I'm in San Diego playing in a tennis tournament myself so I have limited access to my blog. However, I was able to catch most of Serena's match in the semifinals of the 2015 Rogers Cup in Toronto last night against 18 year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.
Clearly Serena's elbow injury is real and it is impacting her serve. Serena lost to Bencic 3-6 7-5 6-4 in a taut, drama-filled encounter. Serena was on in the second set until the 8th game when she inexplicably got broken. Bencic had a set point serving at 5-3 and threw in a very nervous double fault. Serena pounced, broke back and then held serve for 5-all. But then, Serena had 0-40 on Bencic's serve and somehow failed to convert on any of those break points as well as a few others and the Swiss teenager held serve. Then Serena had to hold serve at 5-6 and started missing multiple serves (I think at one point she missed FIVE in a row) and got broken to lose the second set. She immediately demolished her racquet.
In the third set things went from bad to worse for Serena. She fell behind 1-5 when suddenly she calmed down and steadied her game. She brought it all the way back to 4-5 (breaking Bencic twice in succession) . In the final game Serena started with an ace but good returning by Bencic caused her to get behind in the points early and Serena eventually faced a break point which was also match point.
Bencic returned Serena's second serve well (first serve missed by a mile) and then was able to hit a winner to close out the match for an incredible win.
It was Serena's first 3-set loss of 2015 (now 15-1) and her first loss to a teenager since losing to Sloane Stephens in the 2013 Australian Open quarterfinals. It was also Serena's only second loss of the year (now 41-2). She had 59 unforced errors and 64 winners (+5) while Bencic had 5 more errors than winners.
Bencic will face Simona Halep in the 2015 Rogers Cup final.
MadProfessah's prediction: Halep.