For the first time in eight years, there are no Russian women in the quarterfinals of the U.S Open. The Russian emergence that occurred at the beginning of the last decade is still going strong, but--thanks largely to Melanie Oudin--several of the top Russian players, including the one thought most likely to win this year--are gone. Oudin also took care of one up-and-coming Russian player, and a few others went out early in the tournament. The remaining Russians, Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova, were removed by Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki.
Here is the quarterfinal draw:
Li Na vs. Kim Clijsters: Clijsters is the favorite here, but the Li forehand is on fire at this tournament, and that could make for a really good match.
Flavia Pennetta vs. Serena Williams: Williams is the favorite here, of course, but Pennetta's spectacular display of mental strength and tennis mastery last night should create interest in the match.
Yanina Wickmayer vs. Kateryna Bondarenko: Bondarenko has a 4-1 career record against Wickmayer, with the last victory coming recently in Cincinnati. Nevertheless, nerves may be the most important factor in this match. Bondarenko, by the way, has yet to drop a set at the Open, and she has upset both Gisela Dulko and Ana Ivanovic.
Melanie Oudin vs. Caroline Wozniacki: If there were poetic justice, Oudin would be playing Svetlana Kuznetsova, which would give her five Russians in a row. Kuznetsova lost her round of 16 match, though, so Oudin's brief Russian-stomping run is over. One has to wonder whether the 70th seed can survive another three-set thriller. I don't think the occasion will bother her too much, though it may trouble Wozniacki. Or not. Wozniacki held her nerve to defeat Kuznetsova, and she may be on the verge of more of a breakthrough.