Australian Open, ?? Semi-Final Preview
?? (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs ?? Elise Mertens
Caroline Wozniacki and Elise Mertens will meet in the first semi-final of the day on Thursday at Melbourne Park. Wozniacki is now one step away from reaching her first Australian Open final, her third Grand Slam final overall and is two steps away from finally claiming a maiden Grand Slam title. In Wozniacki’s way is an in form Elise Mertens who will be competing in her first Grand Slam semi-final in what is her first ever appearance in the main draw at Melbourne Park. Whilst on paper this may look like an easy match-up for Wozniacki, Mertens is playing the best tennis of her life at the moment, if the Belgian can carry her quarter-final form into this match she will be a huge threat to the Dane.
Caroline Wozniacki has never had a greater opportunity to win her first Grand Slam title. The Dane has improved her game in all area’s and may finally be ready to step up and make the most of this opportunity. Wozniacki received a second life in the tournament in the second round where she saved match point and came from 1-5 down in the deciding set to beat Jana Fett. Since that match, Wozniacki has been much improved. The world number 2 defeated Kiki Bertens and Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets before confirming her spot in the semi-finals with a 6-0 6-7 6-2 win over Carla Suarez Navarro.
Elise Mertens is riding a huge way of momentum, the Belgian has now won 10 matches in a row having arrived in Melbourne fresh off a title run in Hobart. Mertens has stormed into her first Grand Slam semi-final without dropping a set at Melbourne Park. Mertens strolled through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time with straight set wins over Viktoria Kuzmova, Daria Gavrilova and Alize Cornet. In the fourth round Mertens came through a nervy clash against Petra Martic before producing her best performance of the tournament thus far to thrash Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-0 in what was the best match the Belgian has played in her career. Mertens executed an ultra-aggressive game against Svitolina, playing a huge percentage of point inside the baseline, consistently punishing Svitolina with her powerful, dynamic game.
It was Wozniacki who won the only previous match between the pair, a hard-fought 7-5 4-6 6-2 victory on clay in Bastad last year. That match showed that Mertens does have the game to really challenge Wozniacki, if Mertens can bring her best tennis to Thursday’s semi-final match in Melbourne she may well cause another big upset.