Wimbledon 2008 – Nick’s Pick – Women’s Singles Semifinals
Nick’s Picks will have complete coverage of Wimbledon 2008, and we are teaming with Tennis Week and The Independent Newspaper in London to provide in-depth analysis throughout the tournament! Also, be sure to listen for Nick on Radio Wimbledon each day at 4pm EST!
Venus Williams (USA) vs. Elena Dementieva (RUS)
It doesn’t seem to matter how Venus plays before Wimbledon, because once she steps on the grass her whole outlook changes. Coming into Wimbledon, this had not been her best year, but that doesn’t matter now. She is back in the semifinals, and two wins away from capturing her second consecutive title here and her fifth overall.
Dementieva looked primed to reach the semis when she was winning 6-1, 5-1 in her quarterfinal match against Nadia Petrova but she failed to close it out. Petrova then came battling back to win the second set in a tiebreaker. Dementieva stuck it out though, and won the third set 6-3 to advance to her fourth career Grand Slam semifinal.
While Dementieva may be seeded higher, I don’t think you will find anyone that tells you she is the favorite to win this match. Venus is 5-2 against Dementieva, but the two have never faced on grass and they haven’t played this year. Everything seems to be clicking for Venus. Her serve, movement, groundstrokes and just about every other facet of her game have been excellent. Against Dementieva she must move well and win some free points with her serve. Dementieva, who hits the ball very flat and early, will try to attack Venus’ forehand (which can break down) and force her to commit some errors. Simply put, Dementieva cannot melt down like she did against Petrova because Venus will make her pay. If she has any break chances she has to capitalize, because you know Venus will look to attack her serve. This match is on Venus’ racket, and as long as she plays her game and keeps the unforced errors to a minimum she should win.
Nick’s Pick – V. Williams in 3 sets
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Jie Zheng (CHN)
Serena was dominant against Radwanska in the quarterfinals, beating her 6-4, 6-0. This was a match many people thought would be closer, but it just goes to show you how good Serena can be when she is completely focused. She had only six unforced errors and got over 70% of her first serves in. When she plays like this, there is no one better.
Zheng continued her magical run with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 victory over Nicole Vaidisova in the quarterfinals. With that win, she became the first Chinese woman to advance to the semis of a Grand Slam singles tournament. There is no doubt that this is the best tournament of Zheng’s career. Prior to this, she had never been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam and now she is one win away from the finals of Wimbledon! Incredible!!
Williams is 1-0 against Zheng, with that win coming back in 2004 in the first round at Wimbledon! There will be thousands of boys and girls at the Academies in China rooting on Zheng from afar. Her success couldn’t come at a better time because of the Olympic Games being held in Beijing later this summer! She is going to need to play this match like it is for the gold medal, because Serena is not going to go down lightly. Zheng loves to stand on or around the baseline and take the ball early. She is a fighter, and has already proven that she can compete with the best. Serena cannot let Zheng’s low ranking fool her, and I don’t believe she will. Serena’s relentless powerful groundstrokes, superb movement, and sonic serve give her the edge in this match. She also must stay positive, because Zheng will jump at any chance.
Nick’s Pick – S. Williams in 2 sets