Wimbledon 2010: Women’s Semifinals Picks & Preview

After a couple of stunning upsets, there are two unseeded players and a #21 seed in the women’s semifinals. Venus Williams lost a shocker to 82nd-ranked Tsvetana Pironkonva in the quarterfinals. Williams had reached the final eight of the past ten years and has won the tournament five times.

She made too many unforced errors and had problems with her serve. Venus and Serena lost their doubles quarterfinal Wednesday and won’t be able to get the doubles Grand Slam they were trying to achieve. Venus is now completely eliminated from the tournament.

In another surprise upset 21st-seeded Vera Zvonareva beat Kim Clisters to advance to the semifinals. Serena took care of Li Na in straight sets, and 62nd-ranked Petra Kvitova beat qualifier Kaia Kanepi to complete the semifinal field.

Here is a look at the 2010 Wimbledon Women’s semifinals:

Vera Zvonareva vs. Tsvetana Pironkova (July 1, 8:00am ET, Centre Court)

The 21st-seeded is the favorite on paper, but Pironkova is definitely worth a look. This one will come down to how Pironkova deals with her triumph over Venus. If she keeps her head in the game and wants more, she could move on to the finals, she has definitely shown she has the stuff.

However, after pulling an upset like that it is always a possibility that the player relaxes too much or goes into the next match expecting too much from themselves. This could be a problem for Pironkova, who said she is focused to keep her run going.

Zvonareva, who is part of the double that beat Venus and Serena, went to the semis on a straight shot. She won her first four matches in straight sets and only needed a third set in her upset over Clijsters. Zvonareva faced Pironkova at the 2009 Kremlin Cup and lost in straight sets (0-6, 2-6).

Pironkova hasn’t given up a set at this year’s Wimbledon tournament, and only played in the singles draw. Zvonareva is still in the doubles tournament and also played two rounds in the mixed-doubles tournament. Fatigue could be a factor here.

Zvonareva is the favorite and you can find the best value for her at 5Dimes at -185. However, looking back to the match from last and looking at the workload at this year’s tournament, Pironkova offers a lot of value at +200 at Bodog.

I think Pironkova will continue her run and move on to the final. She has looked dominant and hasn’t lost a set yet.

Serena Williams vs. Petra Kvitova (July 1, after Zvonareva-Pironkova, Centre Court)

This one should be an easy win for Serena, but in a tournament that has seen early exits from Venus, Roger Federer, and Clijsters, anything seems possible.

Serena hasn’t lost a set in singles competition and looks as dominant as ever. The world’s No. 1 faced Kvitova in the second round of the Australian Open and beat her in straight sets (6-2, 6-1). She hasn’t had any problems in the singles draw this year and she should continue her dominance.

She is 18-4 in singles this season and won last year’s tournament over Venus. She reached the final at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2009, and lost to Justine Henin in the 2007 quarterfinals.

Kvitova won three of her matches in straight sets. She needed three sets in her second round match against Chinese Jie Zheng. She also had to go the distance in her quarterfinal match against Estonian qualifier Kanepi.

She hasn’t looked nearly as dominant as Serena, and most likely won’t advance to the final. This seems like a sure victory for Serena, but that is also the problem for bettors. You have to lay down anywhere between $1,400 and $1,500 to win $100. Even on a seemingly safe bet like this, that just is too much.

You never know if an injury will occur Serena will have a total day off. The risk is just too high.

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