Thursday, July 05, 2012

2012 Wimbledon: Women's Semifinals Preview


Agnieszka Radwanska POL (3) vs. Angelique Kerber GER (8). These two players are the most consistent winners on the WTA this year, with 45 wins for the German and 43 for the Pole but none of these matches in 2012 have been against each other. Kerber faced her countrywoman Sabine Lisicki in her quarterfinal and despite blowing multiple match points and a 3-0 lead in the second set, the mature lefty was able to come back from 3-5 down in the third set and win the match after Boom Boom started to misfire. Radwanska had her ticket to her very first major semifinal on her racket in the second set and tightened up and lost the middle set to Maria Kirilenko on an emotionally challenging day with multiple rain delays. Eventually the match was moved from an outside court yo under the roof on Centre Court and the nearly 3 hour long affair ended with a Radwanska victory. Their career head-to-head is tied at 2-all with Kerber defeating the higher ranked Radwanka during her dream run to the 2011 US Open semifinals and the Pole getting revenge a few weeks later in Japan. The fact that these two players are competing for a historic place in a Wimbledon final will most likely lead to a low-quality, nervy match won by the player who can control her emotions in order to keep control of her game. I suspect that person will be the one who has the reputation of being a 2.0 version of Martina HingisPREDICTION: Radwanska.

Serena Williams USA (6) vs.  Victoria Azarenka BLR (2). This showdown between the 2012 Australian Open champion and the 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 Australian Open champion should be the last great women's match of this year's championships. Serena Williams has only lost to Victoria Azarenka once in 8 meetings (2009 Sony Ericsson Open final in Miami), and was clearly hampered in her movement in that match. As she amply demonstrated in her straight sets dismissal of the defending Wimbledon champion, her serve is still the biggest weapon in women's tennis and her movement is at or very near the level which has brought her to 6 finals here, winning 4 titles. Azarenka played well to get past the hottest player on grass this year, Tamira Paszek, in two tights sets. However, Serena is no Tamira Paszek. The only thing which could stop Serena reaching her 7th final (and winning her 5th Wimbledon championship) this year would be if she at age 30 she is suddenly afflicted with nerves which prevents her from playing her best tennis. Serena's puzzling loss to Samantha Stosur in the 2011 US Open final still has never really been explained to my satisfaction. Another factor could Azarenka realizing that she has never matched up well against Serena and thus playing fearless tennis, akin to what she did after dropping the first 3 games in the Australian Open final against Maria Sharapova this year. One needs to remember that this is only Azarenka's 3rd major semifinal, and she is also going to be nervous. It's very possible that the match could be very close, but it is hard to imagine a scenario where Serena is not raising the Venus Rosewater dish above her head on Saturday. PREDICTION: Williams.


Anonymous said...

I'm predicting Kerber in a three set thriller. And Serena, also in a three set thriller. Serena will be nervous, although she's saying in every interview that she's not and "has nothing to lose". Viki is hungry has probably one of the most convincing defeats of Serena in Maimi 2009, albeit on hard court rather than grass.

carter said...

Glad to see your choices were correct. Venus/Serena now playing doubles on Centre Court, and up a set and a break.
Would be great to see Serena win both titles, and then head for the Olympics on these very same courts!
Talk about having a head start for gold medals!


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