The stories keep being written, the stars keep shining and the drama keeps coming in a scintillating slam, now reaching its final stages.
I’m starting with the women and we have arguably the two favourites, the tournament’s undisputed dark horse and the obligatory surprise package who shouldn’t be underestimated. Of course, Sofia Kenin is hardly a huge surprise package and although not quite a household name for most, is the 14th seed here and outclassed her more illustrious contemporary Gauff. In Kenin’s next opponent Ash Barty though we have the tournament favourite and the most consistently assured player on tour. She survived the power of Petra early on in their QF before eventually outwitting her increasingly flustered fellow major winner.
Similarly, Simona Halep destroyed Annet Kontaveit in under an hour and with the loss of just two games. The Romanian looked strong, chased down every ball and made minimal errors. Now though she will face an altogether sterner test in one of the toughest fixtures to predict of all the semi-finals here. Garbine Muguruza has looked not just her old self but her old self mid-domination, when it seemed she would finally kick on as the new regular at the top of the game. A list of victims including Pavlyuchenkova, Bertens and that drubbing of Svitolina points to a close match. Both have won at Roland Garros and SW19, who will give themselves the best shot at an Aussie title?
The men’s tournament has hogged the major stories and the lion’s share of the drama this fortnight. This trend only continued in the last eight as Federer escaped the bulging clutches of Tennys Sangdren, swatting aside 7 match points in the process. The Swiss will face Novak tomorrow after the defending champ silenced Milos Raonic with ruthless efficiency.
If Novak and Roger were expected to meet, on the other side of the draw few would have bet on seeing a Zverev/Thiem match-up. Both are well and truly established as not just ‘the next big things’ but as genuine regular contenders for majors. Yet, this congested half had featured a largely untroubled Nadal and rampant Wawrinka. They were the expected names instead. Staminal had no answer to a Zverev who is looking every inch the player who won the 2018 ATP tour finals whilst Thiem played his very best to silence a nervy and often uncharacteristically wayward Rafa.
Semi Finals predictions
Barty Vs Kenin – Barty in 2
Muguruza Vs Halep – Halep in 3
Federer Vs Djokovic – Novak in 4
Thiem Vs Zverev – Thiem in 4