One wonders if Venus Williams and her team took copious notes during her 6-4, 6-4 second-round loss to Elina Svitolina, as her sister Serena now gets set to face the world No. 5. Serena, the favorite in this semifinal matchup, likely won’t need any assistance, but a little extra game-planning never hurt anybody. Serena is on a mission at this year’s US Open. Aside from her one set hiccup against 17-year-old Caty McNally, she has dismantled the competition. In her quarterfinal, she laid down one of the all-time smackdowns on 18th-seeded Wang Qiang, winning 6-1, 6-0 in 44 minutes. Svitolina, who has yet to drop a single set, should provide the toughest test yet for the 23-time major champion. Serena owns a 4-1 head-to-head record over the Ukrainian but lost their last meeting at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The first Grand Slam doubles title for the superstar duo of Ashleigh Barty and Victoria Azarenka is on the horizon. High-profile singles players competing in doubles events is huge for the sport, as big names fill up stadiums, no matter the format. Excluding the iconic Williams sisters squad, Barty and Azarenka would be the first pair of Grand Slam singles titles holders to win a major doubles trophy since Martina Hingis and Mary Pierce at the 2000 French Open. Barty and Azarenka are heavy favorites in their semifinal matchup against Viktoria Kuzmova and Alexandra Sasnovich.
Tennis writers around the world are running out of superlatives to describe Canadian phenom Bianca Andreescu. The 19-year-old is in the home stretch of a historic season, a remarkable 43-4 on the year. In January, Andreescu was playing WTA 125k level tournaments, now she is one match away from her first major final. Keep in mind that this is just her fourth career Grand Slam main draw appearance. Her opponent on Friday will almost surely be her toughest test so far this tournament. Belinda Bencic oozes talent, racking up eight Top-10 wins on the season. The first meeting between the Canadian and the Swiss promises to entertain. Both players have an arsenal of weapons at their disposal. But Andreescu has not lost a competed match since February and has won an astounding 12 consecutive three-set matches.
Despite her three-set loss to Bianca Andreescu, Elise Mertens will leave New York with her head held high—and possibly a trophy. The Belgian is pulling double duty this week, advancing to the quarterfinals of singles and semifinals of doubles. Mertens and partner Aryna Sabalenka have been crushing the competition this week and haven’t lost a set en route to the final four. The two will face off against the somewhat surprise team of Vania King and Caroline Dolehide. The American duo combines youth and power with savvy and championship experience. In 2010, King won two Grans Slam titles with partner Yaroslava Shvedova. Dolehide crushes the ball, while King provides some of the best hands in the game. Mertens and Sabalenka, winners of the ‘Sunshine Double’ at Indian Wells and Miami, are strong favorites in this match, but the rowdy pro-American crowd will do their best to lift King and Dolehide into the final round. Read More