Elena Dementieva (RUS) v. Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
Jelena Jankovic, always consistent from the baseline, plays more tournaments than almost any player on the WTA Tour. Her consistency
paid off as she briefly reached the WTA Tour's top ranking earlier this summer before falling to her current ranking of number two. The
problem for Jankovic is today she is playing Dementieva who has a very strong forehand and backhand and is confident after taking gold
at the Beijing Olympics.
Head to head Jankovic leads Dementieva 4-3, but Dementieva won their last meeting earlier this year at Berlin 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. Both players
have improved their games in recent months, but Dementieva's game still lacks a serve worthy of a top player. Jankovic has had some issues
with injury the past few weeks, but if she is healthy, I think she can showcase more variety in her game than can Dementieva.
Prediction: Jelena Jankovic
Dinara Safina (RUS) v. Serena Williams (USA)
Serena Williams won 17 matches in a row earlier this year before falling to Dinara Safina 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(7-5) at Berlin in their
last meeting. Safina has emerged this year as a major force of power but still is suspect in terms of mental toughness and physical fitness.
Williams leads Safina head to head 3-1 and the bad news for Safina is both players play a similar attacking game, but Williams' game is
at its best the far superior of the two. Safina has issues with being tired during matches so she will need to keep points short to
pull off the upset.
Williams, the US Open champion in 1999 and 2002, however will not want to lose after knocking out her sister Venus Williams in the
quarterfinals 7-6(8-6), 7-6(9-7). Venus failed to close out either set after holding 10 setpoints. Safina, a finalist at the French Open
and the Olympics may not be much better at closing, but Williams will not want to take the chance to find out.
Williams will look to attack
from the start of each point with either her serve or return of serve to win quick points. Safina would need to prolong points into longer
rallies to force errors, but Williams seems to be playing well enough to hit more winners than errors.
Prediction: Serena Williams