Everyone gets nervous. We saw a bit of that in the last round for these four players who have qualified to play in the Semifinals. Whereas Serena's nervousness came in the second set after winning the first, the other three players got off to slow first sets before overcoming being down a break to win the first set. All three won in two sets while Serena won in three sets.
First Half - The Anticipated vs The Toss-Up
Serena Williams vs. Barbora Strycova
Expected: Serena continues to show why she has dominated for so long. She has learned to overcome the court technician type players who gave her trouble early in her career. This round's opponent, Strycova, is a bit different. She's a blend of precise technique and herky-jerky movements.
Surprise: Strycova is the long shot of the remaining four and only one who can get Serena into an emotional match. To defeat Serena, Strycova needs to get herself pumped early and let her exuberance rankle Serena.
Prediction: Serena who has won all three of their matches without dropping a set. All matches were at major tournaments.
The Second Half -- The Forgotten Quarter vs The Surprise Quarter
Elina Svitolina vs. Simona Halep
Expected: Halep was one of two favorites to be here facing Karolina Pliskova. Though she's had tough moments during matches, she's dropped only one set.
Surprise: Svitolina is ranked #8 in this draw but the prediction was for the #3 seed Pliskova to own this semifinal spot.
Prediction: A true Toss-Up. They have met five times and Svitolina leads 3 to 2. They usually meet deep in tournaments -- quarterfinals or later. They're evenly matched physically with Halep being a bit stronger. Svitolina is the more offensive player. Both are great defensively and very much court technicians. Svitolina by a hair.