Friday, June 03, 2016

2016 FRENCH OPEN: Women's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the women's semifinal matches at the 2016 French Open. Last year I correctly predicted 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals. This year I correctly predicted 4 of 4 men's quarterfinals and 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals. I will also do a preview of the men's semifinals.

Serena Williams [1] vs Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) [8] Kiki Bertens (NED).  Can anyone stop Kiki? The 24-year-old Dutch phenom had never made it into the second week of a slam and is now just one match away from playing for a Grand Slam title! It's shocking to think that Kiki Bertens has been more impressive en route to the semifinal then the World #1, but in some sense that is true. Bertens beat Angelique Kerber in the first round but also has taken several other prominent scalps along the way: #15 Madison Keys, #29 Daria Kasatkina and #8 Timea Bacsinszky. In comparison, Serena has only played two seeded players #26 Kiki Mladenovic and #18 Elina Svitolina. On the other hand, Serena leads their brief head-to-head 1-0, having won a surprisingly close encounter at the 2015 US Open. Presumably Serena will take this match seriously since she sees the good players that Bertens has dismissed. Even so, I will still be astonished if Serena does not reach her 4th French Open final (she is 3-1 in Roland Garros semifinals and 3-0 in Roland Garros finals). I'm sure Serena is quite happy that  she's playing Kiki Bertens instead of her sister Venus (as the draw had initially indicated). Mad Professah's Pick: S. Williams.

Samantha Stosur (AUS) [21] vs Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [4] These two have only played once before, but it was on clay (in Madrid), and Stosur won that match 6-1 in the third. Muguruza's ascension to the #3 ranking in the World after her dreamlike run to the Wimbledon final was not unexpected, but it was surprising that it happened on grass and not a hard court. But the Venezuelan-born 22-year-old who plays for Spain and has trained on clay in her formative years was always expected to be competing for majors and the #1 ranking at some point and it looks like those days have arrived. The 32-year-old Australian has had excellent success in Paris, having reached the semifinals four times in her career (1-2 record) but there is a reason why Muguruza is seeded #4 compared to Stosur's #21 at this year's tournament. Even though Stosur is a 2-time major finalist, she is not as mentally tough as her opponent, as their different WTA tour final records (Stosur is 8W-15L while Muguruza is 2W-3L) reflect. I believe that will be the difference that leads the young Spaniard to her second major final in as many years. MadProfessah's prediction: Muguruza.

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