Court Philippe Chatrier

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(17) Francesca Schiavone vs. (3) Caroline Wozniacki

Even matchup or mismatch?  One may tend to favor Wozniacki, the young gun from Denmark, who is only 19 and has already appeared in a major final (USO 09).  But on closer inspection, the 30 year old Italian, Schiavone, a clay court natural, who has now made the quarter-finals in every major but the Australian (4th round, ’06, ’10), but who has never won a quarter-final match at a major, could be poised for the breakthrough.  Schiavone won their only meeting which was in 2008, 7-6 (3), 6-2.  That could be wishful thinking, if not Machiavellian on our part, as we are partial to the Italian, but would hate for her victory to better set up Jelena Jankovic for an easy romp to the final.  Wozniacki will be the much tougher matchup for Jankovic, who gets Yaroslava Shvedova on Wednesday.  Perhaps it will be Wozniacki’s tournament to break through.  Her steady game is tailor made for this surface, and her young legs should be a big aid to her in these late rounds.

Gun to my head: Wozniacki wins.

(1) Roger Federer vs. (5) Robin Soderling

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In a rematch of last year’s final, is this another ho hum match for Roger or is it an uh-oh match?  Federer is 12-0 in the head to head versus Soderling, and he personally ended Soderling’s chances at 3 majors in 2009.  But Soderling is very capable of winning.  Everyone should recall that he had never beaten Nadal before either, and then went out and spanked him last year on this very court.  Soderling is a very scary player, with huge weapons off the serve, backhand and forehand.  This guy completely hammers the ball.  Also, he’s very mature, and unlikely to be rattled by Federer in this spot.  But the last time I looked, Roger was still the man.  I could see Roger getting off to a fast start before Soderling knows what hit him, and then the Swede settling down and making a dog fight out of it.  Or maybe, Federer keeps his pedal to the metal, smelling that 24th consecutive major semi-final.  Based on the last round and how they played, I feel better picking Federer than I did.  He’s fresh, and he’s shown offhis enormous talent at every turn, not dropping a set.  I think Roger doesn’t necessarily need to get off well to win, but Soderling does.  The first set is going to be huge for the Swede, either away.  But Federer handles bangers well.  He’s something like 35-2 lifetime against Soderling, Gonzalez, and Blake–3 guys who hit the shit out of the ball, but who don’t necessarily have a B gameplan.

Gun to my head: oh Roger, my Roger.

Court Suzanne Lenglen

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(5) Elena Dementieva vs. (19) Nadia Petrova

All russian matchup.  And the Russians go particularly hard against one another.  These 2 have been playing each other since 1997, and the series is tied at 7-7, but Elena D. has taken the last 4 matches.  One of those matches, petrova retired down 3-4 in the 1st, and the other 3 have been close 3 setters.  I feel that Petrova has to be ecstatic after upsetting Venus, and that she may have a little air of satisfaction, whereas Dementieva, who spanked Scheepers, a qualifier, has her eyes on the big prize.

Gun to my head: Dementieva wins.

(15) Tomas Berdych vs. (11) Mikhail Youzhny

Youzhny comes in rested, having only played the one set versus Tsongaa in the last round, who retired.  We weren’t surprised.  Berdych whipped up on Andy Murray.  Can’t say either result surprised us.  Youzhny leads the head to head, 6-4.  They have each a win against the other on clay.  At their last meeting in Japan in October, Youzhny won 6-2, 7-6 (6).  Their matchup prior to that was in 09 at Munich on clay which Berdych won.  I’m partial to Youzhny.  I like one handers better, and you have to like the more athletic guy on clay–generally.  Berdych disproved that rule in beating Murray, but Murray is a bit of an akward clay courter.  Youzhny loves Paris, and will be right at home in this spot.

Gun to my head: Youzhny wins.

So I picked all favorites.  I wouldn’t be that shocked if 3 of the 4 went the other way, with the exception of Dementieva, who I really can’t see losing tomorrow.  But I think we see a very high level of tennis tomorrow and close matches.

Enjoy your tennis (even though it’s clay),

Crack (http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)