Thursday, 5 September 2013

US Open Day 12, Womens Semi-Final Predictions: Serena-Li and Azarenka-Pennetta

1. Serena Williams v Li Na
Li Na
Both playing extremely well this week, all things look rosey for a fine womens semi-final between Serena Williams and Li Na.  Serena showed absolutely no mercy against Carla Suarez Navarro, who was served up a double bagel on her birthday in their quarter-final match.  Li lost her first set of the tournament, but showed character and slightly more margin to extinguish a great effort from Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4 6-7 6-2.  Serena holds a significant lead in their head-to-head with an 8-1 advantage.  The majority of their matches have been tight though with Serena winning twice in 2 tight sets this year in Miami and most recently in Cincy.  This will be their first Grand Slam match since 2010.  I cannot say it is a particularly fun match-up to watch and from previous experiences there have been some pretty ugly matches between the pair.  I have a feeling (and my feelings haven't been accurate at all this week) that Li will grab a set in a really competitive match.

Prediction - Serena to beat Li in 3 sets

2. Flavia Pennetta v Victoria Azarenka
Flavia Pennetta
The big surprise this week has been the re-emergence of Flavia Pennetta, who reached her first Grand Slam semi-final with a solid and composed performance against fellow Italian, Roberta Vinci, 6-4 6-1.  A quite telling stat is that Pennetta has made 4 Grand Slam quarter-finals and all of them have been at the US Open.  She obviously loves this surface and her form has really picked up of late; many may forget that she also made the last 16 at Wimbledon where she fell to eventual semi-finalist, Kirsten Flipkens in 2 tight sets.

Victoria Azarenka has not looked her best this week, but the one thing that sets her aside from the majority of WTA players is that she knows how to win ugly.  She did it all week in Cincy and then still not playing 100% at her best, pulled out all the tricks to beat Serena.  Azarenka put in an improved performance to defeat Daniela Hantuchova in the quarter-finals, 6-2 6-3.  The last time Azarenka and Pennetta played was when Vika was at her rock bottom before she turned it all around to the compounding success she has witnessed in the last two years.  Pennetta won that match in Dubai, but I predict a different result and the final that most called.

Prediction - Azarenka to beat Pennetta in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)


  1. This what Nick Bollettieri said about Li Na: Despite falling to Serena Williams in two tiebreak sets, I was thoroughly impressed by Na Li. She is one heck of a tennis player and her groundstrokes are excellent from both sides.
    1. She has a very compact swing pattern from both sides with instant backswing preparation.
    2. She has a very low base and uses her strong legs for balance and power.
    3. She stands very close to the baseline because of the previously mentioned items and this allows her to make early contact and puts her opponents on the defense.
    4. She covers all of the court as well as anyone.
    5. She is in tip-top shape.
    6. She hits with very little spin and still has control and depth.
    7. She also plays great defense and anticipates the path of the ball extremely well.
    Then Carlos Rodriguez, former trainer of Justine Henin found something in Li Na being improved : now I discovered a lot of things — tactically, technically, physically in the way she moves on court. She moves very well but not that efficiently, not in the right way to be really 100 percent on the ball at the right time to take the right decision.
    I still say Li Na will win. By the way, betting on Li Na now will yield 650% of return. EP