Wednesday, July 10, 2019

2019 WIMBLEDON: Women's Semifinals Preview (and Predictions)

Here are my predictions for the women's semifinals at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships This year I correctly predicted the results of  4 of 4 men's quarterfinals and 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals. Last year I correctly predicted 1 of 2 men's semifinals and 2 of 2 women's semifinals.

Serena Williams (USA) [11] vs. Johanna Konta (GBR) [19] Barbora Strycova (CZE).  This is definitely not the semifinal Britain expected (or wanted) to see. British #1 Jo Konta led 4-1 in the first set against the crafty Strycova but somehow managed to lose her lead and then a tight tiebreak (7-5). For some reason, instead of buckling down and summoning another come-from-behind victory like she had done against two major champions, Konta unravelled completely and lost in straight sets 7-6(5) 6-1. Meanwhile Serena was locked in the most exciting match of the tournament so far with fellow American Alison Riske, who had taken out the reigning World #1 in straight sets the round before and used her burgeoning confidence and grass-suitable game to go toe-to-toe with the G.O.A.T. The result was a highly entertaining (and high quality) 6-4 4-6 6-3 win for Serena. The 23-time major champion is trying to reach her 32nd major final by playing in her 37th major semifinal and become the oldest woman in the modern era to reach a major final (older than Martina Navratilova was in the 1994 Wimbledon final by 33 days!) She faces Strycova who is now the oldest player to become a first-time Grand Slam semifinalist (older than Roberta Vinci who did it at the 2015 US Open). These records are a bit ominous for Serena but the good news is that she has played 3 matches (6 sets) against her semifinal opponent and has won all of them. I expect that streak to continue on Thursday. PREDICTION: Williams.

Elina Svitolina (UKR) [8] vs. Simona Halep (ROU) [7]. Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep are beginning to develop an interesting rivalry, which Svitolina leads 4-3 (but Halep won their last meeting earlier this year in Doha). Halep is playing in her 7th major semifinal (4-2 record) while Svitolina has finally made her first one here at Wimbledo this year. Halep definitely has  experience on her side while Svitolina has current form on hers. This semifinal will probably be the more exciting of the two matches and I would be surprised if it does not go to three sets. When matches are this tight unless there is some external factor (like an overly lopsided head-to-head) I usually go with the person who I think is the better "athlete." In this case, I think that is the Romanian former #1 and major champion. PREDICTIONHalep

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