#1 Katsura Hinagiku (24-0, 3-0) vs. #11 Sengoku Nadeko (19-5, 2-1)
In the first of our veteran vs. rookie match of Sapphire 4, we see a matchup between a girl who's proven her ability to win big and another girl who has the potential to win it all. Hinagiku has proven she's one difficult opponent to defeat, and despite facing a 66.67% win rating during this time in Sapphire last year, she was able to improve on her performance and claim not only the Ruby Necklace, but become the Bearer of the Heavenly Tiara as well. The 2010 match schedules may have not been so nice to her, however, with the SDO tiebreaker edging her out of claiming the necklace in all the last 3 periods despite going undefeated. That being said, Sapphire may prove to be a good period for her to claim her first 2010 necklace - but she'll need to get over one of the hot newcomers first. Nadeko, although falling out of the race for the Sapphire necklace early with a loss against Azusa in Sapphire 2, has demonstrated her ability to defeat most of the other girls - but has struggled to take out any of the Top 10. If Nadeko wishes to set herself up in the ranks of her other rookie peers like Mio and Azusa and claim a necklace, a win today against the reigning champion might give the shy girl some confidence to shine and deliver. So will our reigning champion prove too much for Nadeko, or can she gather enough confidence to pull through with her first Top 10 victory?
Hiiragi Kagami (16-8, 2-1) vs. #14 Senjōgahara Hitagi (18-6, 2-1)
Sapphire has proven to be a period of interesting relevations. One of them being, that for the first time, one of the "Elite 7" girls from 2008, those who completely dominated the rankings back in ISML 2008, has fallen out of the Top 16 - that girl being Hiiragi Kagami. Kagami has found herself in this rather difficult position of sitting just outside the Top 16, but she desperately needs a win today to reprise her position there. However, her challenger today may prove to be a bit more difficult than she would have wanted with Hitagi, a true wildcard, who despite having a lower Votes For and Votes Differential than Kagami, has been able to accumulate more wins than her. So can Kagami teach the newbie a lesson or will Hitagi show that age has gotten the better of her rival?
#7 Saber (21-3, 3-0) vs. #9 Nakano Azusa (20-4, 3-0)
If there's anything to be said about Saber is that, her performance has been relatively consistent with how she did last during this time in ISML. Despite possessing the strength to surpass most of her competition, Saber has fallen at final round of each period and thus been eliminated from the contention of receiving the necklace. Today, however, Saber might face an even greater obstacle than her previous opponents that could see her out of the race for the necklace before she even reaches the final round, that being Nakano Azusa. Veterans like Hinagiku, Tomoyo, Taiga and Mikoto would be quite relieved that they had defeated this hot newcomer in previous periods, as Azusa has shown that a strong performance from the get-go of Sapphire has put her in a very likely position to earn the Sapphire necklace should she outs Saber today. So, will it be the one who wields the sword that slays all or the one who plays the guitar that pleases all that will remain in the running for the coveted necklace of the lustrous Earth today?
And another one, because Fate needs more love.
#15 Fate Testarossa (17-7, 2-1) vs. Shiina Mafuyu (14-10, 2-1)
Fate has found herself in a rather frustrating pattern in performance this year. Despite trying her best, the ISML 2008 champion has been denied an opportunity to earn a necklace in her opening round and 4th rounds of each period. She's looking to break that trend today and hopefully return to her former strength against her opponent, Mafuyu, who on paper appears to a weaker opponent than those she has previously faced in the 4th round. However, Mafuyu does have the statistics to support her; with a higher Votes Differential and Votes For total, and a lower Votes Against total than Fate and she may see this as an opportunity for her to break into the Top 16. So can Mafuyu be the catalyst that sends the 2nd member of the former "Elite 7" out of the Top 16 or will Fate prove that the girls from Seitokai no Ichizon are no longer viable in ISML?