US Open Day 11 Preview: The Women’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 11 Preview: The Women’s Semifinals

Is Serena on the precipice of history? Or are we on the verge of seeing a newly-crowned Major champion?

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In the women’s semifinals, we have a 23-year-old American vying to make the US Open final for the second straight year, and hoping for a much different end result.  We have a 20-year-old into her first Major semifinal, who is also the first Japanese woman to advance this far at a Grand Slam event. We have a 28-year-old Latvian also in her first Major semifinal, with an entertaining and tricky game.  And we have a 23-time Major champion who is only one year removed from a life-threatening child birth, and who is determined to add to her legacy.

 

Serena Williams vs. Anastasija Sevastova

This will be Serena’s 36th major semifinals, where she has a record of 30-5.  This will be Sevastova’s first. Serena has 93 career singles titles.  Sevastova has three. This is the 49th time Serena has reached the quarters or better at a Grand Slam event.  For Sevastova, this is her third. It’s easy to dismiss Anastasija’s chances based on stats such as these, though that may be as dangerous as her game can be.  Serena is 0-2 in US open semifinals since 2015, since her shocking loss to Roberta Vinci when she was just two matches away from a calendar Grand Slam. And Sevastova’s style of slicing and dicing is quite similar to that of Vinci’s.  If Serena gets tight at this stage again, knowing she’s just two matches away from tying Margaret Court’s record of 24 Major titles, Anastasija’s plays the type of tennis that could easily fluster her. This will be their first career meeting, and Serena hasn’t faced a player with a style similar to that of Sevastova’s at this tournament.  Serena has only been challenged in one of her matches thus far, but that could change today. Sevastova has played some stellar tennis in her last two matches, dropping only five games in her last three sets played. Yes, Serena is a strong favorite, but an upset here is not unfathomable.

Madison Keys vs. Naomi Osaka

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The last time these two played at the US Open, in 2016, it was quite a dramatic affair.  Keys found herself down 1-5 in the third, but the then-18-year-old choked away the lead to lose in a final set tiebreak.  They’ve played twice more since that match, at Indian Wells last year and Roland Garros this year. Keys won both of those matches in straight sets.  Is Osaka due for a win against Keys? Naomi is a much more mature player two years onward, as evidenced by her big win at this year’s tournament in Indian Wells, as well as her impressive run to this stage of the Open.  Osaka has only dropped one set thus far, and there’s no shame in dropping a set to the WTA’s hottest player of the past month, Aryna Sabalenka. Keys also won all but one set to this point, so both players arrive at this semifinal in good form and with a lot of confidence.  Both are power players who will look to dictate points and finish them quickly. Both also have coaches in their corner who have been instrumental in bringing the best tennis out of them, in Lindsay Davenport and Sascha Bajin. I’m sure Osaka will be motivated to avenge her loss to Keys from two years ago in New York, yet that may also weigh on her mind in a negative way during this match.  This match also puts Keys in the unique position of being the more experienced and higher-ranked player, a weight of expectation which she hasn’t always been the most comfortable carrying. In a semifinal that feels it could go either way, it will be fascinating to see how both young women perform in this moment.

Order of play

Arthur Ashe Stadium

19:00 local time (Midnight BST)

Serena Williams  v A. Sevastova

Madison Keys v Naomi Osaka

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Dominic Thiem rallies from one set down against Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the final at Thiem’s 7 in Kitzbuhel

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Dominic Thiem came back from losing the first set to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-2 en route to reaching the final at the Thiem’s 7 tournament. Thiem earned two breaks in the third and fifth games to race out to a 4-1 lead. Bautista Agut got both breaks back in the sixth and eighth games to draw level to 4-4 forcing the match to the tie-break. The Spanish player won the tie-break 7-5 to take the opening set.

 

Thiem slowly found his rhythm again in the second set and earned two break points in the fourth game but he was not able to convert them. The home star dropped only two points on his serve until the end of the second set and converted two of the three break points to clinch the second set 6-2.

Thiem earned a break in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and held on his next service games. The tournament organizer sealed the third set 6-2 with his double break with a blistering return on the match point in the eighth game securing his spot in the final. Thiem will face either Andrey Rublev or Matteo Berrettini in the final.

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Former Roland Garros champions and five top 20 players to highlight a great edition of the Ladies Open in Palermo

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The Ladies Open WTA International in Palermo will be the first tournament to be held next August since last February.

 

The Italian tournament will feature a great line-up which includes two confirmed past Roland Garros champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Ostapenko and five top 20 players. There is a good chance that 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep could be added in the field.

“We are glad about Simona Halep’s great interest in Palermo Ladies Open. We will be waiting for her at the Country Club for an historic edition of the Palermo tournament. We have been in contact with Halep’s manager for some time. We have been talking for days about her potential participation in Palermo. She is one of the best players in the world and her presence would contribute to make an already high-level tournament extrahordinary. We will leave our doors open to her for as long as possible, as well as for other top ten players that will want to resume their season in Palermo”, said tournament’s CEO Oliviero Palma.

The other stars who have signed up to the Ladies Open are 2019 Roland Garros champion Marketa Vondrousova, two Grand Slam semifinalists Elise Mertens (2018 Australian Open) and Anastasija Sevastova (2018 US Open), Aryna Sabalenka (winner at the Wuhan Open in 2018 and 2019, WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and Doha in 2020) and Elina Rybakina (winner in Hobart and finalist in St. Petersburg and Dubai in 2020), Dayana Yastremska (winner of three tournaments in Hong Kong in 2018, Thailand and Strasbourg in 2019).

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova lift the titles in Perugia

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova won the Zzz Quill Tennis Tour in Perugia. Sonego followed up his Italian title won the previous week in Todi with a 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win over Croatia’s Viktor Galovic (world number 269 and number 7 seed) in the final of the Perugia tournament.

 

“Galovic started very well. It was difficult to adjust to his game and improve during the match. I maintained the right attitude and I managed to win the title. I enjoyed two fantastic weeks in Todi and Perugia. This confirmed my good work in training in the past two weeks. I gave my best and I am confident for the rest of the season”, said Sonego.

World number 117 Liudmila Samsonova won the women’s title came back from one set down to beat world number 307 Stefania Rubini 4-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in the women’s final after saving two match points.

“I won a very tough final with a lot of ups and downs. I am happy that I played many matches. It was one of my goals on the eve of the tournament. I showed that I am able to keep the level of my tennis high, when I play focused”, said Samsonova.   

 

 

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