Saturday, September 12, 2015

2015 US OPEN: Women's Final Preview (and Semifinals Review)

Roberta Vinci (ITA) vs. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) [26] 
Here are my predictions for the women's final at the US Open for 2015. Last year I correctly predicted Serena Williams would defeat Caroline WozniackiThis year I correctly predicted 0 of 2 women's semifinals, 2 of 2 men's semifinals2 of 4 women's quarterfinals and 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals.

Women's Semifinals Review: How They Got Here
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Serena Williams (USA) [1] 2-6 6-4 6-4. Once the other two grand slam champions (Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka) were removed from the tournament in the quarterfinals, the chances of Serena's eventual victory skyrocketed. The three remaining semifinalists possessed one win over Serena in 19 matches played so in theory the American should have been able to achieve the calendar grand slam with much less than her "A" game. However, inexplicably and quite surprisingly, somehow this did not happen. Despite winning the first set 6-2 in 36 minutes, Serena was broken in the second set and was unable to break her Italian opponent's serve, despite its relative weakness. (This was punctuated by Vinci hitting a bizarre 83 mph ace in the 8th game of the second set.)  Serena was clearly nervous and stopped moving her feet and going for 100 percent on her shots. This allowed Vinci to go for her shots and play well within herself and sneak out the last two sets and complete the most stunning upset in tennis of the century, if not ever.

Flavia Pennetta (ITA) [26] d. Simona Halep (ROU) [2] 6-1 6-3.  Pennetta played some of the best tennis of her life to dismiss Halep, who never seemed to find her best tennis despite playing in this incredibly important match that would determine who gets to play in a major final. The 33-year-old Italian was able to win 15 points in a row at one point, even after the 23-year-old Romanian had finally managed to earn a 3-1 lead in the second set, only to see it disappear quickly. Pennetta ended up winning the last five games in a row, punctuated by a blistering forehand winner on mach point which barely clipped the baseline as it zoomed past the hapless Halep.  

Women's Final Preview: Who Will Win
Who would have thought that there would (ever) be an Italian women's final at a major? Pennetta was a 150-to-1 bet to reach the final while Vinci was a 300-to-1 bet to get there. And yet these two players will face off for the 2015 U.S. Open women's singles title. Pennetta has more power and leads their head-to-head 5-4, but surprisingly the two have not played since 2013. Can Vinci really get over winning the most incredible match of her and play her first major final less than 24 hours later and play her best tennis? Somehow I doubt it. MadProfessah's pick: Pennetta.

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