I have to say, I’m thrilled we have some qualifiers in the last eight this weekend in Rome. I’m getting a little tired of the same old top guys making it. That said, five of the six top seeds are playing the quarters on Friday.
Here’s the quarterfinal run down (stats from the ATP)
Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco – Nadal leads 7-0
Roger Federer vs. (Q) Mischa Zverev (22 year old qualifier from Germany) – first meeting
Novak Djokovic vs. Juan Martin del Potro – Djokovic leads 2-0
Fernando Gonzalez vs. (Q) Juan Monaco (obviously, not your typical “Q”) – Gonzalez leads 4-0
On paper these match ups don’t look that competitive (19-0!), but in reality, any one of these could be fantastic. I can’t even begin to guess which one will be the must-see. What do you think?
Click here for Rome TV schedule (U.S.)
STUTTGART/PORSCHE GRAND PRIX:
Here’s what we have in store for the Stuttgart quarterfinals:
Marion Bartoli vs. Elena Dementieva – Dementieva leads 4-2
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Gisela Dulko – tied at 2-2
Jelena Jankovic vs. Flavia Pennetta – Jankovic leads 5-1
Dinara Safina vs. Agnieszka Radwanska – first meeting
If the seedings hold, Safina should meet Jankovic and Dementieva should meet Kuznetsova in the semis. But nothing is certain. Jankovic and Kuznetsova may be fatigued after their tough quarterfinals over Lisicki and Li, respectively, and Pennetta and Dulko are playing on their favorite surface.
Stuttgart’s already had the match of the tournament with Thursday’s quarterfinal against Sabine Lisicki and Jelena Jankovic. The German stretched Jankovic to three sets and over two hours on court before going out, 5-7, 7-5, 3-6. All credit to Jelena for the win, but I was really impressed by Lisicki’s post match comments, which set just the right tone:
“My aim was to show everybody what I’m capable of. And that’s exactly what I did. I can hold my head high. The match was also fun to play. I don’t think I’m that far off the top players now. I’m looking to climb as high as possible in the rankings this year.“
Here are some highlights from Lisicki vs. Jankovic and an interview with the Serb (Safina vs. Hantuchova also included):
Hopefully I’ve spoken too soon, and we’ll have even more great action out of Stuttgart this weekend – what matches are you looking forward to?
Click here for the Stuttgart TV schedule (U.S.)
* photo via AFP and VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images