Here's how the lower 1/2 of the women's draw looks now:
Novotna(5) vs. Zardo
Pierce(9) vs. Sabatini(4)
Maleeva-Fr.(8) vs. Hack
M Maleeva(14) vs. Sanchez Vicario(2)
Now this is interesting, because it is not at all clear who will emerge
from this half of the draw. It looks like Sanchez Vicario and Novotna
should sail through their 4th round matches. The other two matches are
a lot more complicated.
I watched Hack defeat Maleeva-Fragniere at Hilton Head last year, and
she also defeated Manuela on other occasions. Manuela has better results
on the hard courts plus she obviously has the intangibles, so that may
be enough to get her through this match. Could go either way.
Pierce vs. Sabatini is a tossup, but I think Pierce has the advantage.
Sabatini's trend with difficulty in closing out matches continues, and
Pierce has more intangibles, more confidence, and (hopefully) a better
game plan than last year when she had Sabatini on the ropes. Regardless
of who wins, Novotna probably has a good chance to make it to the semis
in this part.
If Maleeva-Fragniere wins her match and Novotna does make it to the
semis, that's real bad news for Sanchez Vicario. In a Sanchez Vicario
vs. Maleeva-Fragniere match, it would be Manuela with the intangibles
advantage, and she knows how to beat Arantxa. And, while Sanchez
Vicario beat Novotna in their last two meetings, I still think Novotna
would have a big advantage on the Rebound Ace.
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