19:30 – Peng v Wozniacki
Wozniacki is rightly a strong favourite for this match but we can’t ignore what Peng has achieved in this tournament. Radwanska, Vinci, Safarova and Bencic have all fallen to her in straight sets. Against Bencic her greater experience gave her an easy win.
Wozniacki has dropped a couple of sets to Rybarikova and Sharapova. She has never won a Slam and one of her biggest critics on that subject has been Serena. The nerves have to be an issue when thinking about the prospect of meeting the American in the final in America.
It is hard to see Woznicki losing it but it should be close. She starts at 1.29 and I will wait for an early Peng break before backing.
21:30 – S Williams v Makarova
They have played 4 times with Serena leading 3-1. As Makarova’s win came at a grand slam, the Australian Open, in 2012 it is tempting to therefore give her a chance today. having looked back at my notes from that 2012 match the players were suffering in that tournament with the heat. Also Serena was struggling with a back injury and looked totally disinterested during the match.
This tournament has been very different. The heat has caused some players issues but the temperatures have been nothing like Melbourne 2012. Serena hasn’t dropped more than 3 games in a set despite going 0-3 against Pennetta in the quarter final.
Makarova has had an excellent tournament. In her match with Bouchard the match was close but Bouchard wasn’t 100% and suffered with dizziness (something that she said just happens to her sometimes). Makarova has said she was also very tired in that match.
Against Azarenka she was very nervous at the start and made a poor start. That could have been down to the fact that she had never won a grand slam quarter final. By the time Azarenka started making errors Makarova’s confidence was growing and especially in the second set some of her play was superb.
This match is a massive deal to Makarova. Nerves WILL be a factor. This is also a big deal for Serena as this is her only semi final of a slam this season.
Serena has looked like she is taking this tournament very seriously. I expect her to have nerves but nothing like those that Makarova will suffer with. one of the predictable things about this unpredictable tournament is that players are so often not performing at the same level in the match after a good performance. that is what I expect to happen today to Makarova.
Williams starts at 1.16. I may not get involved unless Makarova is able to take an early break lead