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US Open 2019 women's semifinal: Elina Svitolina vs Serena Williams, preview and prediction

ANALYST
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280   //    05 Sep 2019, 11:27 IST

Elina Svitolina (L) and Serena Williams
Elina Svitolina (L) and Serena Williams

Elina Svitolina’s road to her second Major semi-final, and first-ever at the US Open, has not at all been easy. But she has shown tremendous ability, courage and desire to break new ground and is yet to drop a set at the last Grand Slam of the year.

So far, Svitiolina has overcome a barrage of dangerous players including Johanna Konta in the quarterfinal, Madison Keys in the 4th round and 7-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in the 2nd round. She now takes on her biggest challenge as she locks horns with the mighty Serena Williams in the upcoming semi-final clash at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

2019 US Open - Serena Williams
2019 US Open - Serena Williams

The younger Williams sister does not need any introduction, and she is all set to take the court for her 13th semi-final at Flushing Meadows.

Apart from her second round battle against the American teenager Caty McNally, where the 37-year old American dropped her only set of the tournament, Serena has given the impression of a woman on a mission. She will be hoping to stay on-course to clinch her record-equaling 24th Major which has been eluding her for well over a year now.

Serena leads Svitolina 4-1 in their meetings on the tour so far. However, in their most recent clash at the 2016 Rio Olympics, it was Svitolina who bested Serena in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

In their two clashes at the Majors so far, Serena dominated Svitolina on the red dirt of Paris in 2016, but the Ukrainian did manage to win a set off Serena on the hardcourts of Melbourne back in 2015.

2019 US Open - Elina Svitolina
2019 US Open - Elina Svitolina

Svitolina had a dream run last year as she not only won the year-ending WTA Finals, but also captured titles at Brisbane, Dubai and Rome. The 24-year-old might not have won any title so far this year, but she has been in scintillating form in New York.

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Svitolina is playing in her second consecutive Slam semifinal, and eyeing a maiden Grand Slam final berth. She squandered her opportunity at Wimbledon, losing to eventual champion Simona Halep in straight sets in the semi-finals, and would want to improve on that here.

The numbers seem to back Serena to win her 7th US Open title this year. On both the previous occasions when the 37-year old American lost in the final at New York - 2002 and 2011 - she came back strongly to win the title next year. Will the story be repeated in 2019, considering the 23-time Major champion lost to Naomi Osaka in the final last year?

The 37-year-old, who is injury-prone and nearing the end of her career, hasn’t shown any evident signs of slowing down. But against an in-form opponent like Svitolina, who is 13 years younger than the American, fatigue could play a factor.

Svitolina is a swift mover on the court and with a strong defensive game, she has the potential to make Serena crumble under pressure. The Ukrainian is in top form and has been enjoying a dream run at this year’s US Open; can Serena stop that dream run, or will Svitolina prove to be a little too hot to handle for her senior opponent?

With Serena playing at her home Slam, there is no doubt who the crowd favorite will be. But support from the stands may not be enough for the American in this mouth-watering clash.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to win in three sets.

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