Andy Murray of Great Britain signs autographs for fans after a practice session during day ten of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.
Some call her the Fierce Stomping Diva. I call her Serena the Great. Whatever you call her, there's no question that she's the queen of comebacks Down Under. Last night, when ESPN flashed a graphic listing all of Serena's great come-from-behind wins at the Australian Open, I saw in one shot why I fell for the never-say-die champion.
After falling behind a set and 4-0 to Victoria Azarenka, I didn't believe she had another one in her. But she clicked in, Azarenka blinked, and that was all she wrote.
One of Serena's most irrational Internet critics once called Serena pure evil. He holds an interesting theory that she plans such comebacks on purpose in order to crush the spirit of the opponent and to maintain a mental advantage over said opponent moving forward.
Even I don't give Serena that much credit. I mean, really. If Serena is that calculating, if she has that much confidence in her abilities to execute such a calculation, then she's a badder bitch than I could have ever imagined falling for.
Here's hoping she won't need to pull off any more great escapes at this event. Once advancing past the quarterfinals in Melbourne, she has always won the event. I'm picking her over Li Na in straight sets.
As much as I'm happy to see two Chinese players in the final four of a Slam for the first time, and at the Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific, no less, I'm going to give Zheng Jie a 10% chance to overcome the cheating Justine Henin, who'll blast returns by Zheng and advance in straight sets.
As for the men, I'm thinking Marin Cilic is finally going to make Andy Murray play more than three sets Down Under. And I think the cerebral giant is going to win and advance to his first Grand Slam final.
Mad Professah's picks are here and here.
Who you got?
Order Of Play For Thursday, 28 January 2010
Rod Laver Arena 11:00 Start Time
1. Men's Doubles - Semifinals
Ivo Karlovic(CRO)/Dusan Vemic(SRB) v. Daniel Nestor(CAN)/Nenad Zimonjic(SRB)
2. Women's Singles - Semifinals
Serena Williams (USA) v. Na Li (CHN)
3. Women's Singles - Semifinals
Justine Henin (BEL) v. Jie Zheng (CHN)
Rod Laver Arena 19:30 Start Time
1. Men's Singles - Semifinals
Marin Cilic (CRO) v. Andy Murray (GBR)
*(Before folks go off on the order of the women's semifinals, Serena has a doubles match to play later in the day, so she has to play first. Even with the shorter turnaround, it's the right schedule.)