Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015 US OPEN: Women's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the women's quarterfinals at the US Open for 2015. Last year I correctly predicted 2 of 4 women's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals. This year I correctly predicted 2 of 4 women's quarterfinals and 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals.

Serena Williams (USA) [1] vs Roberta Vinci (ITA) [16]As I said before when I was predicting the women's quarterfinals, this semifinal was going to be irrelevant. The more interesting topic to discuss is the fact that for the second time in this tournament, Serena lost a set. The fact that it was against her sister Venus is not surprising, and to be sure, it never really looked like the defending champion was in danger of losing this match. Vinci did well to win a match I did not expect her to win by gutting out a 3-set win over Kiki Mladenovic. However, as an Italian journalist admitted in a press conference today, "Even in Italy we think [Vinci] has no chance." Despite the fact that she has never lost a set in 4 meetings to Vinci, Serena refuses to take anything for granted and said "She's in the semifinals for a reason." Amazingly, Vinci is one of three different Italian women to be in the semifinals of the U.S. Open in the last four years (Sara Errani in 2012, Pennetta in 2013, Vinci and Pennetta in 2015). Things did not work out too well for the Italians before and I doubt it will this year. PREDICTION: Williams.

Petra Kvitova (CZE) [5] Flavia Pennetta (ITA) [26] vs. Simona Halep (ROU) [2].  Pennetta surprised many people by taking out the 2-time Wimbledon champion in three tough sets. She was down a set and a break when P3tra started losing the range on her shots and allowed the Italian to escape with a 4-6 7-5 6-4 win. Halep's win was even more dramatic. She was playing another 2-time major champion in Victoria Azarenka, someone whom she had never beaten before. Things started off well for Halep, who won the first set by earning an early break and holding to take it 6-3, but then it was mostly one-way traffic in Vika's favor until the clouds grew grey and stormy. Just before play was suspended in the third set, Halep was able to get the break back despite being down 0-2 and ended up winning the final set 6-4. Major semifinals are incredibly important matches, as the winner gets to make history by apperaning in a major final. Halep is 1-1 in major semifinals to date while Pennetta is 0-1. Pennetta may actually think that she has more pressure on her because she has a 3-1 head-to-head advantage over Halep. However, that one win came earlier this year in Miami on hard courts while the losses occurred before Halep became the player she is todayPREDICTION: Halep. 

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