Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Williams Sisters in last 4

Quarter finals of the Ladies Singles at Wimbledon 2016 confirmed Serena Williams as the one to beat for this year's title, as if that hadn't already been established.
The top seed offered Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova nothing at all during the match, especially the first set where she hit 16 winners and lost only five points on serve.  The scoreline was 6-4 6-4 and Pavlyuchenkova certainly was not disgraced, indeed contesting a much closer second set. However, Serena achieved the only two service breaks of the match and conceded no break opportunities to her opponent.

The thrill of a semi final appearance with Serena on the other the side of the net has been given to Elena Vesnina who dealt with Dominika Cibulkova in ruthless fashion.  From the start it was clear that the magical match with Radwanska had taken a huge physical toll on the 19th seed, and Vesnina played very well to capitalise.
22 winners flowed from the Russian racquet, and 13 break points created, from which 4 were converted.  Cibulkova was a spent force and lost 6-2 6-2.

Venus Williams continues to amaze, and after most had expected her to retire some years ago, she has made another Wimbledon semi final, at the age of 36.  Her quarter final victim was Yaroslava Shvedova, the victory achieved in straight sets.  Venus last made the semis here in 2009, and she has kept alive the possibility of an all Williams final, something no one contemplated when the tournament began.

For that dream to come true, first Venus has to account for Angie Kerber, whose level of tennis is peaking at the perfect time.  The best of the quarter finals was Kerber v Halep, with Simona and Angie delivering electric exchanges throughout.  This, just 24 hours after the Cibulkova / Radwanska classic, has proved that women's tennis can be capable of holding its own without Serena, and it will be Serena-free in the not too distant future. 

The match was far from perfect, but the variety and quality of shot making more than compensated for the inability to hold serve - in the first set serve was broken 75% of the time.  Kerber took the lead 7-5 and lifted the standard in the second set.  Halep joined her in hitting more winners and holding serve more confidently.  Kerber had the chance to serve for the match at 5-3 but Halep fought hard to achieve the break back and a tie break ultimately arrived.
In a close match, Kerber maintained a slight edge throughout, including return of serve, and played a solid tie break, winning 7-2, sealing the match 7-5 7-6.

P.S. Tomas Berdych defeated Jiri Vesely in the fourth round match left unfinished from the previous day.  He will play Lucas Pouille in the quarter final.

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