WTA Hong Kong, Semi-Final Preview: Venus Williams v Jelena Jankovic

JankovicFor the first time since 2012, Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic will meet on the WTA tour. The pair have enjoyed a really fun head-to-head, splitting their 12 previous encounters. This is a hugeeee match for Venus in terms of qualification for the WTA Finals in Singapore. The wildcards for Moscow, the final Premier event of the year, were announced earlier and Venus’s name was NOT on the list. Therefore, with many of her closest challengers participating, Venus needs to reach the final in Hong Kong to crack the top eight and most likely, win to keep her chances alive. Venus and Jelena both secured 6-1 6-1 wins on Thursday. Venus needed just an hour to secure her fifth consecutive straight sets victory over Alizé Cornet. I expected Jankovic’s quarter-final match with Daria Gavrilova to be a real humdinger… It never delivered with Jankovic dropping just two games. Gavrilova didn’t help herself out with just 38% first serves in the match and 21% (!) in the first set.

Venus and Jelena first met in 2005 in Stanford and played every year up to 2010. Since then, meetings have been few and far between. In Rome in 2010, Jankovic enjoyed her most comprehensive victory over Williams, dropping just one game. Jankovic has always played the Williams sisters pretty well. In their last encounter, Williams won, 7-5 6-0 in Charleston. Although their last two matches have been decided in straight sets, before that, the pair had played nine consecutive three set matches! It is likely that we won’t get many more Venus-JJ matches so i’m really looking forward to watching and savouring this one.

Venus has had a great year, particularly at the Slams, and reaching Singapore would be some achievement. This could be a dazzling contest if both players step up to the plate. Venus has played a lot of tennis in the past few weeks but her last two matches have both been wrapped up in super quick fashion. Venus has won four of their five hard court encounters and I think motivation for Singapore will help her reach yet another final.

Prediction: V.Williams d. Jankovic in 3 sets

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