Justine Henin vs. Venus Williams
Head-to-head: Williams 7, Henin 1
Last meeting: Australian Open '03 (hard), Williams 6-3, 6-3
World No. 1 Justine continued her Grand Slam dominance over 2-time US Open champion Serena "ReRe" Williams, beating her in a third straight Slam quarterfinal 7-6 (3), 6-1 and feeding ReRe sour grapes afterwards. No. 12 seed Venus battled Serb Jelena Jankovic (in the best women's match so far) for over 2 hours, overcoming a first set lost and a break in the second before prevailing 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4). Justine and Venus haven't played in over 4 years, so their head-to-head is deceiving. Justine is a much approved player and knows how to play, and win, the big matches now.
Here's what Justine said about playing Venus:
"[...] I didn't watch Venus that much in the last few months, so it will be another good test for me for sure. And I will have to, you know, just be myself, play my tennis, play my game. So, yeah, I didn't play Venus for a long time so that will be interesting."
Here's Venus on playing Justine:
"I think it will be a very similar match [to Jankovic.] I'm playing a player, Justine, a player very similar to Jelena. A little more power. A little more power off the serve, which quite honestly I think I like it when the serve comes with some pace. It's nice. So I think it will be pretty similar. I guess I'll be ready for it."
Outlook: Venus has the strength to overpower Justine, but Justine has the speed and variety to disrupt her rhythm and get Venus to make errors. Tracy Austin for MSNBC.com gives a very slight edge to Justine in this semifinal and, after her win over Serena, so do we.
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Anna Chakvetadze
Head-to-head: Sveta, 2-0
Last meeting: Warsaw '06 (clay), Sveta 6-1, 6-1
A former champion at the US Open, World No. 4 Sveta knows how to win in New York. She completely outclassed rising Hungarian star Agnes Szavay in the quarterfinals 6-1, 6-4. Her opponent in the semis, fellow Russian and No. 6 seed Anna Chakvetadze, dominated Israeli Shahar Peer, the No. 18 seed, by a similar scoreline, 6-4, 6-1.
Here's what Sveta said about her semifinal against Anna:
"I play Anna now and I am very happy there is definitely going to be one Russian in the final."
Anna had this to say about playing Sveta:
"She's a favourite in this match, so I have nothing to lose and no pressure, [...]For me it's much easier to play with no pressure, so I will try to do my best."
Outlook: This one is a real toss- up, with the knowledge that the winner from the Williams/Henin semifinal is mostly likely our '07 champ. But we'll go with "Chaky" just for the fun of calling her "Chaky"...oh, and her smooth groundstroking.
Tell me who your picks are for tomorrow's Women's Semifinal Showdowns!
(images courtesy of AP Photos)