The words "Kim Clijsters" have hardly been spoken since the Olympic Games began, but today, the Belgian star drifted quietly into the quarterfinals with a straight set win over Ana Ivanovic. Clijsters is retiring at the end of the season (if she makes it that far), so there is probably some very big motivation for her at these Games.
Maria Sharapova and Sabine Lisicki gave fans plentry of drama today in a tense, somtimes topsy-turvy match that ended with Sharapova's 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 victory. The opening set was thrilling, with Sharapova winning the tiebreak 10-8. The players double-faulted 19 times, between them. And while their unforced error counts were almost equal, Sharapova hit more than twice as many winners as Lisicki.
Sharapova--who lost to Lisicki at Wimbledon--remains unbeaten in three-set matches.
Petra Kvitova remembered who she was today, and defeated Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-0. Kvitova hit 30 winners and made only 11 unforced errors; the forehand was finding the lines (and the court). Also winning was Maria Kirilenko, who took out Julia Goerges 7-6, 6-3. Another Russian, Nadia Petrova, made an exit, however. Top seed Victoria Azarenka beat Petrova 7-6, 6-4. It should be noted that Petrova held three set points in the first-set tiebreak. (All together now: Oh, Nadia.)
Caroline Wozniacki defeated Daniela Hantuchova, and Angelique Kerber defeated Venus Williams in two tiebreak sets. Then there was Serena Williams, who pretty much ran over Vera Zvonareva, 6-1, 6-0.
In doubles, Elena Vesnina had to spend more time with Liezel Huber, but it's Huber who will be spending more time on the Wimbledon courts. She and partner Lisa Raymond defeated Vesnina and partner Ekaterina Makarova, 6-3, 6-3. This means that top seeds Huber and Raymond have advanced to the semifinals.
Also winning in doubles today were Chuang Chia-Jung and Hsieh Su-Wei. They defeated Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone 7-5, 6-4.
Of note: Agnieszka Radwanska lost in mixed doubles today, so her Olympic Games are over.
Here is the singles quarterfinal draw:
Victoria Azarenka (1) vs. Angelique Kerber (7)
Serena Williams (4) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (8)
Kim Clijsters vs. Maria Sharapova (3)
Petra Kvitova (6) vs. Maria Kirilenko (14)
Anything can happen, but this draw points toward the renewal of some pretty tasty rivalries in the semifinals.