2012 U.S. Open Tennis Women’s Semifinals
2012 US Open Tennis Championship
Friday, September 7, 2012, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
USTA National Tennis Center – Flushing Meadows, New York
All Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Although seven different women have won the last seven grand slam events, that could change at the U.S. Open as 3 of the 4 semifinalists have won a major this season. Victoria Azarenka won the Australian Open, Maria Sharapova won the French Open, and Serena Williams won Wimbledon this year. (Williams also won an Olympic gold medal last month.) The fourth semifinalist, Sara Errani lost in the finals of the French Open to Sharapova. Number one seed Azarenka will take on #3 Sharapova in one semifinal Friday, and #4 Williams will take on #10 Errani in the other. Let’s take a look at both match-ups with odds to win courtesy of Bookmaker.
Victoria Azarenka (-250) vs Maria Sharapova (+200)
Azarenka, 23 from Belarus, is 53-7 this year with additional titles at Sydney, Doha, and Indian Wells, and lost in the finals at Stuttgart and Madrid. She lost in the fourth round of the French Open, and made it to the semifinals of both Wimbledon and the Olympics. Unfortunately, she ran into Serena Williams in both and lost in straight sets in the two matches. She did win the bronze medal though at the Olympics. She and her partner Max Mirnyi won the gold in mixed doubles as well.
Azarenka has wins over Alexandra Panova, Kirsten Flipkens, #28 Jie Zhang, Anna Tatishvili, and #7 seed Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals to get to the semifinals. Stosur was the defending US Open champion, and took Azarenka to 3 sets. Azarenka won 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5). Stosur is the only person to even win more than 2 games in a set so far against Azarenka.Until this year Azarenka had never advanced past the fourth round at the US Open.
Maria Sharapova is 25 and from Russia. She is 49-7 with titles at Stuttgart, Rome, and most importantly the French Open, along with 4 runner ups, including the Australian Open and the Olympics. Sharapova was crushed 6-0, 6-1 by Serena Williams in the Olympic gold medal match, but Sharapova was awarded the silver medal.
Sharapova won the career grand slam with her victory in the French Open, with one of each. Sharapova won the US Open in 2006 but hasn’t advanced past the fourth round since until this year. She lost to Azarenka in the finals of the Australian Open, and was upset in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
The #3 seed Sharapova has wins over Melinda Czink, Lourdes Dominguez-Lino, Mallory Burdette, #19 Nadia Petrova, and #11 Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals so far. Petrova and Bartoli took Sharapova to 3 sets, but none of the other 3 won more than 2 games in any set. Sharapova beat Petrova 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 and Bartoli 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
This is the tenth meeting between Azarenka and Sharapova. Azarenka holds a slim 5-4 advantage, including 2-1 in 2012. They have never played at the US Open before. In fact, their match in the final of the 2012 Australian Open was the first ever meeting between the two in a grand slam event. Azarenka dominated that match-up 6-3, 6-0. Six of their nine meetings have been on hard courts, with Azarenka winning 4 straight dating back to 2010.
If this match was on clay I would give Sharapova a better shot, but Azarenka has her number on hard courts. I like Azarenka to win a close match in 3 sets.
Serena Williams (-1900) vs Sara Errani (+1200)
Williams is 30 years old, but is arguably playing some of the best tennis of brilliant career. The 14 time major winner has lost only one match since a first round loss at the French Open. She also won Wimbledon and the Olympics, not only in singles but doubles as well with her sister Venus. Aside from those titles, she has other titles at Madrid, Charleston, and Stanford. Serena is 51-4 this season.
Serena is a three time US Open winner but hasn’t won here since 2008. Williams lost to Stosur in the final last year. This year, Serena has wins over Coco Vandeweghe, Maria Jose Martinez, Ekaterina Makarova, Andrea Hlavackova, and #12 Ana Ivanovic in the quarters. No player has won more than 4 games in any set against Williams in the US Open. Williams even won 3 straight 6-0 sets against Makarova and Hlavackova. Williams dispatched Ivanovic 6-1, 6-3.
Sara Errani is 25 from Italy. At the end of 2011, she was ranked #45 in singles and was widely considered to be more of a doubles specialist. However, she has had a break through year in singles in 2012, with 4 titles at Acapulco, Barcelona, Budapest, and Palermo, all on clay. Errani has climbed into the top ten in the world rankings. She lost to Sharapova in the final of the French Open. Errani made it to the quarters at the Australian Open, lost in the third round at Wimbledon and was beaten by Venus Williams in the first round at the Olympics.
Until this year, Errani had never advanced past the third round at the US Open. Errani was the #10 seed here and has wins over Garbine Muguruza, Vera Dushevina, Olga Puchkova, #6 Angeligue Kerber, and #20 Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Vinci is Errani’s doubles partner, so that was an emotional match for both players. Muguruza took Errani to three sets, and Kerber lost the first set in a tiebreaker, but otherwise no one has won more than 4 games in any set against Errani.
This is only the fourth ever meeting between Williams and Errani. Williams leads the series 3-0 but they haven’t played since 2009. Two of the previous match-ups were on hard courts but they have never played in a grand slam event.
I don’t see Serena losing this match-up as well as she is playing right now. In fact, if Errani even wins a set I will be surprised. Even winning more than 4 games in a set will take a monumental effort from Errani.
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