2009 Australian Open – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Semifinals
Once again, Nick’s Picks along with Tennis Week will bring you in-depth coverage of the Australian Open. Check back everyday for insight leading up to the Open and then throughout.
Dinara Safina (RUS) vs. Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
Safina ended the amazing run of Jelena Dokic, beating the Australian 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Safina has had three of her five matches go the distance, but in each won she has found a way to win. She is looking to get to her second career Grand Slam final, following last year’s at Roland Garros.
Zvonareva advanced to her first career Grand Slam semifinal with a beating of Marion Bartoli, 6-3, 6-0. She is the only woman left in the draw who has yet to drop a set, and it seems like no one is really talking about her as a potential champion here.
Safina is 5-4 against Zvonareva in her career, but Zvonareva won all three times they played in 2008. I’m surprised that no one has advised Safina to lower her service toss, because she is really struggling with that especially under pressure. If she lowered it, the ball wouldn’t be able to move as much and her serve would be more consistent. Safina also needs to get some support from the crowd in this match, she has had to work extremely hard this tournament to win and some fan love would be a big plus for her. Zvonareva has the game to win this match. She has extremely solid groundstrokes, makes very few mistakes, and moves very well. If this match is a two-setter I give the edge to Zvonareva, but if it goes three Safina has a knack for coming up big in tight spots.
Nick’s Pick – Zvonareva in 2, Safina in 3
Elena Dementieva (RUS) vs. Serena Williams (USA)
Since dropping a set in her opening match, Dementieva has yet to lose another one. She breezed by Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-2 to reach the semis of the Aussie for the first time in her career. Now, she will get a chance at reaching her first Grand Slam final since the 2004 US Open and the third of her career.
Williams labored against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the hot Australian sun, but once they closed the roof she was back in business winning 5-7, 7-5, 6-1. Williams is really having to work for every point she gets, but in the end she is proving why she is a nine-time Grand Slam champion.
Since the draw was announced, this was the match that everyone has looked forward to. Serena leads 4-3 in their career meetings, but Dementieva just rolled over her a couple of weeks ago in Sydney. When you look at both players’ groundstrokes I would say they are pretty equal, Serena may have a slight edge when it comes to pure power. Their movement is fairly similar, although Serena might get to a few balls that on one else would even think about returning, but the big difference is on the return of serve. If Dementieva struggles with her serve like she did against Navarro, Serena will pounce all over it and keep her pinned behind the baseline. Now, Serena hasn’t been serving too great herself, but she has the ability to step it up during the big points and matches. There is no doubt that this is going to be a battle, but I think Serena’s ability to put constant pressure on Dementieva’s serve and her determination to never lose will give her the slightest of edges.
Nick’s Pick – S. Williams in 3 sets, but if the weather is very hot that could make a huge difference in the match.