The first of the womens semi-finals is likely to the most hotly contested as Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova will play each other first time in 2013. Sharapova had the toughest quarter-final as she was dropped a first set bagel by Jelena Jankovic before reigning in the large tally of unforced errors to book her place in the last four with a 0-6 6-4 6-3 win. It was a great effort from Jankovic, who should have built a healthy reserve of confidence for the grass court season where she has never done particularly well. Azarenka had to overcome a tough opening set with Maria Kirilenko that took 76 minutes before easing through the second set to post a 7-6 6-2(3) win.
Azarenka leads the head-to-head by 7 wins to 5, but lost their lost encounter at the YEC in Istanbul, 6-4 6-2. Sharapova beat Azarenka twice in 2012 although both of those wins were when Vika was not at 100%. Their matches are always a little bit fiesty because there is no doubt that they are not very friendly with each other. Although I went for Sharapova to make the final, in this match-up I really do favour Vika. She has more variety to her game, particularly if the A-game is not working and can get Sharapova on the run. I think it will be a tight match, three sets and an Azarenka win.
Prediction – Azarenka to beat Sharapova in 3 sets
2. Serena Williams v Sara Errani
Serena Williams lost her first set of the tournament to Svetlana Kuznetsova and was a point away from a double break deficit in the decider of her quarter-final match before finding the magic to win, 6-1 3-6 6-3. It was a great effort from Sveta, who I thought would be the biggest test for Serena throughout her draw at RG. Serena now takes on Sara Errani, who edged a very tight two setter with Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4 7-6(6). Errani has done remarkably well to make the semi-finals and recover a large chunk of her ranking points. Unfortunately I do not see Sara having many chances against Serena although their most recent match in Madrid did involve a tight opening set before Serena strolled through the second to post a 7-5 6-2 win. Particularly after yesterday’s test against Kuznetsova, Serena looks well on course for her second Roland Garros title…
You can view my original predictions for the womens tournament HERE. Overall it has been a really good tournament for Moo although I missed the boat with Errani and Azarenka making the semi-finals.