The second of the women’s semi-final will be an all-American affair between Serena Williams and the unseeded breakthrough act at this year’s Australian Open, Madison Keys. In the first of Wednesday’s quarter-finals, Keys fought from a break down in the decider and through a leg injury to beat Venus Williams, 6-3 4-6 6-4.
Considering her movement appeared to be impeded, this was a really fine effort from Madison. Her power has always been impressive, (when she’s finding the court) but a win like this in a new situation against a former Grand Slam champion is really encouraging. There have been a few occasions where Keys has fallen short mentally in three setters, but wins like the ones she has had this week and also in Eastbourne validate the notion that she is one to watch and in my opinion, a future Grand Slam champion. In the second quarter-final of the day, Serena comfortably saw off Dominika Cibulkova, 6-2 6-2. This seemed to be a case of a bad match-up for Domi, who didn’t play a bad match at all. Serena hit 31 winners to 18 unforced errors and was dominant on serve, dropping just four points on her first serve.
It’s a shame that both players have health / fitness issues because if both fit and healthy, this could be brilliant. Serena didn’t sound too healthy after her win over Cibulkova and has been struggling with a cough over the past few days. Madison’s concerns seem to be more pressing with the injury affecting her movement against Venus. For Madison to just have a day’s turnaround is going to be tough and I cannot imagine her leg feeling much better tomorrow. The Australian Open match report cited that this was the same injury that Keys picked up at Wimbledon last year. She was unable to finish her fourth round match against Yaroslava Shvedova on that occasion. To stand a chance of beating Serena, I think Madison would have to be close to 100%.
Prediction: S.Williams d. Keys in 2 sets
Tuesday’s Poll Results: 39% of readers correctly predicted that Keys would beat V.Williams and 62% correctly predicted that S.Williams would beat Cibulkova.