Thursday, June 06, 2019

2019 FRENCH OPEN: Women's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the women's semifinals at the 2019 French Open I will also predict the men's semifinals. This year I predicted 0 of 4 women's quarterfinals correctly and 4 of 4 men's quarterfinals correctly. Last year I predicted 2 of 2 men's semifinals correctly and 2 of 2 women's semifinals correctly

Simona Halep (ROU) [3] Ananda Anisimova (USA) vs. Ashleigh Barty (AUS) [8]. 17-year-old American phenom Amanda Anisimova, who Matt Roberts of the Tennis Podcast says "has the best backhand in women's tennis" pulled off the biggest upset of an already surprising women's tournament at Roland Garros. She defeated last year's French Open champion and the prohibitive favorite Simona Halep in straight sets. In fact, Anisimova has won all 10 sets of tennis she has played at Roland Garros this year!  She will face Ash Barty who is the only player to be ranked in the Top 10 of both singles and doubles simultaneously on either side of the draw. Barty has been playing excellent tennis all year, having won her biggest title in Miami by defeating World #2 Karolina Pliskova. Barty was able to blunt the power of last year's semifinalist Madison Keys to reach her first major semifinal. Barty is now the highest rated player remaining in the draw, and has an excellent chance of winning her first Grand Slam singles title (she has two Grand Slam doubles titles). She has never played Anisimova before but her game is difficult for anyone to handle, with lots of spins and fearlessness at the net. Who will feel more nerves, the 23-year-old favorite or the 17-year-old upstart? Anisimova showed (almost) no nerves in her dismissal of Halep, so I suspect it will be Barty, but I think the Aussie's game will get her to the finish line. PREDICTION: Barty.

Sloane Stephens (USA) [7] Johanna Konta (GBR) [26] vs Marketa Vondrousova (CZE).  What is it about the French Open that so many players win their first (and perhaps only) major title here? Jelena Ostapenko (2017), Francesca Schiavone (2011)  and Anastaasia Myskina (2004) are just a few that come to mind. Can Johanna Konta join this list? She had never won a main draw match at Roland Garros yet when she defeated last year's finalist Sloane Stephens in straight sets Chris Evert said it was one of the best clay court performances she had ever seen. I definitely did not expect that to happen! Her opponent in her first major semifinal will be the 18-year-old Czech lefty Marketa Vondrousova who has reached the quarterfinals (or better) in every tournament she has played this year.  She already has demonstrated that she has made a quantum improvement in her game by defeating Petra Martic in the quarterfinals, a player she had lost 4 consecutive matches to  (including a clay court final this year). The two have  a 1-1 head-to-head record but Konta beat Vondrousova on her way to reaching the final in Rome just a few weeks ago (where she lost to Pliskova, who is no longer in the tournament). Konta has only one style of play while Vondrousova's game is much more creative and stylish, thus she can find multiple ways to win, and I think she will. PREDICTIONVondrousova

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