The Dubai semi-finals features a Williams special as both Venus and Serena progressed to the last four. All four quarter-finals were wrapped up in straight sets. In other news, I was scouring through the future entry lists and discovered that Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic have already committed to the AEGON Classic at Birmingham this year (via SpiceBoy on Women’s Tennis Forum). Upgraded to a Premier tournament, this is already good news for Birmingham and has made me consider attending again!
1. Caroline Wozniacki v Venus Williams (WTA Dubai, SF)
Would you believe it but Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams have not played each other since 2008. In Dubai, they will go head-to-head as Caroline looks to break a four match losing streak against Venus and win her first ever set against the American. Wozniacki’s year had been pretty rough up till this tournament. She lost early in Sydney and Doha, and was beaten by the in-form Garbine Muguruza at the Australian Open. After losing the first set of her first round match to Sabine Lisicki, 6-2 and then facing three early break points in the second set, things weren’t exactly looking cosmic in Dubai. However the Dane produced a fighting display to defeat Lisicki in three sets and has since produced two very respectable straight set wins over Annika Beck and Sorana Cirstea.
Wozniacki now takes on Venus who has had an equally rewarding week. Her big win came against Ana Ivanovic in the second round, as she won very convincingly, 6-2 6-1. Thursday’s victory over Flavia Pennetta was very impressive too as she fought hard to wrap up the second set having been unable to serve out the match at the first time of asking. Venus’s level of tennis this year has been very high and she deserves results like these. I would regard Venus and Caroline as two of the best competitors on the WTA tour although both have regressed in recent years. This will be a huge match for both players and I think that the attacking intent from Venus will give her the edge.
Prediction: V.Williams d. Wozniacki in 3 sets
2. Serena Williams v Alize Cornet (WTA Dubai, SF)
The loss of Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova opened up the second quarter of the draw, which was snapped up with both hands by Alize Cornet. The Frenchwoman has made a pretty fine start to the year and continues to make deep inroads in noteworthy tournaments. This week, she has beaten Kirsten Flipkens and Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets, both crafty and competent players. Serena Williams represents a huge step up in the next match for Cornet. Serena beat Jelena Jankovic, 6-2 6-2 in a match that attracted more headlines for another little spat between the players reminiscent of Charleston last year (take a look below). Serena leads the head-to-head with Cornet by 3 wins to 0. Cornet is the type of player, who could get a ropey Serena, well, on the ropes. However she will do marvellously well to even win a set off Serena because I see the world number one not being troubled in this one.