?? Western & Southern Open – SF Preview + Prediction: ?
?? (8) Johanna Konta vs. ?? Victoria Azarenka
An intriguing semi-final clash from the Western & Southern Open sees the 8th seeded Johanna Konta take on a resurgent Victoria Azarenka. Expect a tough contest between two damaging baseline hitters and two in form players, neither have dropped a set this week and both will enter this clash full of confidence.
Johanna Konta has cruised into the final 4 at Flushing Meadows. Konta started the week with a 6-2 6-0 win over Kirsten Flipkens followed by a 6-4 6-2 win over Vera Zvonareva. Konta secured her spot in the final 4 with a clinical 6-4 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari. Konta is yet to drop serve all tournament, the Brit saved the only two break points she has faced over her first 3 matches this week in her win over Sakkari, a dominant serving record.
Victoria Azarenka is having one of her best weeks on tour in many years. Azarenka started the event with a 6-2 6-3 win over Donna Vekic, followed by a 6-2 7-6 win over Caroline Garcia, a pair of opponents Azarenka had never previously beaten. The former number 1 followed up those victories with a 6-4 7-5 win over Alize Cornet and an especially hard-fought 7-6 6-2 win over Ons Jabeur, Azarenka saved 4 set points in a high quality, intense opening set against the Tunisian before running away with the match in the second.
The pair have split their two previously completed matches. Azarenka won 6-4 6-2 in Indian Wells back in 2016, whilst Konta prevailed 6-3 6-1 in their most recent match-up in Montreal in 2018.
Whilst I have been impressed with Azarenka’s performances this week, I think this is where her run comes to an end. At this stage in their respective careers it is Konta who should have the edge from the baseline and on serve. Konta has the more dynamic game from the baseline and enjoys these types of match-ups where she can feed off the pace off Azarenka but not be overpowered. Konta also has the far more consistent serve, which will allow her to get on top of most rallies. Azarenka is in great form and will of course put up a great fight, should be a close match.