Wimbledon: Women’s Semi Final Predictions


Wimbledon: Will Muguruza master the moment?


The semi finals have been decided in the women’s draw at Wimbledon. As I predicted, (1) Serena Williams will play (4) Maria Sharapova and (13) Agnieszka Radwanska will play (20) Garbine Muguruza.

Here are my predictions as to who will reach the final.

(1) Serena Williams vs (4) Maria Sharapova

Williams was forced to raise her intensity against (23) Victoria Azarenka in the quarter finals, winning 36 62 63. Though her game was put under sustained scrutiny, the American was clinically efficient in hitting forty six winners (seventeen aces) compared to a meagre twelve unforced errors! Taking this into consideration, it shows just how well Azarenka was playing in order to steal a set. Williams moves into her first Wimbledon semi final since 2012.

Sharapova was also forced to refocus in her quarter final, eventually subduing Coco Vandeweghe 63 67(3) 62. Serving for the match at 5-4, it looked as if the Russian was going to continue her straight sets progress but Vandeweghe had other ideas. Channelling the support of the crowd, she hit out and took advantage of an increasingly passive patch of play from Sharapova. However, Sharapova regrouped early in the third set as only she knows how, attacking the return in particular to eventually seal the deal. She’s now into her first Wimbledon semi final since 2011.

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Williams’s 17-2 head to head of mastery of Sharapova is infamous. Never before has there been such a gulf in the personal rivalry between two greats. What makes the statistic even more painful is the fact that Williams has won sixteen successive meetings stretching back over ten years on all surfaces, in which time Sharapova has only won two sets! With that in mind, it’s hard to conceive a Sharapova upset. Mentally, physically and tactically, Williams is superior. In order to make this match competitive, Sharapova must serve well and take advantage of any opportunity she’s given, meaning no double faults and perfect break point conversions. In their last match in the final of the Australian Open, Sharapova kept the scoreline interesting by playing clutch tennis and using the drop shot effectively. As always, I expect Sharapova to be overwhelmed from the start, go down an early break and lose in straight sets.

Prediction: Serena Williams

(13) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (20) Garbine Muguruza

Radwanska faced her toughest opponent yet in the quarter finals, out-rallying (21) Madison Keys 76(3) 36 63. On the back foot for the most part against the great serve and power of the American, Radwanska made her experience tell as she pulled away from 3-3 in the third set with some canny retrieving and drop shots. The Pole’s grass court renaissance just keeps getting better as she moves into her third Wimbledon semi final in the past four years.

Muguruza has suddenly become an expert in out-hitting solid opposition on grass. Just as she’d done against Kerber and Wozniacki, she raised her power game in the clutch to outhit (15) Timea Bacsinszky 75 63 in the quarter finals as her opponent’s forehand buckled in the deciding stages. In reaching her first Grand Slam semi final, she is the first Spanish woman to reach such a stage since Conchita Martinez at the French Open in 2003 and the first to do so at Wimbledon since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1997!

Radwanska and Muguruza are tied at 2-2 in their head to head, with all four meetings coming on hard courts. Muguruza has the edge considering she’s won their last two meetings earlier this year, the last coming in February with a 64 62 triumph in Dubai. Muguruza’s experience of beating counterpunchers this tournament should put her in good stead for this match as she will be accustomed to seeing that extra ball come back. Judging by what I’ve seen of her so far, she won’t allow Radwanska to play her game and will attack the second serve return in particular. Radwanska must mix up the play if she’s to succeed, changing Muguruza’s strike point with flatter shots and slices. Her match against Keys should have prepared her for the upcoming onslaught, but I can’t help but feel that she will put too much of the match on Muguruza’s racket. Keys made many errors which Muguruza won’t.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza

Next: Wimbledon: Women's Quarter Final Predictions

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