Wuhan SF #1: Venus Williams vs (15) Roberta Vinci
The first semi-final of the day at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open features an unexpected match-up between two of the veterans of the tour when Venus Williams comes up against Roberta Vinci. Both Venus and Roberta are playing some of the best tennis they have played for years, the winner of this match will keep their slim chances of reaching the WTA Finals in Singapore well and truly alive.
Venus Williams is into her third semi-finals of 2015, the American has been in vintage form this week playing some of her best tennis in recent years in Wuhan. Venus waltzed through her opening three matches of the week, recording straight set victories over Agnieszka Radwanska, Julia Goerges and Carla Suarez Navarro. The American’s quarter-final match didn’t go as smoothly, the American laboured to a 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over British qualifier Johanna Konta. Venus seemed to be very low on energy towards the end of the third set but somehow managed to win the last four games of the match to set up a semi-final clash with Roberta Vinci.
Roberta Vinci has carried her outstanding form from New York to Wuhan. The U.S Open finalist has now won 10 of her last 11 matches including 3 victories over top 10 opponents. Roberta made a wobbly start to her Wuhan campaign with a three set victory over Danka Kovinic but since then the Italian has been in clinical form, recording straight set victories over Irina-Camelia Begu, Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova. The Italian’s 7-6 6-3 victory over Karolina Pliskova was particularly impressive, it was an extremely clean performance by Roberta who dominated behind her serve and effectively mixed up the play for the baseline.
Venus Williams has a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over the Italian. All three victories were on a hard court and all three victories were in straight sets, however the two haven’t met since Venus defeated Vinci 7-6 6-4 in Luxemburg back in 2012. This looks like Roberta’s greatest opportunity to record a victory over Venus, it will be tough for the American to recover from her gruelling quarter-final victory over Konta. Vinci is not the type of opponent a fatigued Venus would like to come up against, I think an in form Vinci can get the job done here. Vinci has had great preparation for this match, defeating Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova, similarly powerful opponents.