US Open Day 11, Semi-Final Preview: Serena Williams v Roberta Vinci

Roberta Vinci

The first of the women’s 2015 US Open semi-finals will be played between Serena Williams and Roberta Vinci.

Roberta Vinci reached her first ever Grand Slam semi-final with a hard fought 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory over Kristina Mladenovic in two hours and 32 minutes. It was a ropey match for two sets but the quality improved significantly in the final set. Mladenovic started with a landslide of errors; although she got her serve going at the end of the set, Mladenovic couldn’t make any inroads on the Vinci serve. Vinci was also controlling her fair share of the rallies (surprising) and causing Mladenovic problems with her backhand slice (not surprising).

The second set was a little messy; Mladenovic failed to convert on six break points at 1-0. The Frenchwoman kept going for the drop shot which was not working with Vinci reading it practically every time. Vinci broke at 2-1 but then forfeited her advantage with a slack game filled with errors. Mladenovic then played some of her best tennis to hold and go up a break, converting with a gorgeous forehand return winner that sailed down-the-line. This set was like a yo-yo and kept on giving with the changes in momentum as Mladenovic double faulted four times (not consecutively) to give away her break.

This was as erratic as i’ve seen Mladenovic play in the last few months although once again, conditions were tough and it was a situation she’d never been in before. Mladenovic played some clutch tennis though to save two break points at 4-4 *15-40 and stay ahead. She called the trainer down at the next changeover for what appeared to be a leg injury. Vinci held with scoreboard pressure at *4-5 but succumbed in the next game with Mladenovic playing a smart return out wide on set point before hitting a backhand winner into the open space.

The third set was actually decent. It all came down to the crucial seventh game, a marathon 10-deuce game. Mladenovic had six game points but just couldn’t find that first serve, double faulting on a couple of them. Mladenovic was at 47% first serves for the match and did well to win the second set serving at 33% first serves (!). Vinci had five break points and finally converted after two double faults from Mladenovic and a shot into the net. Mladenovic had the trainer on again for her leg before enjoying a solid hold to force Vinci to serve it out. The Italian player did just that, playing solid and taking advantage of some over-aggressive returns from Mladenovic.

While Vinci’s draw has been very favourable with Mladenovic, the world number 40, her highest ranked opponent this fortnight, she deserves credit for taking advantage of her opportunity. You can only beat who is in front of you…

And she was understandably delighted…

Serena came through what sounded like an emotionally exhausting quarter-final match against Venus, 6-2 1-6 6-3. The pair hit 59 winners to just 37 unforced errors during the one hour and 38 minute contest. In a way, it was unfortunate that Venus had to play Serena because her form could have taken her even deeper in this draw.

It’s a case of five down and two to go for Serena. On paper, this looks to be a one-sided semi-final and there’s no way really of sugar coating it. Vinci did put up a decent account of herself when she played Serena in Toronto last month, 6-4 6-3. Vinci’s had a super run at the US Open and will be back in the world’s top 25 next week.


Serena for the win.

Prediction: Williams d. Vinci in 2 sets

Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

30 thoughts on “US Open Day 11, Semi-Final Preview: Serena Williams v Roberta Vinci

  1. A combination of Vinci playing well and Serena getting nervous or complacent could drag it to 3 sets. I have a feeling that could happen.


  2. I’m glad Serena mentioned Justine Henin along with Lindsay, Capriati, Clijsters and Hingis as some of the great players she has had to compete against. Justine was a very gutsy player and great clay court champion with one of the most beautiful one handed backhands on the women’s tour.. I do understand the pressure she feels from Venus is definitely massive cause she knows her too well, emotionally and game wise.
    I hope fans of Maria don’t feel slighted, Maria is a great player in her own right. I guess her H-H nullifies her inclusion here.

    We’re at the deep end now, family matters resolved, nothing much to see here. Serena in 2 sets. If the unthinkable happens, Serena in 3 sets. I cannot, for the life of me, see her losing this one.


    • There was a time not that long ago that folks tried to claim Henin was a better player than Serena. She was undeniably great, but never THAT good IMO. Her biggest win over Serena- the one that ended her last opportunity for a calender Slam- is tainted by her blatant cheating, something she’s since even admitting to doing.


      • Serena and Venus are far above the rest. Sugapova wins a slam every 2 years. Petra does well on grass and Azaranka on hard court. Sugapova was irrelevant this tournament and wasn’t missed. I wish Petra would look more exciting on the courts than look tired and miserable.


      • She can’t really help being ill now, can she? It’s a shame Ana Ivanovic is doing so poorly though when she brings such a positive energy to the court.


      • Circa 2010 and before, maybe, because Justine applied more tennis craft(variety) in her wins. Even that is debatable. But just for what Serena has done since, and even in her thirties, there is no comparison. She’s won from them all, the greats, the regulars, the wannabes and even the promising juniors.

        Some tennis fans have never liked the power game and never will. But, different strokes for different folks.


  3. Serena in two. Vinci played lazy in the quarters , worst match of the tournament , it pains me to say it beat back Halep VS Lisicki match.


    • You said it yourself, her opponents so far in the tournament were not exceptional. Relatively easy draw. After I saw how tough it was getting by Konta, I knew her odds thereafter in the sun against Flavia was slim. On her good days she can clock out in the middle of matches, now with Mono it’s going to be worse.

      Smart money will be on more consistent fighters, you saw the celebs in the crowds for Serena, packed house. The final was sold out before the tournament started not because of anyone else but Serena and her exploits. Love her or hate her, the WTA will surely miss her when she leaves. Petra needs to be consistent, her game is great when it is on. Serena is unique, but Petra can also make a statement for herself.


    • I don’t get why folks don’t like Vinci… she’s got such a fun, solid game. If only she’d had a little more power she’d have been a top player for sure. Not that her amazing doubles career and dozen singles titles count for nothing.


    • It’s just insane that’s Vinci is here – I can’t believe it. She was long gone in the Allertova match – but now at the semi. Its a laughable draw she has made. I just feel she won the lottery – Vinci has just made it so far, with all possible luck In the hole world.

      I would not place any bet on Vinci – her luck must be over!


      • You can say Serena is 100% going to win. She could get injured. This us open has the highest injury rate I have ever witnessed. Look at Kei foot problems costing him a match, jack sock heat stroke, monfils elbow fall, goffin cramps, vesely injury. These are the ones off the top of my head. There were at least three more on top of these.


    • Epic result for the finale! I don’t know how to feel though, I’m not unhappy, just amazed by the two Forza ladies in the final. Bookies be damned! No one would have thought of this finale.
      It’s going to be an oldie but a goodie.

      Commiserations to Serena, I never thought Vinci could find a way, but as I watched the match, she never disappeared, then in the second, it dawned on me that Vinci could be the one making History. It took a wily oldie to stop the champion oldie.

      By this win, I think Roberta Vinci has won her US Open, crown or not!


  4. This match somehow proved that serena is just slightly lower than steffi
    Not bcs she was not able to make history but lost to a player who plays quite similar to steffi and was at her best means kind of steffi graf herself stopped serena


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