Serena vs Pliskova
The Grand Slam curse on Karolina Pliskova seems to have been lifted this fortnight at Flushing Meadows. The talented Czech player has no fewer than six WTA titles to her name, but before this year’s US Open had only reached as far as the 3rd round of any slam. She resoundingly swept aside the previously impressive 18 year old Ana Konjuh in the quarter-final 6-2 6-2, so certainly wont be feeling any lingering physical effects from that encounter. Now into the semi-finals and on a ten match win streak after claiming the Cincinnati Masters title last month, Pliskova will be no push over for the tournament’s odds-on favourite, Serena Williams.
Like Pliskova, Serena has dropped just one set en route to the SF; a last eight meeting with Simona Halep was expected to be a tough battle and proved to be just so. The Romanian, Halep, time and time again brilliantly turned defence into attack but in the end Williams’ power was enough to clinch the deciding set.
Pliskova’s penetrating serve and powerful, flat ground-stokes will be a different ‘look’ for Serena to deal with. Might the Czech have the weapons necessary to cause an upset? We will see…
Wozniacki vs Kerber
The former world no.1 Caroline Wozniacki was on a shocking run up to her arrival in New York. She had lost 9 of her last 15 matches dropping to no.74 in the WTA rankings. Nobody expected much of the Dane here. But happy memories at Flushing Meadows live on; this is where Wozniacki came closest to a Grand Slam title, twice losing the final, firstly back in 2009 to Kim Clijsters and more recently to best buddy Serena Williams in 2014. Two other US Open SF appearances make this clearly Caro’s most successful Grand Slam; something she’s obviously drawing upon in this surprise run.
Kerber has a perfect record at Flushing Meadows thus far in 2016; straight sets all the way. Though it should be said that Vinci was causing the German trouble in their quarter-final until she deteriorated physically somewhat.
Such is Angie’s consistency these days that, excluding a withdrawal in Bastad, she hasn’t lost a match prior to the SF stage in any tournament since June on the grass courts of Edgbaston, Birmingham.
The head to head makes for interesting reading; it’s tight with Kerber leading 7-5 and the last few meetings have seen them take turns in grabbing the victory. Kerber justifiably starts as favourite but not a huge one. Pre-match odds of around 1.46 suggest we shouldn’t be too surprised to see Wozniacki reach a third US Open Final.