The second of the women’s semi-finals at Roland Garros on Thursday will see the world number one, Serena Williams take on the world number 24, Timea Bacsinszky. Before this week, the third round was Timea’s best showing at a Grand Slam. By virtue of reaching her first ever Grand Slam semi-final, Bacsinszky will crack the world’s top 15, which puts her in an excellent position to get a top 16 seed at Wimbledon. Bacsinszky has had a great year; highlights have included two titles in Acapulco and Monterrey, a final in Shenzhen and quarter-finals in Indian Wells. I’m chuffed to see her back all that up with such an brilliant Grand Slam run. Timea’s draw opened up having to play Alison Van Uytvanck in the quarters, but she did beat Madison Keys and Petra Kvitova back-to-back which even on clay, is still notable.
Serena played three consecutive three setters, coming from a set down to beat Anna-Lena Friedsam (5-7 6-3 6-2, R2), Victoria Azarenka (3-6 6-4 6-2, R3) and Sloane Stephens (1-6 7-5 6-3, QF). Serena was two games from the defeat against Azarenka and one game away against Stephens. Those two wins were fabulous escapes. On Thursday, Serena maintained her unbeaten record against Sara Errani with a 6-1 6-3 victory in the quarter-finals. Serena’s record against the three remaining players in the draw is a combined 18-1. In the Serena-Timea head-to-head, Serena leads 2-0. Their last match was at Indian Wells where Bacsinszky played a fine match but came up short, 7-5 6-3.
I’m going for Serena but I believe this will be a very tight match. Bacsinszky has been playing some superb tennis this fortnight. In a high quality quarter-final against Van Uytvanck, Bacsinszky hit 39 winners (to 22 unforced errors). She has the ability to go for the winners, particularly on that backhand side, but she also defends well and has the ability to mix up her game. I find her fascinating to watch and I believe she will be top ten by the end of the year. Serena hasn’t looked convincing at this tournament but here she is in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam. Now that she’s this far, it would be surprising to see her slip up where she so often turns on the style.
Prediction: S.Williams d. Bacsinszky in 2 tight sets
ATP RG Semi-Final Predictions
Novak Djokovic d. Andy Murray in 3 sets
Stan Wawrinka d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 3 sets