Sunday, September 07, 2014

2014 US OPEN: Women's Final Preview

Here are my predictions for the women's final at the 2014 US OpenThis year I have correctly predicted 2 of 2 women's semifinals2 of 4 women's quarterfinals, 0 of 2 men's semifinals and 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals at the U.S. Open. Last year I correctly predicted Serena Williams would defeat Victoria Azarenka in the 2013 U.S. Open women's final.

WHAT HAPPENED: Women's Semifinal Review
Serena Williams (USA) [1] d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) [17] 6-1 6-3. Serena Williams got revenge for her loss to Makarova in the doubles draw by opening up a can of whoops a** in their singles match. Serena had lost to the lefty Russian in a major before so she took this match very serious and was never in any danger of losing, enjoying hefty leads in both sets. Serena ended the match with 24 winners to only 15 unforced errors.

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [10] d. Shuai Peng (CHN) 7-6(1) 4-3 (ret.). As expected, Wozniacki was able to reach her second career major final by outlasting Peng Shuai. However, what was unexpected was the near-farcical manner in which the match concluded when Peng collapsed on the court due to heat exhaustion after leaving the court for 10 minutes prior where she was assessed and treated by medical professionals. The match ended with a retirement from Peng and soon after she was removed from the court in wheelchair!

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Women's Final Preview
Serena Williams (USA) [1] vs Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [10].  Serena boasts an 8-1 head-to-head over her gal pal Caro and has to be highly favored to finally win the 18th major title of her career. The main problem for Wozniacki is that she has no weapon that  Serena has to fear. Wozniacki's best chance to win the match (which certainly is possible) is if she is able to absorb and redirect her opponent's power and ultimately frustrate Serena into making too many unforced errors. 
This is unlikely to happen because Serena does not have to bring out her overwhelming weaponry to overpower Caroline. 

It is significant that the two have met twice in the last three weeks and both matches were tight, tough 3-set affairs decided late in the 3rd set. It is also true, that mentally, more pressure will be on Serena, because she will be expected to win this match. For Wozniacki no one ever thought she would reach another major final, so just by reaching the final she has exceeded expectations. However, as Billie Jean King says, "Pressure is a privilege" and I'm confident Serena will get through the pressure situation to win her 3rd consecutive title in New York, and record 18th overall, tying the mark of Martina Navratilova and Chris EvertPREDICTION: Williams.

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