U.S. Open 2009: Women's Fourth-Round Preview and Picks

Sergey ZikovSenior Analyst ISeptember 6, 2009

The 2009 Edition of the U.S. Open has been filled with a lion's share of upsets. Heading into the fourth round, many of the top names are done, leaving the field wide open.

Sort of. Wide open after the Williams sisters, of course.


The Casualties List


No. 7 Vera Zvonareva. Has there ever been a top 10 player with less attention?


No. 1 Dinara Safina. But honestly, who didn't see this one coming?

No. 4 Elena Dementieva. Tabbed by many to go far in this tournament, or even win it, Dementieva collapsed against the American teen. Double faulting nine times, she was broken seven times before a 2nd-round knockout.

No. 5 Jelena Jankovic. Again, nobody could have possibly seen that coming, right?

No. 8 Victoria Azarenka. Vika was motoring along, dominating opponents, that is of course until she met up with some Italian. This legitimately was a shock.

No. 11 Ana Ivanovic. Nothing new here.


Melanie Oudin. The American teenager has been possessed by some otherworldly being, intent on taking over the U.S. Open by force.


Now to the business end of it.


Top Half

Petra Kvitova vs. Yanina Wickmayer

The Story: Kvitova, the young, free-swinging Czech ended Dinara Safina's dream of winning a maiden Slam when she showed the top seed the door in the third round. The Belgian Wickmayer, another young and tall player, has pounded her way through the first couple rounds, taking out Virginie Razzano along the way.

The History: Tied, 1-1. The latest meeting was 2009 at Estoril, won by Wickmayer in straight sets. Neither player is ranked in the top 50.

The Keys: Whoever commits less errors. Both players will hit a fair share of winners and aces, but the lady who shoots themselves in the foot the least will move on.

The Victor: Wickmayer in three.


Kateryna Bonderenko vs. Gisela Dulko

The Story: Both players have notched decent victories. Dulko disposed of Yaroslava Shvedova, who slayed Jankovic, while Kateryna took out Ivanovic. But this one is personal. Dulko took out No. 30, Alona Bondarenko in the second round. Think some revenge is in order?

The History: The two have never met in a WTA event.

The Keys: Which one will take control the style of play. Bondarenko wants to force Dulko out of her comfort zone by making her come forward, while Dulko will need to replicate the same error-free tennis she used to dump Alona.

The Victor: Dulko in two.


Melanie Oudin vs. No. 13 Nadia Petrova

The Story: Oudin has even surpassed the Williams' sisters in American media coverage, at least for the moment. She dumped Sharapova and Elena Dementieva, two women who were considered heavy favorites to make the second week. Nadia Petrova, on the other hand, just keeps motoring along. She hasn't lost a set to date.

The History: The two have never met in a WTA event.

The Keys: Momentum. Oudin will obviously have the entire crowd behind her. Even if Petrova takes the first set, the crowd will still be delirious. Oudin simply needs to ride the wave.

The Victor: Petrova in two.


No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki vs. No. 6 Svetlana Kuznetsova

The Story: The marquee match of the fourth round. Wozniacki has dropped only 10 games all tournament, with her most recent triumph came over doubles partner Sorana Cirstea. Kuznetsova has also been pretty darn good, but she has not faced a ranked player in the tournament so far.

The History: Kuznetsova leads, 2-1. The last meeting came in 2009 at Indian Wells, won by Kuznetsova in three sets.

The Keys: Composure. Both players will have their ups and downs in this match. It will be won by the player that plays better while they are down.

The Victor: Wozniacki in three.


Bottom Half

No. 26 Francesca Schiavone vs. No. 18 Na Li

The Story: Schiavone, the veteran scrapper, earned a lot of fans and respect when she dropped Victoria Azarenka in the third round. Li has played host to a handful of young players already, as her opponents' average age has been 19.

The History: Tied, 1-1. The last meeting was in 2008 in Beijing, remarkably won by Schiavone in straight sets.

The Keys: Neither player will blow the other off the court with pure power. This one will be decided by angles and strategy.

The Victor: Li in three. There's a rhyme!


Kim Clijsters vs. No. 3 Venus Williams

The Story: Can't tell this one enough times. Clijsters, in her return to the tour and playing in her first U.S. Open since she won the tournament in 2005, has done everything and then some. She hasn't missed a beat. Venus was a little shaky at first, but has had smooth sailing ever since.

The History: Venus Williams leads, 6-4. The last meeting came in 2005 in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, won by Clijsters in three. But how much good is that now?

The Keys: The New York crowd loves Venus. But they love a comeback story too. Can Clijsters conjure some of that old magic once more?

The Victor: Venus Williams in two.


No. 7 Vera Zvonareva vs. No. 10 Flavia Pennetta

The Story: Two top seeds who have been as good as invisible over the past week. Pennetta could be walking through the grounds like a spectator and nobody would notice. Neither player has been threatened, and the most games Pennetta has lost in a match has been four, all in the same set to Edina Gallovits in the first round.

The History: Tied, 1-1. The last meeting came in 2009 at Los Angeles, won in straight sets by Pennetta.

The Keys: Who has the hot hand. The first break will be gigantic, as neither player has been broken much all tournament.

The Victor: Zvonareva in three.


No. 2 Serena Williams vs. No. 22 Daniela Hantuchova

The Story: Another tournament, another walk in the park for Serena. No drama whatsoever from her thus far. Hantuchova has been on court for a long time through three rounds, but her latest victory over American Vania King has turned some heads.

The History: Serena Williams leads, 7-1. The last meeting came in 2009 at Wimbledon, won by Serena in straight sets.

The Keys: For Serena, keep the errors down. For Daniela, play the match of your life.

The Victor: Serena Williams in two.


Other ideas?           


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