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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

And Then There Were Four!

I noticed an interesting trend in the women's game, especially during the grand slams.  Last year, in all the four grand slams, two of the four women in the semi-final round were ranked outside the top 8.  That rarely happened before 2014.  

The trend continued this year when in the Australian Open, Ekaterina Makarova and Madison Keys reached the semi-finals when both were not in the top 8 seedings.  So it's no surprise that in this year's French Open, another two women, way out of top 8, Lucie Safarova (#13) and Timea Bacsinszky (#24), made it into the semi-final round.

I think it just shows how competitive and deep the women's bench is nowadays, that even someone ranked in the 90s, Alison van Uytvanck, can make it into the quarterfinals! So if you're a top 10 player and you're not having a good day in the office, you might just be booted out!

Anyway, Serena Williams may be on track to get her 20th grand slam title in this year's French Open.  If she does, she'll just be two titles away from Steffi Graf's record.  The thing with Serena though is that there are certain players who have defeated her in a grand slam setting (Alize Cornet, Garbine Muguruza and Sloane Stephens) - and these players are not even in the top 10.

So, any of these three women left in the draw can take a page from the women who have won over Serena in the past few slams and find out how they defeated her.  I guess that would be a wise thing to do.

Based on how they play though, I think Ana Ivanovic has the best chance to defeat Serena since Ana is also a former French Open champion and she has the necessary skills and experience to win over Serena.  Being in a grand slam finals is by itself such a grand occasion that it can easily fluster someone who's not used to it.

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