The Ladies Championship at Wimbledon 2019 has been as open and exciting as expected, but we are now at the Semi Final stages – and there will be a new name on the trophy this year as defending champion Angelique Kerber was eliminated in the second round, losing in three sets to unseeded American Lauren Davis.
Indeed, it has not been a good year for seeded players – of the top ten seeds coming in to the event, only two remain – being #7 seed Simona Halep, who dispatched teen sensation Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff, and #8 seed Elina Svitolina (above).
Still in the tournament though – despite a huge quarter final scare – and now very short priced favourite to win the Ladies Championship this year, is Serena Williams (above). She was pushed all the way in the last round by fellow American Alison Riske, who had earlier defeated the #1 seed Ashleigh Barty – Riske taking Williams to a third set before going down 6-3 in a brave display.
The final player to make up the quartet is unseeded Czech player Barbora Strycova (above) – conqueror of British #1 Johanna Konta in the quarter finals. Strycova had already announced that this could be the last Wimbledon of her career – but her first Wimbledon Semi Final appearance and impressive display so far could make her re-think that – especially if she can make a Grand Slam final.
The draw has panned out then to appear as follows with the final four left :
Serena Williams (11) v Barbora Strycova
Elina Svitolina (8) v Simona Halep (7)
WILLIAMS v STRYCOVA
As well as Strycova has done in reaching this stage – and she displayed a lot of tactical nous and strategy to take the sting out of Konta’s serving power – it seems a reach that she can best the formidable Williams, with inexperience severely against her here. Serena’s intensity and familiarity with this stage of a Grand Slam should overcome Strycova, who has little to lose, but will still feel the pressure and awe of reaching her first Slam semi final. Williams is now 37 and hasn’t won a Slam title since 2017 – but will feel this is a huge opportunity with so many of the names that have beat her since 2017 out of this years tournament. Strycova will have her moments, but we see a straight sets victory for the American here.
SVITOLINA v HALEP
A much tougher match to call. Svitolina is just 24 and, like Strycova, has made her first Grand Slam Semi Final – exceeding her own expectations, stating : “It feels amazing. It is the first semi-final for me, and I actually didn’t expect it to happen here. It is exciting and I am looking forward to it already”. Svitolina has flown somewhat under the radar but has been impressive in reaching the Semi Finals, showing a lot of tenacity in winning some close sets and matches. Her opponent, Halep (above), is much more experienced. She has made a Wimbledon Semi Final appearance before – in 2014 – and has made four Grand Slam final appearances also – winning one (2018 French Open) but losing the other three. Halep has only dropped one set so far at Wimbledon 2019 – we like her to advance to her fifth Grand Slam final here.
Both Semi Final matches will be played on Thursday 11 July, with the final being on Saturday 13 July.