Australian Open SF previews and picks: Williams vs. Radwanska, Kerber vs. Konta

Serena 1Serena Williams is two wins away from a 22nd Grand Slam title as she goes up against Agnieszka Radwanska at the Australian Open on Thursday. A more surprising semifinal features Angelique Kerber and Johanna Konta.

(1) Serena Williams vs. (4) Agnieszka Radwanska

Williams and Radwanska will be going head-to-head for the ninth time in their careers when they battle for a spot in the Australian Open title match on Thursday. All eight of their previous encounters have gone the way of Williams, who is 5-0 against Radwanska on hard courts and 10-0 in total hard-court sets. Their only previous Grand Slam meetings have come at Wimbledon, where the American cruised 6-4, 6-0 (2008 quarterfinals) and 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 (2012 final).

A title Down Under would be Williams’ seventh and would give her 22 slam titles for her career. So far this fortnight the world No. 1 has disposed of Camila Giorgi, Su-Wei Hsieh, Daria Kasatkina, Margarita Gasparyan, and Maria Sharapova without surrendering a set. Radwanska punched her ticket to the last four by taking out Christina McHale, Genie Bouchard, Monica Puig, Anna-Lena Friedsam, and Carla Suarez-Navarro while dropping just one set to Friedsam in the process. The fourth-ranked Pole is extremely consistent from the back of the court, but–as her past history against Williams suggest–that is not a recipe for success in this particular matchup.

Pick: Williams in 2 losing 7 games or fewer

(7) Angelique Kerber vs. Johanna Konta

This, of course, is a far more surprising semifinal–mainly because of Konta. The 24-year-old registers at 47th in the rankings and was therefore at the mercy of the draw as an unseeded floater. But she upset Venus Williams in the first round and was off to the races. Konta has since defeated Saisai Zheng, Denisa Allertova, Ekaterina Makarova, and Shuai Zhang. The Brit had previously won only four career Grand Slam matches and had been past the second round only once.

Up next for her is a first-ever meeting with Kerber. The German ousted two-time Aussie Open champion Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 7-5 on Wednesday. That was preceded by wins over Masaki Doi, Alexandra Dulgheru, Madison Brengle, and Annika Beck. Kerber is 10-1 in 2016, having fallen only to Azarenka in the Brisbane final. The sixth seed has a huge edge in experience, as she is now a four-time major quarterfinalist and a two-time major semifinalist (previously reached the last four at Wimbledon in 2012). This is where Konta’s run ends.

Pick: Kerber in 2

23 Comments on Australian Open SF previews and picks: Williams vs. Radwanska, Kerber vs. Konta

  1. Serena over Kerber for the title!

    Both Radwanska and Konta stand no chance in their respective matches, not even to steal a set…

    • Cruel but true about Aga, natashao. Unless something is wrong with Serena. Serena got off to a slow start v Maria, but had no troubl catching up and passing her. Pounded into oblivion – no mercy.

      Konta has a fresh mind. No trauma from previous encounters with Serena. Johanna doesn’t do fear…yet. Thinking Konta could make a better final v Serena than Kerber. But I doubt it makes much difference. And yet, I have to watch these matches…almost missed Vinci v Serena by being too sure about a one-sided beatdown.

      Pick is Kerber in 3. Konta will give her all and get a set. It’s optimistic an optimistic vote.

      Serena in 2, losing less than 7. But Serena could eat breakfast, have her coffee, and read the news while playing the first set, lose the first set, and still win.

  2. Super glad Kerber has good chance to make final. I hope she takes title but obviously that won’t be too easy lol.

  3. I am going with Serena in 2 sets losing 7 games or less. I wish it wouldn’t be so, because I like Aga. But she has never even beaten Serena. I don’t think it’s going to happen here.

    After seeing Kerber beat Vika in 2 sets, I am quite impressed with her. I see her winning, possibly in 3 sets. Konta’s got game and is playing some fearless tennis.

      • Hi Nny. I posted the link to the TG bracket pool “what if scenarios” on the Djokovic vs Federer thread. Your bracket won’t win because you picked Rafa but you are up there in all scenarios. Good job!

        • rc,

          Yes, I checked it out. But it’s kind of confusing. I know that I can’t win. This is where picking Rafa really hurt me. But it’s okay since it was my first time doing it. I am happy that I had a decent showing. You helped make it more fun! I don’t know if I can continue watching this match. Serena already up two breaks.

          • In all 8 scenarios you are in the top 5. Most likely you will be 2nd or 3rd. Not only did I pick Rafa to the final but the Kyrgios pick deep was just dumb. No doubt I’ll keep picking like that because that’s what I do. You have a good head for this. I rate you right up there with a couple of the top tennis-x bracketeers – who shall not be named – and are better than me!

            • rc,

              You are just too kind! Your encouragement was so much appreciated. I don’t know why I thought that I would not do well. I know my tennis, having watched it all my life. But the challenge of picking all the matches at the beginning without seeing any matches, seemed intimidating. I forgot that you picked Nik to go deep. I would have been okay with picking Rafa to get to the quarters or even semis, but final was just not realistic.

              I wonder if anyone got raonic getting to the semis. But you made it easier for me and I will most likely do it again!

              The Serena/Aga match went as expected. I hope this next one will be better.

            • Nny, Konta and Kerber is a much better match than the first one. Konta is playing even better than I expected. But it shouldn’t be surprising because she’s beaten some big names and as I keep saying, doesn’t do fear! 5-5 1st set.

              Anyway, I don’t recall anyone in our pool picking Milos to the semi but there is at least one bracket with Milos to the quarters. No one got all 4 semi-finalists right. Getting 3 SF’s is the best the top pickers did. What I find funny is that the one Andy bracket and one Roger bracket might still win! lol…
              We’ll soon see after Nole v Roger.

              My pleasure, as I said, I’ve been doing this since 2010 – it’s a game and it’s fun. Glad to hear you’ll do it again! Really wish the ATP master’s 1000 series still had a bracket game.

              WTA had one for their Premier tournaments last year.

            • I’m probably not a good judge when Aga’s getting bageled – at least I’m watching this match with both eyes open. I like watching Konta and trying to work out if she’d be better v Serena. Kerber 1-5 v Serena and has never taken a set. She might be a deer in the headlights again.

              Konta is fun to watch.

  4. If Kerber makes it, this will be her first GS final! Thought she’d been there done that. A lamb to the slaughter v Serena.
    4-1 Kerber.

  5. Nice words from Angie to Johanna. Sweet.

    Very happy for Kerber 75 62 win. She says she’s looking forward to the challenge – nothing to lose.
    Congrats and Good Luck, Angelique Kerber!

  6. Gallant effort from Konta but today was a bridge too far. Kerber had the edge in experience – but as Ratcliff says Serena will eat her for breakfast.

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