Cincinnati semifinals should be worth watching

Who would possibly want to get into a hitting contest with Petra Kvitova?

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova would! In a day of very enjoyable quarterfinals, Pavlyuchenkova may have lost, but she let everyone see why she is still one to be watched. In fact, the rally that the Russian won in the sixth game of the second set was easily worth the price of admission. Pavlyuchenkova served really well, and wasn't afraid to take a big (but sometimes subtle) game to Kvitova. In the end, though, it was Kvitova who knew what to do, and her 6-3, 7-6 victory takes her to the semifinals, in which she'll play Angelique Kerber.

Kerber played with great steadiness of mind as she defeated Serena Williams, of all people, in straight sets. Williams was clearly not feeling it, and her frustration was on display throughout much of the match. One can't help but think that fatigue was a major factor. Kerber defeated Williams 6-4, 6-4.

Li Na practically ran through Agnieszka Radwanska, and beat her 6-1, 6-1. Radwanska had her shoulder (you know, that shoulder) tended to in the second set, and part of the time, she seemed to be just barely setting up her shots. None of this bothered Li, who is suddenly looking like her old hard court master self.

And then there was Venus Williams. Williams and Sam Stosur engaged in a very well-played match, which could have gone either way, but it was Williams who prevailed, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4. The two players broke each other 11 times and played for over two hours and 34 minutes--and Williams looked filled with energy, even at the end. She was thrilled, and surely this match marked a turning point for her, because here she is, suddenly, in the semifinals in Cincinnati.

Earlier in the day, the ESPN commentators had a lot to say about Caroline Wozniacki, who lost her quarterfinal match to Pavlyuchenkova. They talked about whose "voice" Wozniacki really hears as she trains, and Brad Gilbert was adamant in stating that there should be only one voice. He also said he thought Wozniacki's number one priority should be to get her movement back to its former level. "Confidence equals two steps quicker on the court," Pam Shriver noted. In all, it was a thoughtful discussion.