WTA Tour: Wimbledon Women's Semi Final Preview

WTA Tour: Wimbledon Women's Semi Final Preview

Damien Kayat previews the Wimbledon semi-final women's matches.

WTA Tour 2018
Wimbledon Ladies Semi-Finals
12th July 2018

Angelique Kerber (11) (11/20) vs Jelena Ostapenko (12) (13/10)
Quite unbelievably, this semi-final represents a clash before the top two seeds left in the event. Two-time Grand Slam Champion and former World Number One Angelique Kerber has had an intriguing year.  She won early in Sydney before a herculean run to the semi-finals at Melbourne.  That heart-breaking loss to Halep must have taken something out of the serene German.  After that event she remained metronomic, collecting a plethora of quarterfinal appearances.  A semi-final in Rome and semi-final in Eastbourne prior to this event seemed to indicate she was really ready to contend again.  Looking to avenge a 2016 Aussie Open final defeat to Serena Williams, Kerber has been brilliant this year, playing with far more aggression and self-belief.  The way she disposed of the extremely talented Daria Kasatkina in the quarters exemplified just how ready she is to add to that Grand Slam title.

Ostapenko’s victory at Roland Garros last year was all the more remarkable giving the fact that it was her maiden WTA title.  She battled to find consistency in the wake of that event and has been enigmatic this season.  She reached the Round of 32 in Australia but was unceremoniously dumped out of the defence of her Roland Garros crown in the opening round.  But a tremendous run to the final at a stellar Miami event showed not only her talent but her capacity to perform on a court outside of the clay.  She reached the quarterfinals at Eastbourne but generally hasn’t shown much on the grass-courts prior to this.  She has yet to drop a set however, with wins over the likes of Cibulkova and Flipkens to her name.

It’s not too surprising, given Ostapenko’s relative inexperience, that this will be the first time these two have actually met.  Kerber has an established grass-court pedigree and fairly understandably goes into this as the favourite.  I do think that this will be a tight match and perhaps a tight three-set win for Kerber at 29/10 could represent good value.

Serena Williams (25) (1/4) vs Julia Gorges (13) (49/20)
The almost ‘Babushka Doll’ effect of elimination with the top seeds this year seems to have opened the path for the return of Queen Serena in her quest for a 8th Wimbledon title.  Williams will only be playing her 14th competitive match since her return from having a child.  And I think it’s fair to say that her path to the semi-final has resembled the flat track that  Southgate’s English side have travailed.  She has yet to play a seeded player and was pushed by Giorgi in a tight three-set quarterfinal.  Clearly Gorge will be a step up in quality for the American, but her movement has improved as the week has progressed and she will be the overwhelming favourite to reach yet another Grand Slam Final.

29-year-old German Julia Gorges is really at the opposite end of the Grand Slam spectrum.  This already represents her greatest Grand Slam and she has no doubt surprised even herself this week.  What’s more amazing is the fact that she had lost five consecutive 1st Round matches here since 2013.  So this has really come out of the blue.  She hasn’t had an easy run, overcoming Kiki Bertens and Donna Vekic en route.  She also survived a scare with a 10-8, 3rd set victory over Barbora Strycova.  Gorges reached the final in Charleston and also reached the semi-final in St Petersburg.  Quarterfinal showings in Qatar and Birmingham have helped her steadily climb the rankings in her under-the-radar manner.

Their head-to-head stats will be rather irrelevant this week.  Williams leads the head-to-head 2-0 (surprise), but their last meeting came in 2011.  This was clearly when Serena Williams was in her absolute pomp.  Having said all that, Williams has just looked awesome when it has mattered this week.  I have a feeling that the grind of the Giorgi match will motivate her to swiftly dispose of Gorges.  15/20 for a straight-sets victory for Williams looks like a decent way to find some value in what should be an American triumph. 


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Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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