It’s not the semifinal we expected, but it’s certainly the semifinal that Maria Sakkari and Barbora Krejcikova deserve. The Greek has long been waiting for her major breakout performance, and she found it in a big way in her 6-4, 6-4, victory over defending champion Iga Swiatek. Sakkari was the better player from start to finish, controlling the points with her combination of raw power and exceptional court-coverage.

Meanwhile, it seems that world No. 33 Krejcikova has forgotten how to lose. The Czech, a former doubles No. 1, has won 10 consecutive matches on clay—snatching her first WTA singles title two weeks ago in Strasbourg. Her doubles prowess is apparent in her singles game, filled with incredible variety and a comfortability at net few other players possess.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Sakkari is listed as a -160 favorite and projected to win by 1.5 games. Krejcikova defeated Sakkari in March in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships' opening round, but Sakkari’s impressive win over the oddsmakers prohibitive favorite on Wednesday likely propelled her to favorite status. However, we can throw all the odds and projections out the window, because there is absolutely no telling what may happen in a matchup between two first-time major semifinalists.

Sakkari's coach Tom Hill is an expert strategist, and will surely come up with a rock-solid game plan, one that should make good use of his player’s speed and athleticism.

Advertising

If Sakkari plays her game, she should be able to control the majority of the points with her extreme weight of shot.

But Krejcikova will do well to counter Sakkari’s movement and heavy hitting. Her mid-point variety has been spectacular all tournament, and should cause problems for the Greek, just like everyone else she’s faced in the past three weeks.

In just one point, the Czech utilizes a knifing slice, a heavy moon-ball, and a short-angle before finishing the point with a backhand winner down the line. 

Advertising

While it’s been a solid week for The Pick, with an 8-2 record so far during the tournament, your guess is as good as mine, as this match will come down to who can better control their nerves. A blowout in either direction would be surprising, so we’ll be taking the over 21.5 game total at -110, but would not recommend placing any large bets in what is sure to be a tight and tense semifinal affair.

The Pick: Over 21.5 total games