Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day of 'Upsets'?

Maria Sharapova put an emphatic end to Justine Henin's 33-match winning streak with a 6-4 6-0 overwhelming of the top seed in the women's quarterfinals.

Notice how uncomfortable, annoyed and frustrated Henin looks in this clip. Embarrassment was something Henin probably felt in her first straight-set loss at a grand slam since the same player beat her in the 2006 US Open final.

Earlier in the day, Jelena Jankovic took advantage of poor serving and a barrage of unforced errors from defending champion Serena Williams on her way to a surprising 6-3 6-4 win.

It's hard for me to distinguish which is more surprising: that Serena lost, or that Jankovic won. At 4-5 serving in the second, Williams had a 40-15 lead to even things. But it wasn't to be as she netted a backhand and then felt the punish of one of Jankovic's trademark backhands down-the-line to send the game to deuce. From there, the match belonged to the Serb.

So now a Sharapova-Jankovic semi is set, a match few thought would occur. It's hard to call this one... Sharapova is playing hot, but as Jankovic showed against Serena, she really is the best retriever in the game. I'm going to give it to Sharapova in three: 3-6 6-2 6-4.

On the men's side, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his baffling run by beating Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets while everyone's favorite fist pumper Rafael Nadal mirrored Tsonga's performance with a three-and-out win over Fin Jarkko Niemenen. Rafa should have his hands full with Tsonga in the semis, the winner to advance to his first-ever AO final.

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