We are at the business end of Wimbledon 2015. The men’s semis are being determined as I type this. However, tomorrow is about the ladies. We have 2 familiar faces and 2 mild surprises that will compete for a spot in Saturday’s final.
(1) Serena Williams vs. (4) Maria Sharapova- Approx. 10 a.m. on ESPN
You could not wipe the smile off Maria Sharapova’s following her quarterfinal win over American Coco Vandeweghe, but her joy had to be tempered a bit when Serena battled back yet again to book her spot in the last 4. Maria hasn’t beaten Serena in 11 years. Despite stunning Serena to win this title in 2004, the matchup is problematic for Maria. Everything she does well, Serena does better. Serena has finally dialed in her serve these last 2 rounds. Sharapova will have to play the match of her life to get this monkey off her back. She has played Serena tougher in recent months. Three things must happen for her to have a shot. She needs to protect her serve at any cost, make the most of the few looks she will get on Serena’s serve, and use the drop shot to get Serena moving. See an example from the Australian Open final below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I08YMUBVoI
I have only half-jokingly suggested that Sharapova play this match left handed. She has thrown everything else at Serena for the last 11 years, it hasn’t worked. So why not? Underestimate Sharapova at your own risk, she will leave it all on the court. However, she is up against a better player in every way, not to mention a player that is playing for history. Prediction: My head Serena in 2 pretty close sets. My heart says Sharapova in 3 sets. Pay more attention to my head.
(13) Agnieszka (Aga) Radwanska vs. (20) Garbine Muguruza- 8 a.m. on ESPN
Head to head- Tied 2-2
This half of the draw was wrecked by upsets, most notably the 3rd round exit of defending champ Petra Kvitova. That has led to this surprising matchup. It is a contrast in styles. Muguruza is a massive hitter. Radwanska is a player that relies on guile and verity to frustrate her opponents. Radwanska has been here twice before, losing at this stage in 2013 and reaching the final in 2012. Despite having a tough year leading into the grass court season, the Polish Ninja seems to be in good form. Muguruza has struggled on big occasions in her young career. A major semifinal debut is just that. The young Spaniard will have her day in the sun, but not here. Prediction: Radwanska in 2 comfortable sets.