Saturday, August 30
Serena's level rises as Capriati's dips

ESPN.com

Pam's Picks
Pam Shriver
Shriver
Former WTA Tour pro Pam Shriver is providing ESPN.com with in-depth analysis throughout Wimbledon. 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.
WIMBLEDON, England -- Traditionally at Wimbledon, the middle Sunday is the day off, so the women know they are going to have to play the round of 16 and quarterfinals on back-to-back days. It's important not to drag things out and have a marathon round of 16. So this is where time on the court and the schedule can come into play.

A lot of this is going to be who can be efficient. It's going to be the only time at Wimbledon, unless there are rain problems, that you'll be asked to play back-to-back days.

Four of the eight players in the top half of the draw are Russian.

Serena Williams (1), United States, vs. Elena Dementieva (15), Russia
Serena stepped up and played her best match of the week in the third round against Laura Granville, who is playing as well as Dementieva right now. So once Serena takes her level up that means Dementieva's chances have dwindled. And even though Dementieva had her first tournament win at Amelia Island, Serena will win comfortably, getting rid of one of the Russians.
Pick: Serena

Anastasia Myskina (10), Russia, vs. Jennifer Capriati (8)
Capriati struggled against Aikiko Morigami. Capriati took an injury timeout because her shoulder is bothering her. She wasn't as sharp as the first two rounds. You don't want to go that direction at this point, you want to be going forward like Serena. In the meantime Myskina has not dropped a set. I'm leaning toward picking an upset.

The one thing Myskina does that Capriati likes is hit the ball hard and Capriati will enjoy the pace. But based on Capriati's play in the third round, if she doesn't play better she'll lose.
Pick: Myskina

Justine Henin-Hardenne (3), Belgium, vs. Mary Pierce, France
This is a fun match that you didn't expect. Pierce is ranked outside the top 75 and hasn't won a tournament in years, suddenly, like she's done so many times in the past, she comes alive in a major. And Henin-Hardenne is not as sharp as the French Open. What impressed about Nadia Petrova earlier in the tournament was her willingness to come to the net and therefore limit her vulnerability with her movement from the back of the court. So, Henin-Hardenne is going to have to serve well and retrieve Pierce's bombs with some skill. If she does those things well, she should still win, but Pierce has surprised us in the past and maybe, maybe she has one more surprise left.
Pick: Henin-Hardenne

Maria Sharapova, Russia, vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (33), Russia
The all-Russian clash. Sharapova was so impressive against Jelena Dokic in how she served on the big points, stayed intense throughout and more mature than her 16 years. I think because of the advantage Sharapova has with her serve over Kuznetsova, she'll win. Kuznetsova, otherwise known as Martina Navratilova's doubles partner, is another of those fast-improving Russians. This match might come down to the intangibles of this match, two teens from the same country in the biggest match of their career. It's hard to come up with a pick with two inexperienced players, but I like Sharapova.
Pick: Sharapova

Lindsay Davenport (5), United States, vs. Shinobu Asagoe, Japan
As long as Davenport's foot remains healthy, she's got a much bigger game then Asagoe. She has more experience as a former champion. So the conqueror of Daniela Hantuchova looks like she's going to be sent packing. Davenport needs to beat her easily because she'll possibly face Venus Williams next.
Pick: Davenport

Vera Zvonareva (16), Russia, vs. Venus Williams (4), United States
Venus is going to get revenge in this match for her loss at the French Open. The way Venus played against Petrova, I don't see her letting Zvonareva beat her twice in a row. This is a surface that has Venus so happy. She's just ecstatic to get back on grass. Zvonareva's had a great month at the majors, for someone who's just entering into the fray, but she won't have another major match until the U.S. Open.
Pick: Venus

Silvia Farina Elia (27), Italy, vs. Paola Suarez, Argentina
It's a great opportunity for either one to reach her first Wimbledon quarterfinal.

Expect a lot of really fun rallies and creative play with drop shots and angles. Give Farina Elia the edge based on how she played against Chanda Rubin, but it's really who plays best with match nerves. They haven't played each other in years. Farina Elia is proving that you can get better in your late 20s and early 30s. She's continuing to improve and is one of the subtle, nice stories of The Championships.
Pick: Farina Elia

Ai Sugiyama (13), Japan, vs. Kim Clijsters (2), Belgium
This is a rematch of the final at Scottsdale that Sugiyama won in three sets. Clijsters is playing better than she was at the French and I don't think she's going to let her doubles partner beat her here. In that match in Scottsdale, Clijsters just made too many unforced errors, but she's taking care of the ball better here. She'll make sure that Sugiyama just has to worry about the doubles after Monday.
Pick: Clijsters