Saturday, September 07, 2019

2019 US OPEN: Women's Final Preview (and Semifinals Review)

Serena Williams (USA) [8] vs Bianca Andreescu (CAN) [15]
Here are my predictions for the women's final between Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu at the 2019 U.S. Open Championships. I will also predict the men's final between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev. This year I correctly predicted 2 of 2 women's semifinals, 1 of 2 men's semifinals,  4 of 4 women's quarterfinals and 1 of 4 men's quarterfinals correctly. Last year I incorrectly predicted Serena Williams would defeat Naomi Osaka.

Bianca Andreescu (CAN) [15] d. Belinda Bencic (SUI) [13] 7-6(3) 7-5.  This was the first meeting between these two players and the score doesn't reflect the level of drama that resulted. Bencic was the better player for most of the first set; she had 6 break points to go ahead but Andreescu was able to win all of these pivotal points. Then in the tiebreak Bencic had her one double fault--a devastating mental error. However she rebounded strongly in the second set, quickly racking up a 4-1 (double break) lead. But in the very next game she inexplicably got broken at love and although she was able to break Andreescu again, the 19-year-old raised her game and from 2-5 down she was able to win 5 consecutive games (three service breaks!) to reach the US Open final in her major draw debut.

Serena Williams (USA) [8] dElina Svitolina (UKR) [5] 6-3 6-1. Serena continued the focused, destructive play she showed in her 6-1 6-0 quarterfinal to dismiss the World #5. The pivotal point of the match was the very beginning, when Serena fought off three break points to hold serve and then a 9-minute tussle occurred on Svitolina's serve which resulted in a 2-0 lead for Serena. Fron that point on the tension from the match was removed as Svitolina's shoulders slumped and Serena's eyes glittered with menace at the inevitable victory.

This is the fourth major final Serena has reached in the last 6 majors played; she has lost the 2019 Wimbledon final (lost to Simona Halep), the 2018 US Open final (lost to Naomi Osaka) and the 2018 Wimbledon final (lost to Angie Kerber). Since she returned to the tour after getting married and having her daughter Olympia Ohanian she has not won a single tournament and has been so overwhelmed by emotions she has been unable to player anyway near her best tennis in these finals and has yet to win a single set! I believe that will change today, but she it may be that for the first time in one of these finals she may be considered the underdog! That seems insane when you compare the 37-year-old 23-major champion facing a 19-year-old playing in her first major final but it is true. Bibi Andreescu has played 7 Top 10 players in her career and has won all 7 of them; Serena will be her 8th, and both will be in the Top 10 when the rankings come out on Monday. A year ago, Andreescu was not yet in the top 100 and since then she has won Indian Wells and Cincinnati. The last time she lost a completed match was in March!

All that being said, I think Serena will finally be able to play her tennis unencumbered by emotional baggage and in that scenario I still give her the edge against any active player.

MadProfessah's pick: Serena.

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