The first pair of quarter-finals were played on Tuesday at the US Open with the two highest seeds remaining in the draw both advancing to Thursday’s semi-finals. It was a perfectly scheduled evening of tennis with the day match finishing well into time for the Bake Off festivities of the evening! Read on for the highlights from day 9 of the 2019 US Open.
Match review 🎾
(5) Elina Svitolina d. (16) Johanna Konta, 6-4 6-4
Elina Svitolina made it back-to-back Slam semi-finals with another super steady display to maintain her 100% head-to-head record over Johanna Konta. Konta started well and threw in nuggets of variety, but made a few too many unforced errors in the key moments. It was another good serving day for Svitolina who convincingly served out both sets. I’ve noted it before this week but I feel Svitolina is hitting with excellent depth. On occasion, she got pushed back behind the baseline, but she did well to extend the rallies and force Konta to hit that one extra ball.
This was another impressive Slam performance from Konta. This defeat didn’t feel like the last two Slams as she went in as the underdog against Svitolina and I didn’t think she played a bad match. Svitolina has had a tough draw but she’s handled it brilliantly and is yet to drop a set with wins over Osuigwe, Venus, Yastremska, Keys and Konta. Next up will be the ultimate test…
While I was sleeping 😴
In the second of the quarter-finals, Serena Williams beat Wang Qiang, 6-1 6-0 in just 44 minutes. Serena dropped just four points in the second set and Wang Qiang didn’t hit a winner all match. Tough end to the tournament for Wang Qiang but still a great run.
Stat watch 🔢
Via WTA Insider on Twitter, the Serena-Wang Qiang quarter-final was the joint shortest match of 2019 so far.
Favourite snap 📸
Love this photo of Elina celebrating her quarter-final win by Jimmie48.
Press highlights 📰
Svitolina’s quarter-final press conference is linked below.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
Polls for Wednesday’s quarter-finals, Bencic vs. Vekic and Andreescu vs. Mertens, are up on the blog. Who you got?!
5 thoughts on “US Open 2019, Day 9: Back-to-back Slam semi-finals for Serena and Svitolina”
Is this the first time Svitolina and Serena have played since Rio 2016?! If Serena plays like she has these past couple of rounds, I can’t see it going beyond straight sets. But if Svitolina can get her moving and make it physical, she might really frustrate her and make her first Slam final. I’m sticking with Serena though!
Yes it is and feeling the same about this one. If Svitolina can get into the match and lengthen the rallies then it could be interesting.
Caught the match last night and I felt so apprehensive for Wang. In that mood, Serena is quite irresistible. Made Qiang seem like a ‘sweet summer child’. Still being capable of that level of tennis at her age is amazing.
I doubt it if any players often relish playing Serena(sans Osaka), but I feel it is a good match-up for Svitolina. Some mental fortitude and it is workable. All to gain nothing to lose should be the attitude. In addition to what you and James mentioned, she should take advantage of second serve returns. Such as it is, whenever I’ve actually expected more from Elina is when I’ve seemed to jinx her.
In the Keys matchup one of the commentators made an interesting comment that Svitolina has a higher number of unreturned serves than some of the bigger servers (including Keys). They suggested that maybe it was because it’s slower, opponents feel like they should be attacking it, and end up taking too big cuts at the ball. I remember playing a guy regularly who had an appallingly slow serve, and I think I can understand- I used to go for winners on his serve, and I probably missed more of them than against the big servers, who I would be trying to just make the shots.
Svitolina’s biggest weapon against Serena will be her return. If she can make a lot of returns, and put it at Serena’s feet, she could get Serena caught out. Serena tends to need longer than average to set up for a groundstroke after a serve. So if you take time away from her, she does NOT like it. The more pressure you put on her serve, the more she tries to threaten on the return, and potentially the more mistakes she could make…
But it’s all a big ask, still!
Once again Svitolina did exactly what she needed to do against Konta (and the other power hitters in her way: Drawing the errors from them). Credit to that; it’s clever and the win is the only thing that matters.
I wonder what the tactic has to be for Svitolina. I don’t think that wearing Serena down is the right way. Serena is more secure in her game and can hit very good ankles which makes ist more difficult for Svitolina to hit the passing shot or counterpunch strike.
I would like to see Svitolina stepping up and tries to be more agressive than in her last matches. That’s the better balance against Serena IMO.