So here we are. In the order they will be contested:
Li Na, who's been enjoying some of her time in Chinatown, can beat Kim Clijsters. But I don't think the best Chinese singles player is going to excuse Comeback Kimmie. Unless, of course, the Belgian undoes herself, which remains a strong possibility. I know Venus Williams is Venus Williams, but the tour's newest mother champion allowed a woman on one leg to bagel her after she delivered her own. That betrays an inconsistency a player with Li's speed and firepower can take advantage of. If she, of course, doesn't undo herself. Comeback Kimmie in 3.
Flavia Pennetta survived 6 match points. That makes her more dangerous than she might otherwise be. Serena Williams has been known to lose many a head-scratcher in the quarterfinals of a Slam. I won't bother to list them, but you know what they are. One, a nightmatch on Arthur Ashe stadium five years ago. The defending champion is trying to successfully defend a Slam title for only the second time in her career and not since Wimbledon 2003. She might be particularly nervous. The gutsy Italian doesn't have a serve, so if Serena's return game is on point, this is going to go fast. Serena in straights.
Kateryna Bondarenko would be playing Jelena Jankovic, but since the Serbian's grandmother died, she'll face Yanina Wickmayer instead. In the top half of the Tier III event, the younger Bondarenko sister should use her experience in winning a doubles Slam to subdue the the young Belgian, whom I haven't even seen strike a tennis ball, so what do I know? Who would've thought this year's final eight would feature two Belgians? Bondarenko in 3.
In what I called the most intriguting quarter of the draw, we get the fortnight's best story. 17-year-old Russian killer Melanie Oudin will play the propagandists' queen Caroline Wozniacki. As Lan said, Melanie slayed the entire Russian Fed Cup squad -- past, present, and future. Almost had a chance to oust another one, but alas the headcase that is Svetlana Kuznetsova couldn't get out of her own way to take out the counterpunching Dane clad in a potato sack with ruffles. I speak of her appearance because that's about the only thing making the media propagandists salivate all over her. This is a player deep in the third set of a second-week Slam encounter posting 5 winners to 4 unforced errors. Not my cup of tea. Oudin has a forehand she can call a weapon, but she's also a counterpuncher. Still, her attitude, her ability to make midmatch adjustments -- her guts -- endears her to me nonetheless. As one of her hometown friends said in an article that made CNN.com's front page, "It's still so surreal. She sort of wins no matter what happens. She's there going for it and not giving up." I think she's going to give the propagandists heartburn. Melanie in 3.
No matter what happens we are guaranteed a first-time finalist, perhaps even a youngster who storms through the draw out of nowhere and wins her first Slam against all the odds.