|Serena Williams (USA)  vs Venus Williams (USA) |
Women's Semifinals Review: How They Got Here
Venus Williams (USA)  d. Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 6-7(3) 6-2 6-3. The result of this match was very much in doubt for its entire duration. Vandeweghe began the match with a break but Venus was able to save three breakpoints before succumbing in that very first service game. This defense ended up characterizing her play for most of the match. Although, Coco was often successful in winning a particular point, Venus made it as difficult as possible, and when she had an opportunity she seized them. It wasn't until late in the third set that Venus failed to convert a breakpoint. The key point in the match was the first set tiebreaker which was won by CoCo when Venus made numerous unforced errors to allow the 25-year-old to win 4 points in a row. But it was Venus' reaction to the first set loss that was extraordinary. She had a look on her face that we had never seen before and suddenly her serve started clicking and her error count dramatically decreased. She raced out to a 5-1 lead in the second set and served it out with an ace to in 6-2. In the third set Venus saved the two break points she faced and she broke CoCo twice to win 6-3 and improbably reach her second Australian Open final fourteen years after her first one, as the oldest player in the 128-player draw.
Women's Final Preview: Who Will Win
Venus and Serena have played 27 times before and Serena leads 16-11 in their head-to-head. More importantly they have played each other 8 times in major finals and Serena leads there 6-2. Of course Serena has 23 major titles and Venus has "only" 7.
That being said, this is a more important match for Serena than for Venus. If she wins, she reclaims the #1 ranking, will finally supersede Steffi Graf's total of 22 major titles and will be one away from getting to Margaret Court's 24 majors (but many of those were won in Australia before the Open era began). She will also have won 7 Australian Open titles, the most of any man or woman in the Open era (Court won 12.) There is no one who has beaten Serena more times and the two know each other's games intimately. That being said, their matches are very unpredictable, and usually not very high quality. Interestingly, most people point to their 2003 Australian Open (won 6-4 in the 3rd by Serena) as perhaps their highest quality match. It would be awesome if history repeats itself again.
MadProfessah's pick: Serena in 3 sets.