Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Australian Open 2010: Women's Semifinals Preview

by Mad Professah

Previously, I predicted the results of 3 of the 4 the men's quarterfinals correctly but only 1 of 4 of the women's quarterfinals correctly. Here is my women's semifinals preview:

Serena Williams USA (1) vs. Na Li CHN (16) Venus Williams USA (6). Yesterday was a pretty rough day for fans of the Williams sisters. Older sister Venus somehow managed to lose a match despite being up a set and a break. She served for the match (in the sun) at 6-2, 5-4! In the deciding third set there were 9 breaks of serve through 12 games. I mildly disagree with people who are saying it is destined to be "the ugliest match of the year" although it must be said it was hard to watch. It was doubly disappointing because if Venus had won the match she could have been ranked as high as World #3 on Monday. Anyway, congratulations to Li Na for winning her first major quarterfinal 2-6, 7-6(4) 7-5. The Chinese player has now beaten the 7-time major champion twice on huge stages (the first victory was at the Beijing Olympics). After the drama of Venus' loss it was doubly distressing to see Serena down 4-6, 0-4 before she finally started serving properly. The World #1 player had not been broken in 4 matches in Melbourne and was broken 5 times in her 5th. Her comeback to win this match was a truly remarkable achievement because Serena made her opponent absolutely irrelevant. After winning 5 games in a row it was crystal clear that the winner of the match would be decided by what Serena Williams did with her racket, not what Azarenka did. Serena started serving well and in response to the Belorussian's increasingly piercing shrieks quietly pulverized the ball into the corners of the court to seal a 4-6, 7-6(4) 6-2 win. I set up my preview of the women's semifinal with a review of what the two combatants experienced the round before in order to place this semifinal in context. It will be contested between two players who have stared defeat in the face and come through with a victory. This should free up both players to play their best tennis, but if Serena plays her best tennis, there's no one who is going to beat her, even if her mobility is limited. She desperately wants to defend her Australian title and match the Grand Slam singles total of one her idols, Billie Jean King, at twelve. This match will take her one step closer to that goal.
MadProfessah's pick: Serena in 2 sets.

Justine Henin BEL vs. Jie Zheng CHN. Two semifinalists at the same Grand Slam from one country is a significant achievement for any nation and the fact that the Williams family has achieved it so many times (8, at my count) should be acknowledged. However, today the future of tennis is here with two Chinese players in the semifinals of a major. Sadly, they are on opposite sides of the draw so it is not a certainty that a Chinese player will compete for tennis's highest prize, in fact it is highly improbable. The 7-time major champion from Belgium will dismiss the 2-time major semifinalist from China without much drama or complications, setting up a mouthwatering final tennis fans have been waiting five years to see: Justine Henin versus Serena Williams playing well at the same time in a Grand Slam final. MadProfessah's pick: Henin in 2 sets.

8 comments:

Dapxin said...

hehe. who's playing first?

Karen said...

Daxpin, unfortunately they have Serena's match up first which I think is just plain wrong as she has had a later turn around time, plus Justine has had 2 days off. The scheduling at th AO well and truly does suck.

Dapxin said...

well, that's not even compatible with natural fairness in sports.

do they throw a coin normally for this ?

rabbit said...

Serena is also playing the doubles with Venus, so anyways she'd have to play a match during the first session.

Karen said...

yes, but what I am saying is that they could have made her play her semis last, get rested and then go play doubles. It is not like they dont have the whole day or dont have enough courts to do this.

rabbit said...

Karen, I agree that could have been better, and I don't understand all their time constraints.

But as it is, they don't have any doubles match during the evening session. Right now, they have the Venus/Serena doubles match as the last doubles match played (men or women). And I guess they couldn't have the Serena singles match be the second one because that would give too little time between the singles and doubles match. Maybe pushing the doubles match even later would have screwed up with the logistics of clearing the day session spectators out? I'm not sure.

Matt said...

I'm praying that Serena crushes Li, and that will in turn get Henin very nervous and shakey a-la Wimbledon when she lost to Bartoli. I would love to see Zheng make her first final but I want SW to win number 12 so badly!!!!

Craig said...

I like the way you think, Matt.