Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympic Tennis Women's semifinals preview

Victoria Azarenka (1) vs. Serena Williams (4)
Azarenka played her best match of the tournament so far in beating Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals. She was extremely consistent, hardly made an unforced error, and her booming forehand was delivering her winners down the line as well as cross-court.

As expected Serena absolutely obliterated Caroline Wozniaki on grass. Defeating a player who was ranked no.1 barely 8 months ago by a score of 6-0 6-3, suggests a level of dominance and confidence that no player on tour can match right now.

The Wimbledon semifinal between these two was much closer than the scoreline suggested. Azarenka will once again come all guns blazing against Serena, but how can one possibly win a match without breaking serve? Serena should come through in two tough sets.

Maria Sharapova (3) vs. Maria Kirilenko (14)
Sharapova saved some of her best tennis of the week against an incredibly tough opponent in Kim Clijsters. Sharapova was just relentless in attack off both wings in the first set, completely catching Clijsters by surprise. Even more impressive was her ability to dig deep during the second set, when the match was much closer.

Maria Kirilenko pulled of the upset of the quarterfinals by defeating Petra Kvitova in straight sets. Kirilenko had Kvitova rattled with some incredible defence mixed with some crafty angles. After winning a close first set, Kirilenko then started to reel off winners from the baseline to completely demoralize Kvitova.

Sharapova and Kirilenko are both representing Team Russia, but once the match starts both players will be solely focused on making the final. While Kirilenko could conceivably frustrate Sharapova into errors, the French Open champion's determination and big match experience should see her through in straight sets.