Wednesday, July 8, 2015


by Karen 

It is Ladies Semifinal Day. Tennis’ own version of Final 4.  However, in this scenario it won’t be the player who wins immunity who gets to choose who sits beside her at the final Tribal Council, rather it will be the 2 players who play the best tennis who will get a chance to vie for one of the most coveted trophies in all of tennis, the  Venus Rosewater Dish.

What are the chances of the women who will be vying for this trophy?  How did they get here?  Who will be overcome by the occasion to really lift their games and take one step closer to having their name remembered for all eternity.

Aga Radwanska.  2015 has not been a good year for Aga.  After being in the top 10 for close to 5 years, Aga has seen her ranking drop outside the top 10 for the first time in ages.  In addition to being out of the top 10, her coaching partnership with Martina Navratilova came to an abrupt end with both parties calling it a mutual decision. Aga’s resurgence on what is her avowed favourite surface is remarkable.  Recall that it was only a week before this event started that she lost out to Belinda Bencic in Eastbourne, suffering a bagel in the deciding set.  Since that time Aga has played under the radar and now finds herself with the chance to get to the final for the first time since her heroics in 2012.

Garbine Muguruza.  Every year tennis has its own breakout player.  This year is no different.  Last year we had Bouchard and Halep.  This year we have had Keys and Safarova.  Now it is Muguruza’s time to shine.  Playing for Spain via Venezuela, Muguruza has shown a fighting mentality that has often not shown up in tournament play.  Her battle against No. 6 seed was one of the best matches of the Championships. It was not only about the match play but it was her ability to come good on the big points which will cement her status as a star in the making if she is able to get through Radwanska.  The head to head is tied at 2 a piece. 

This is Muguruza’s first time in this situation.  However, she has experience of playing big name players on the big stages and she is not afraid of getting down and dirty.  She will attempt to blow Radwanska off the court and as we have seen in matches that feature the Pole, that is not the way to win against her.   Muguruza will have to show some amount of variety, use her big ground strokes to come in and use her great volley skills that she has perfected in doubles to move forward.

This will be a tight match but I expect Radwanska to use her experience to come through in 3 tough sets.

Maria Sharapova – what else can be said of the Russian that has not already been said.  A champion here in 2004, Sharapova has only been to one other final and that was in 2011 when she lost to Kvitova.  This is her first time in the second week since 2011.  She was tested fiercely by Vandeweghe in her quarter final match but came through down the stretch.  She has not had a hard time getting to this stage of the Championships so she will be fresh and eager to go. She has not been playing her best tennis but she has competed fiercely (as she does) to make it through to face what is undoubtedly the worst opponent that anyone who is looking to win this trophy could ever imagine.

Serena Williams – History is on the line.  The pressure of the moment has without a doubt made itself known to the younger Ms. Williams.  She said after her match against Venus that she believes her tournament has just begun.  The mental side of this battle in this tournament was out of the way.  Now comes the physical side of the battle. 

Most pundits would have you believing that Serena has a clear path to the trophy.  After all she owns Sharapova 17-2 as she does Radwanska.  Muguruza, even though she has beaten Serena, is a novice at this so will probably be too scared to play.  However, the law of averages is always there.  No match is a given.  No match is a cake walk.  Can Sharapova beat Serena at this point in a tournament when Serena holds such a commanding lead in their head to heads?  Can Serena lose at this point in a tournament when her career match record in semifinals is a ridiculous 24-3?   With that kind of record, you can imagine that she will be coming out satisfied in the knowledge that at this point in a tournament, it will be hers to lose. The law of averages will at some point kick in.  Unfortunately for Sharapova I just don't think that this Wimbledon will be it.  

Serena in straight sets.

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