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Ricky’s Picks For The Wimbledon 2019 Semifinals: Halep vs. Svitolina And Serena vs. Strycova

Simona Halep of Romania returns to Shuai Zhang of China in their quarter final match during the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 09 July 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO COMMERCIAL SALES

By Ricky Dimon

 

It is Ladies’ Day again at Wimbledon on Thursday, when four will be dwindled down to two. The semifinals feature Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina, and Barbora Strycova.

 

Ricky previews the action and makes his predictions.

 

(7) Simona Halep vs. (8) Elina Svitolina

This should be a good one in every way. Eyeing her second slam title, Halep has dropped just one set this fortnight and has won seven in a row—a stretch that includes a 6-3, 6-1 rout of Victoria Azarenka. Svitolina is in the SFs of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career, but she had previously reached four quarterfinals so she is not afraid of the big stage. The eighth-ranked Ukrainian is also 10-1 in total sets at Wimbledon, highlighted by a 6-4, 6-2 defeat of recent Roland Garros quarterfinalist Petra Martic.

Although Halep is a considerable favorite (-220), Svitolina will take heart from her 4-3 advantage in the head-to-head series. This has not been an easy matchup for the world No. 7, who is 1-3 in their last four meetings but most recently got the job done 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 earlier this season on the hard courts of Doha.

“Every time was tough against Svitolina,” Halep assured. “I expect a tough one also again. It’s (the) semifinals, so (it) doesn’t matter how many times you played before or how the score is, you just have to give your best and to try to win.”

The Romanian should, but it’s going to be close.

Pick: Halep in 3

 

(11) Serena Williams vs. Barbora Strycova

At 33 years old, Strycova is through to a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time in her career. In fact, the Czech had previously reached just one quarterfinal (also at the All-England Club in 2014). she is a grass-court specialist, despite what those results would suggest. Strycova’s 14 other trips to Wimbledon ended with losses in either the first round (six times), second round (four times), or third round (four times). By comparison, she has advanced to the Australian Open fourth round on three occasions.

“She knows what to do,” Serena said of Strycova. “She has a good all-around game. She’s incredibly tricky. It’s definitely not easy, but it’s something I’m definitely geared up for. Just to be out here, just go out there and do the best that I can.”

Serena Williams of the USA in action against Alison Riske of the USA during their quarter final match for the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 09 July 2019. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO COMMERCIAL SALES

If there is one grass-court specialist on tour, it’s the woman Serena just beat on Tuesday. Alison Riske, who had previously defeated world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, tested Serena in a major way but ultimately fell 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. It was arguably the highest-quality match of the tournament, one that will give the 23-time Grand Slam champion plenty of confidence going into the semifinals. Serena is especially motivated, too, as title No. 24 would tie her atop the all-time charts with Margaret Court. She certainly wants to deliver more history, and fans want to see it. The 37-year-old is also enjoying more crowd support than usual as the mixed doubles partner of Britain’s home hero Andy Murray. Finally, Serena leads the head-to-head series with Strycova 3-0 overall and 6-0 in total sets, without having played a single tiebreaker (including a 6-2, 6-4 victory at Wimbledon in 2012).

Pick: Williams in 2

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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