Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Australian Open 2021: Semi-finals (Women)

Australian Open 2021: Semi-finals (Women)

We take a look at the Australian Open semi-final matches between Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams as well as Jennifer Brady against Karolina Muchova.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Australian Open 2021
Grand Slam Tennis
Melbourne Park
Semi-final Preview- 18th February

Naomi Osaka (3) (67/100) vs Serena Williams (10) (23/20)
This is the quintessential ‘blockbuster’ semi-final.  This will be the first time these two will have met in a Slam since the notorious ‘Coaching-Gate’ scandal at the 2018 US Open.  Williams forever divided opinion against her with her petulance on that day.  Naomi Osaka is probably the best player in the world at present.  The three-time Major Champion arguably been more consistent that Barty over the past two years.  She only played in four events in 2020 due to the pandemic: she also became a prominent voice in the Black Lives Matter movement.  Osaka actually hasn’t lost a match prior to last year’s US Open.  She won at Flushing Meadows for the 2nd occasion and has yet to lose a game this year.  The 2019 Aussie Open Champion was imperious in the last round, breaking Su-Wei Hsieh four times whilst dominating on serve.  The big-hitting Japanese star has been amazing at the latter stages of Grand Slam.  Every time she has reached the quarterfinal stage, she has gone on to win the event.

At 16 years Osaka’s senior, Serena Williams will be looking to overcome a considerable generational gap in this match.  it hasn’t seemed to bother her thus far.  She has only dropped one set to date (against the hard-hitting Arnya Sabalenka).  Williams is still looking to break Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam tally.  It’s almost inconceivable to think that Williams (perhaps the most dominant athlete in contemporary sports) hasn’t won a Grand Slam since 2017.  Interestingly enough, that Slam happened to be her 7th Aussie Open crown.  Since then, she has lost some of her mystique, losing in four consecutive Grand Slam Finals.  One thing to note- the seven-time Aussie Open Champ has never lost a semi-final in this arena.  Her mobility seems tip-top following maternity leave in 2019 and a disrupted 2020 campaign.

Osaka leads the head-to-head meetings 2-1.  It was Williams, however, who last tasted success, winning in straight sets during the 2019 Toronto event.  Will Williams steamroll Osaka en route to a Tiger-esque comeback victory?  That seems the most compelling narrative at play.  But Williams is yet to meet anyone yet with the hitting power of Osaka.  Sabalenka came closest to Osaka’s raw power (and she pushed the American to three sets).  I have the feeling that we could witness yet another agonizing defeat for Serena in that quest for a record Grand Slam haul.

Jennifer Brady (52/100) vs Karolina Muchova (29/20)
Well, here’s a match that completely poopooed my predictions for the week.  I did anticipate a tight match between Barty and Muchova.  I couldn’t, however, quite bring myself to calling it in the Czech’s favour.  The 27 ranked Czech has now beaten Pliskova, Mertens and Barty in the last three rounds.  Talk about overcoming the draw of death.  There was a hint of controversy, however, with Muchova seeming to benefit from a protracted ten-minute medical timeout in the 2nd set.  It seemed to rob Ashleigh Barty of all momentum.  Was this an instance of pure gamesmanship?  Either way, this will be the Czech’s first ever Grand Slam semi-final.  Who would have thought that Muchova, of all the Czech players, would have been the one to make it to this stage?

Jennifer Brady needed to come back from a set down to eliminate her great friend Jessica Pegula.  The performance was pure Brady.  She blasted 31 winners but committed a slew of unforced errors.  She just has that type of mercurial game.  She also seems to be one of the few players still involved who has handled the heat successfully.  Jessica Pegula really started to struggle in that 2nd set.  That was when Brady struck.  Her powerful groundstrokes are capable of winning multiple hardcourt slams, in my opinion.  Brady will be looking to emulate Kenin’s heroics last year and make it back-to-back American champions.  And lest we forget, Brady has the experience at this stage, losing in last year’s US Open semi-final. 

This looks like its going to be tight.  Muchova leads Brady 1-0 in their head-to-head meetings.  Muchova won that encounter on the Prague clay in 2019.  Brady has looked physically superior while Muchova has been the giant killer in this event.  I think that Brady ultimately has the game to win a few Grand Slams.  Surely Muchova has gone to the well one too many times in this event.  And as I said earlier, Brady has looked at ease in these blistering hot conditions.  Brady to win in three at 31/10 seems great value.

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