Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2018 AUS OPEN: Women's Semifinals Preview and Predictions

Here are my predictions for the women's semifinals at the 2018 Australian Open. Last year I did not predict the quarterfinals but correctly predicted 1 of 2 men's semifinals and 2 of 2 women's semifinalsThis year I predicted correctly 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals and 2 of 4 men's quarterfinals. I have also predicted the men's semifinals.

Simona Halep (ROU) [1] vs. Angelique Kerber [21] (GER). Halep has already played the match of the tournament by surviving a 3 hours 44 minute tussle with American Lauren Davis in the third round, while Kerber is looking like she has been able to capture the form that allowed her to beat Serena Williams in the final here two years ago. They both got here by dispatching two tall, hard-hitting opponents. Halep went down 0-3 (and breakpoint) against Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinal but then won 12 of the next 14 games to sweep the Czech player 6-3 6-2. Halep was even more dominant against 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys with a 6-1 6-2 win. These two have a head-to-head tied at 4-all but they did not meet at all in 2017 where Halep had her #1 ranking performance. They met 5 times in 2016 when Kerber was winning 2 majors and ended the year #1 and Kerber won 4 of those matches. This will almost certainly not be a straight sets sweep by one player; if it is not a 3-set, 3-hour war of attrition of shotmaking and indefatigable ball retrieving many will be quite disappointed. I think this is basically a tossup but I think I will go with Halep because I think the fact that she is ranked World #1 now and has already saved match point(s) in this tournament will give her the confidence to persevere even when things get tight and grim. PREDICTION: Halep.

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [2] vs. Elise Mertens (BEL) [16] Elina Svitolina (UKR) [4].   Elina Svitolina again showed she has some steps to go before her success on the WTA tour translates to meaningful success in the biggest stages of the game, in the majors. She has previously easily beaten Elise Mertens in a clay court final last year, but in a major quarterfinal in Melbourne she managed to win only 4 games and suffered a 2nd set bagel. Bizarrely, her opponent in the semifinal, Caroline Wozniacki started by giving her quarterfinal opponent, Carla Suarez Navarro a bagel in the first set and blew a matchpoint in the second set which she lost in a tiebreak. Most other players that might signal a meltdown in the third set but the Wozniacki just got back to work and easily won the deciding set 6-2. Wozniacki has only ever reached major finals in New York City but I believe that is about to change as she rides the confidence of surviving matchpoint down in the 2nd round and the absence of Serena Williams from the women's game to (perhaps) win her first major title. PREDICTIONWozniacki

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin