Friday, December 26Clijsters should win easily
By Pam ShriverSpecial to ESPN.com
NEW YORK -- Looking at the big picture of surviving the rain, give everybody a lot of credit. All four of these players rose to the challenges of the past four days. It would be easy to have the whole situation get to you -- not being able to practice and the whole routine in chaos.
Former WTA Tour pro Pam Shriver is providing ESPN.com with in-depth analysis throughout the U.S. Open. Shriver, a tennis analyst for ESPN, was ranked as high as No. 3 in singles play. She won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.
It's draining, but these four do have time to rest during the day since they play the added night session on Friday. Although the rain will be gone, the conditions might be difficult, as it's likely to be windy.
With the Williams sisters pulling out, and what happened with the rain, this is the semifinal matchup needed to make the women's draw to come alive. Who would have expected everything to fall into place?
Kim Clijsters (1), Belgium, vs. Lindsay Davenport (3), United States
Clijsters continues her form from this summer. She's really comfortable in her situation as the No. 1 seed.
For Davenport, it's not a great matchup because she hasn't defeated Clijsters once this year. They played in the finals in Los Angeles. Davenport played well, but Clijsters moves so much more easily and hits her groundstrokes so much better. Davenport has the edge on her serve, but it's not enough.
The warning sign of trouble for Clijsters will be if her forehand starts to fly, but she's now in her first Open semifinal and seems destined to get through.
Justine Henin-Hardenne (2), Belgium, vs. Jennifer Capriati (6), United States
This is the more fascinating match. Their only meeting in 2003 was in the semifinals of Dubai on hard court. Henin-Hardenne won 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. It was a typical Capriati loss, but she has turned around her three-set M.O. She has won five three-setters in the weeks leading into this tournament, which is more than she has won the rest year combined. So that has to give Capriati some confidence going into this semifinal.
An American at the U.S. Open -- playing on hard court -- has an edge. But Henin-Hardenne is such a tough competitor right now and is so impressive with everything she does. The fact that she stayed out on the court the other day in the damp conditions and finished her match so she wasn't stuck out there for four days trying to finish her match shows her determination.
Henin-Hardenne's hungry and tough, but so is Capriati. Give the edge to Henin-Hardenne based on her winning the French and getting to the next level by winning in competitive matches. Even though Capriati has won major titles before -- the Aussie and the French -- she hasn't done it in a couple of years.