Here is a look at the two Thursday women’s semifinals at the All England Club in order of play:
(4) Victoria Azarenka vs. (8) Petra Kvitova
Azarenka is no Slam champion. She’s gotten this far because of the weak state of women’s tennis. She won’t win Wimbledon, but she might win this match. Remember that Kvitova got this far last year too. Kvitova has won her last two matches against the Belarussian screamer.
The lefty Kvitova doesn’t have the establishing choking background of Azarenka, and the more I’m thinking about it, the more I like her holding it together (better) in a match that will have a lot of nervy moments. I’m going with Kvitova through to the final. And Azarenka breaking a racquet or giving a very audible obscenity. Or whacking a ball into the crowd and hitting the queen or George Michael.
(5) Maria Sharapova vs. Sabine Lisicki
After the fourth round bloodbath that saw Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki exit, many in the media were prematurely handing Sharapova the Wimbledon trophy, but hold your horses. In the quarterfinals Sharapova brutalized the tiny Dominika Cibulkova, but Lisicki won’t be pushed around so easily.
This is the bigger match and the winner will be the favorite in the final. Each has a background that will drive them to not be contented with a semifinal finish at the All England Club. Sharapova came back from her potential career-ending shoulder surgery, and has (totally?) overcome some wonky serving due to subtly changing her service motion. Lisicki likewise had a number of injuries (ankle primarily) that kept her on the sidelines for a while, and it seems like she has been around a lot longer that her 21 years. Hell, Sharapova is only 24, winning Wimbledon at 17.
This match is going to come down to — wait for it — serving. Both Sharapova and Lisicki can bring the heat, and whoever does it better on that first delivery will ride the confidence wave to advance to the final. Most see Lisicki as the big underdog, but this match is a coin flip. When I flip the coin, it comes up Sharapova.
Just don’t give us the all-screamer Sharpaova vs. Azarenka final, which would set TV tennis rating back five years.
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