Serena looked unstoppable in her 44-minute win over Qiang Wang in the quarterfinals. Even she hasn’t had many matches where she’s hit 25 winners and her opponent has hit none. But over the course of her most recent comeback, we’ve seen her look unstoppable before, only to be stopped soon after. Last year here, she demolished Anastasija Sevastova in the semis, before losing to Naomi Osaka in the final. At Wimbledon this year, she demolished Barbora Strycova in the semis, before losing to Simona Halep in the final.
Qiang Wang’s steady ground strokes were like batting practice for Serena; they never made her uncomfortable, or made her run. Can Svitolina’s do more damage? Maybe. She hits more aggressively than Qiang Wang, but she’s probably not going to dictate rallies against Serena. These two have played five times; Serena won four of those meetings, while Svitolina took the most recent one, at the 2016 Rio Olympics. If this were a final, Serena might get tight, the way she did at Wimbledon and last year’s Open. But it’s a semi. She’s good at those. Winner: S. Williams
The second match on Thursday evening is, in most people’s minds, the undercard. But Andreescu vs. Bencic has a lot of potential. These are two young players who have both been touted, rightfully, as future Grand Slam winners. They’re both passionate about their craft, and excitable when they go about it. They have different strengths and styles. Andreescu can do many things and likes to play in all parts of the court, while Bencic does two things—take time away and redirect pace—very well. They’ll be facing each other for the first time, even as they play their first Grand Slam semifinal. If you’re looking for something brand new under the tennis sun, you should find it here. Winner: Andreescu
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