Maria Sharapova (2) v Li Na (8)
Maria Sharapova has struggled to hit top form this week, but still finds herself comfortably in the quarter-finals for the loss of just one set in her opening match to Shahar Peer. Her superior mental strength was enough to get her past Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets yesterday, Li Na has floated through the draw without making any headlines. Like Sharapova, she struggled to hit top form in an error-strewn 4th round encounter against Sabine Lisicki, but still had enough to pull out the win. Li has an excellent record over Sharapova having won their last four encounters and all in straight sets. The last of those came in the WTA Championships in Istanbul where she won, 7-6 6-4 although Sharapova was still struggling with an ankle injury. I have a feeling this could be a pretty ugly encounter, but I think Sharapova will avenge the four previous losses and advance to another semi-final in 2012…
Prediction – Sharapova in 2 tight sets
Serena Williams (10) v Caroline Wozniacki (4)
Serena has sailed through the draw encountering her stickiest obstacle in the 4th round where she produced a serving masterclass to beat Sam Stosur in straight sets. Wozniacki has also flourished this week with the attention firmly away from the former world number one. She came through a tight opening set with Yanina Wickmayer and many wasted set points, before flying through the second set for the loss of just seven points. Serena has won all three of their previous encounters including a comfortable semi-final win at last year’s US Open. Wozniacki appears to be playing better this week, but she just does not have the weapons to rival Serena, even if the American has an off day.
Prediction – Serena in 2 sets