The 2008 US Open Women's semifinals are now set. Mad Professah correctly predicted 3 of the 4 women's quarterfinal match results.
Elena Dementieva RUS (5) vs. Jelena Jankovic SRB (2). Dementieva has always had her best Grand Slam sucess at the US Open, having reached the finals once (2004) and the semifinals four times (2000, 2004, 2005 and 2008). Jankovic was the #1 player in the World for one week during the Beijing Olympics while Dementieva was winning her second Olympic singles medal, a Gold eight years after winning the Silver in Sydney. The two have played each other seven times, with Jankovic holding the edge 4-3 overall, and 3-2 on hardcourts. They have split the matches they played this year, with Dementieva retiring hurt in Miami and Jankovic losing on her best surface of clay in Berlin. Dementieva's problematic serve has been surprisingly solid, and is currently a more effective weapon than Jankovic's. She has long had some of the best groundstrokes of any woman on the tour AND she moves well--her central weakness had been mental fortitude and a cringe-inducing service toss and motion. Jankovic is incredibly consistent and probably a slightly better mover, but I believe that Dementieva is on a roll that will get her to her third Grand Slam final, where, if she wins she will become the second Russian player to reach the top of the WTA rankings. PREDICTION: Dementieva in 3 sets.
Dinara Safina RUS (6) vs. Serena Williams USA (4). Although many people feel that Wednesday night's amazing quarterfinal match between Venus and Serena was the deciding showdown for who would win the 2008 US Open title, there are at least two other people who will try their best to not let that happen. The hottest player on tour, Dinara Safina, has made it to the final of the 6 of the last 7 tournaments she entered. Safina easily won the USTA's gimmicky US Open series of warm-up tournaments to the year's final major tournament in New York for the chance to win an extra $1 million dollars if she wins this title. In addition, if the Russian will become the #1 player in the world if she wins the 2008 US Open title. Unfortunately, she is playing 8-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, who is playing some of her best tennis and is in better shape than she has been in nearly 5 years when she dominated women's tennis completely. Head-to-head Safina has only beaten Serena once in four tries, but that victory came from the last time they played, on clay in Berlin in May. There Safina had an amazing run of beating World #1 Justine Henin in her final professional match, Serena in a 3rd set tiebreak, and then Elena Dementieva to win her first Tier 1 title. In fact, Safina is the first player to beat three WTA Tour #1 players in one calendar year (Henin in Berlin, Sharapova in Paris and Jankovic in Beijing) this summer.
Although prior to the start of the tournament I predicted Venus Williams would be in this semifinal and lose to Safina who would then defeat Dementieva for the title, after Wednesday's match I can not see how any of the three players remaining in the tournament can deny Serena Williams her 9th Grand Slam title if she continues to play at that level. If anyone can do it, it will be Safina playing at her best, and it will be because Serena has a letdown after beating her sister. However, I believe that Serena will try and honor her sister by finding a way to get to the final, where she will be the heavy favorite against Dementieva or Jankovic.
PREDICTION: Williams in 3 sets.