???? US OPEN, SF match preview
?? (5) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? (8) Serena Williams
A blockbuster semi-final encounter at Flushing Meadows sees the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina come up against 23-time major winner Serena Williams. Svitolina enters this clash full of confidence, the Ukrainian is playing the best tennis of her career right now and will be eager to reach her first Grand Slam final. Svitolina has beaten Williams before but will be coming up against a formidable opponent on Thursday evening, Williams is on a mission and is approaching her best level. Can Svitolina pull off the upset victory?
Elina Svitolina is through to back-to-back Grand Slam semi-finals thanks to some fantastic victories. Svitolina also enters this semi-final clash on the back of some stunning performances. The 5th seed played scintillating tennis to defeat Madison Keys and Johanna Konta in straight sets to advance to the final 4. The consistency and movement of Svitolina overwhelmed Keys and Konta, a pair of big hitters, Svitolina will be hoping to execute a similar game against Williams Svitolina has moved through the entire draw without dropping a set having defeated Whitney Osuigwe, Venus Williams and Dayana Yastremska in straight sets during the first week of the event.
Serena Williams is once again on the verge of capturing that elusive 24th Grand Slam title. Williams is yet to win a major since returning from giving birth despite reaching the later stages on numerous occasions. Williams is seemingly desperate to make this the tournament she goes all the way, the 8th seed enters the semi-final stage on the back of her most dominant performance of the tournament where she thrashed China’s Wang Qiang 6-1 6-0 in a near-flawless display of power hitting. Williams has dramatically improved her level since she played some scratchy tennis in a 3-set win over Caty McNally in the second round, straight set wins over Karolina Muchova and Petra Martic preceded Williams’ domination of Wang.
Williams holds a 4-1 head-to-head record over Svitolina. It was Svitolina who won the most recent match between the pair, a 6-4 6-3 victory at the Rio Olympics on a hard court. Much has changed since their last meeting, both are in totally different places right now so it will be interesting to see how this matchup unfolds.
I’m going to go for the upset here and side with Svitolina. It feels like this is Svitolina’s time to breakthrough and claim her first career major title. Svitolina is playing amazing tennis at the moment, her movement and defensive skills are the best on tour and that could spell trouble for Williams. Williams has consistently struggled at this stage of Grand Slams since her return from giving birth, specifically against top level counter-punchers, Svitolina falls into this category. If Svitolina’s serve holds up, she has a great chance at winning this match. Svitolina’s first serve has improved dramatically, if she lands enough first serves and gets involved in enough rallies on the Williams serve she should find a way a fight through this one.