The first Grand Slam of the season entered its final stage. We know all semifinalists in both single competitions, and only one of them, Madison Keys, has surprisingly came this far. She defeated three seeded players, Delacqua, Kvitova and Venus Williams along the way, but she will face the toughest opponent yet – first seed and the biggest favorite, Serena Williams. In second semifinal in women’s tournament we will see an all-Russian clash – Makarova versus Sharapova.
At the men’s tournament, Djokovic will play against Stan Wawrinka, while Tomas Berdych will battle against Andy Murray.
In an all-American duel between Keys and Williams, we should have a clear situation. Williams is the absolute favorite to win the match, especially if we take a look at her career statistics at Grand Slam. Serena won 72% of the matches on Grand Slams when she reached the semifinal, and she won all of her matches after she reached semifinal of Australian Open. So, whenever Serena doesn’t lose early on a tournament and reaches the semifinal stage, you can bet that she will win the title.
Madison Keys is one of the emerging talents from the USA, but her compatriots who had some success in teenage years are now way out of the picture, such as Melanie Oudin or Sloan Stephens. Keys defeated only four top 10 players in her five years on tour, and this semifinal is by far the best result in her career. On the plus side, she hasn’t played against Serena yet, and with this level of self-confidence she could maybe put up a fight. However, Serena is clearly a favorite, and it would be a huge upset if Keys even snatched a set from her.
In the second semifinal, Maria Sharapova will play against Ekaterina Makarova. Makarova is slowly becoming a respectable player on tour, maybe even Slam potential, even though she is 26, she can be considered as a late bloomer. She already defeated numerous Slam contenders, including Serena Williams here in Australia, but she never qualified for the Grand Slam final. Additionally, Sharapova leads by 5:0 in head to head matches, so we will probably watch another final between Serena and Maria.
In the men’s tournament, all semifinalists played superbly throughout the whole tournament, and they are entering this final phase with a goal to win the trophy. Djokovic and Wawrinka will try to recreate an epic encounter from last year’s quarterfinal, when Wawrinka won the match in five sets, and then cruised to his first Grand Slam trophy. However, Djokovic defeated him twice after that match very easily in straight sets, and he looks focused and determined not to allow any surprise this time. Novak leads in head to head matches by 19:3.
Tomas Berdych defeated Rafael Nadal along with his old demons. The Spaniard defeated him 17 times in a row before this semifinal win in straight sets! The Czech seems rejuvenated and full of self-confidence, and Wawrinka’s and Cilic’s last year’s success probably affected that. Berdych believes that if these two could do it, he can do it too, and he will be a very hard opponent for Murray.
In fact, Berdych leads by 6:4 in their head to head matches, and they have one win each on the Grand Slam tournaments. So, we should expect a very even match, with an uncertain outcome, and Berdych is maybe even a slight favorite to win it.