Serena? Maria? Venus? — Victoria?
None of the above.
The Wimbledon women’s semifinals on Thursday are a toss-up. Or are they? Let’s take a look:
(6) PETRA KVITOVA vs. (23) LUCIE SAFAROVA
It’s the first time Kvitova has “shown up” since winning the 2011 title. The reticent Czech against the former girlfriend of Tomas Berdych — as that is basically what Safarova has achieved after being tabbed as a top star after some early results, but not delivering.
It’s an all-Czech meeting with Kvitova leading the career head-to-head 5-0, with Safarova stretching their meetings to three sets twice. Advantage: Kvitova.
“It’s going to be my third match against Czech girl actually during the Wimbledon, which is unusual,” Kvitova said. “We played last time in Eastbourne. It was big fight until the end. I’m expecting tough battle again. Of course, she’s playing amazing. She’s in semifinal. It’s going to be great match I think.”
Making fifth Grand Slam SF appearance, including third at Wimbledon (also 2010, 2011); additionally was a semifinalist at 2012 Roland Garros and 2012 Australian Open… Currently the top-ranked lefthander, ahead of Kerber, Makarova, Safarova and Dellacqua in Top 50… With R32 win, improved to 4-1 vs. V.Williams; one of 9 players who have defeated V.Williams 4 or more times… Including wins at Wimbledon over Hlavackova (1r) and Zahlavova Strycova (QF), owns a 6-0 record vs. CZE opponents in 2014; faces countrywoman Safarova today.
Has surpassed career-best Grand Slam result by reaching SF; previously reached QF at 2007 Australian Open… Entered 2014 Wimbledon having won four tie-break sets this season; this week won three tie-breaks in first two matches… Win over No.10 Cibulkova in 3r was second Top 10 win of 2014 (2-9 vs. Top 10, six of the nine losses in three sets); has played a WTA-leading 11 matches vs. Top 10 ranked opponents this season… Is 18-56 lifetime vs. Top 10; also defeated No.10 Wozniacki at 2014 Sydney.
(3) SIMONA HALEP vs. (13) GENIE BOUCHARD
Halep won their only career meeting this year in Indian Wells in three sets.
“Here it’s different because it’s grass court,” Halep said. “A big difference between matches. But tomorrow, it’s another day, so will be different match. But I have confidence in myself. I believe that I can win, but I expect a tough match. She’s a great player and she’s playing really well, so I have just to enjoy it.
“I learned from that match that I have to keep fighting till the end. At that moment I won, so we’ll see tomorrow what will happen.”
Halep’s enjoyed a rapid rise from the 60s a year ago May to a No. 3 world ranking. Bouchard showed that the jump from top junior to top pro can be a quick one.
Bouchard goes after the ball on grass to play first-strike tennis, and Halep will have to match that aggressiveness, because counter-punching won’t do. Advantage: Canada.
What are your predictions for the women’s semifinals?
Making 4th Wimbledon appearance; advancing to SF is best result here… Best result at Wimbledon by a Romanian woman (previous best at SW19 was a two-time quarterfinalist, Ruzici; QF in 1978, 1981)… After QF defeat of No.19 Lisicki owns a 32-31 lifetime record vs. Top 20 opponents (10-3 in 2014); faces No.13 Bouchard today… At 2014 Roland Garros became first Romanian woman to reach a Grand Slam final in 34 years (last was 1980 Roland Garros, R-Up Ruzici)… Has achieved career-best results at consecutive Slams: R16 at 2013 US Open, QF at 2014 Australian Open, R-Up at 2014 Roland Garros; was 7-13 at Slams after Wimbledon, since owns 18-3 record.
With a win today, would move into WTA Top 10 after Wimbledon (at No.8, equaling best WTA Ranking by a Canadian; also Bassett-Seguso)… Only player to reach all three of the Grand Slam SF played so far in 2014… Is 6-11 against Top 10 players, incl. 4-4 in 2014 – but is 0-5 in her career vs. Top 5 players; faces No.3 Halep today… Made Top 20 debut after reaching first Grand Slam SF at 2014 Australian Open… Won first career WTA title at Nürnberg (d. Ka.Pliskova in F)… 2014 Wimbledon is only her fourth career grass court main draw event (she lost in opening round at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, l. V.King)… As a junior enjoyed success at Wimbledon lifting both the singles and doubles girls’ championship trophies in 2012; also won girls’ doubles title in 2011.
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