi and has a great chance to reach her first Grand Slam final.
You have to give a ton of credit to Pironkova, she was able to keep Venus off-balance throughout the quarterfinal match and played fantastic tennis. This is her first appearance in the semis of a Grand Slam and in fact, she had never even been out of the 2nd round of a Grand Slam (in 18 chances) prior to this amazing run!
Pironkova is 1-0 against Zvonareva, with that win coming last year on the hard courts of Moscow. What Pironkova did to Venus was chop her to death from the outset which prevented Venus from getting into a rhythm and allowed Pironkova to dictate play with her big groundstrokes from both sides. I am not sure how effective that will be against Zvonareva because of how well Zvonareva moves and she will be looking for it too. I was impressed to see Zvonareva keep her emotions in-check after losing the first set to Clijsters. She served and moved brilliantly and she was able to control play throughout the second and third sets. If she is able to continue to control her emotions and play her game I give her the edge in this match. Don't count Pironkova out, but Zvonareva has more experience in this situation and I believe that will help.
Nick's Pick - Zvonareva in 2 sets
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Petra Kvitova (CZE)
Serena continued to play fantastic tennis in her straight-set victory over Na Li in the quarterfinals. After seeing her sister lose in the match before, you can be sure that she is more determined than ever to win this tournament. She has yet to drop a set throughout the fortnight and is clearly on a roll!
Prior to this run to the semis, Kvitova had never been past the fourth round of any Grand Slam and she had never gotten out of the first round of Wimbledon. She came into the tournament ranked #62 in the world and was on a three-match losing streak. That is all behind her now and if she could beat Serena it would certainly be the biggest victory of her career.
Serena is 1-0 against Kvitova, with that win coming earlier this year in the second round of the Australian Open. Kvitova fought her tail off to beat Kaia Kanepi in the quarters, battling back from a big third-set hole to win 4-6, 7-6(8), 8-6 and she showed a ton of resiliency. She's beaten some very good players including Jie Zheng, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki en route to the semis but none of them have the firepower that Serena has. Kvitova has a strong game and she is a lefty, which is always tricky, but it's going to take more than that in this match. Serena's serve has been so dominant that she has twice as many aces as any woman throughout the tournament and has more than some of the top men! When she is serving like that she is just about impossible to beat on grass. I look for Serena to continue her dominance and take this match in two sets.
Nick's Pick - S. Williams in 2 sets