It’s semi-final time at the US Open, and though the bookies are backing Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber to ease through their semi-finals and meet in Saturday’s showpiece, we don’t think either semi will be quite so straightforward.
Williams had to dig deep in the quarters to defeat Simona Halep in three sets, and now the great American faces the rapidly improving Karolina Pliskova.
Kerber meanwhile meets a much more well-known opponent in Caroline Wozniacki.
So without further ado, let’s get on with it…
Serena Williams v Karolina Pliskova
Serena is aiming to claim a record-breaking 23rd Slam title, fittingly on home soil, at the venue of her first Slam success, way back in 1999.
Semi-final opponent Karolina Pliskova was only seven when Serena defeated Martina Hingis in the previous century to usher in a new era, but now the 24-year-old faces the great American for herself.
It’s Pliskova’s best run at a tournament by far, besting a trio of third round appearances, and 2016 has unquestionably been her finest season.
A run to the semi-finals at Indian Wells in March hinted at things to come, and Pliskova duly came good on that promise.
Pliskova won the June’s Aegon Open in Nottingham, and swiftly followed that up with a run to the Eastbourne final.
But more was to come as Pliskova claimed her first WTA Premier title last time out in Cincinnati, beating Kerber in the final.
Williams won that day, and though she should prevail again here, the Pliskova of 2016 is on a mighty run of form and a Serena win in three sets at 7/2 could be rewarding.
But if you fancy Serena to simply prove too strong, the under 19.5 games at evens is the way to go.
Caroline Wozniacki v Angelique Kerber
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki is proving the most unpredictable player, and her run to the last four in America has pretty much come out of nowhere.
It’s the first time in 19 Slam tournaments that the Dane has got this far, and Wozniacki headed to Queens having suffered pre-third round exits in 10 of her previous 14 events this year.
In contrast, Angelique Kerber claimed her first Slam title in Australia this year, and backed that up with a run to the final at Wimbledon.
Kerber claimed silver in the Rio Olympics, and reached the final in Cincinnati, only for defeat to Pliskova to deny her claiming the world number one spot from Serena.
But former world number one Wozniacki is on a hot streak right now, and with Kerber only holding a slender 4-3 lead in the last seven meetings, you’ve got to be looking at three sets at 8/5, while 3/1 says Kerber edges it 2-1 to reach her third Slam final of 2016.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.