Coco is for Real! Vandeweghe Breezes Past Muguruza to Reach her First Slam Semifinal

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24: CoCo Vandeweghe of the United States plays a backhand in her quarterfinal match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain on day nine of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

You won’t easily find a player with a personality stronger than Coco Vandeweghe. Her on-court attitude, made of frequent racquet smashes and harsh personal comments–-as her comments on Twitter, especially the ones supporting Trump, have made Vandeweghe of those players you either love or dislike at all. I honestly don’t think there is someone who feels indifferent about Vandeweghe. There are some–like myself–in love with her game and her personality, and those who really can’t stand her.

However, like her or dislike her, Coco Vandeweghe knocked out Garbine Muguruza, as well, after Angelique Kerber, and reached her first ever Slam semifinal at the Australian Open.

Given her ancestry, it’s no surprise at all Vandeweghe is doing well at sports! Indeed, her grandfather was a professional basketball player, as well as her uncle, whereas her mother was an Olympic swimmer. Vandeweghe’s success, though, is in tennis.

The win against Muguruza was her 10th career win against Top 10 players, which is quite impressive given she scored her 9th just two days ago against Kerber!

With Mirjana Lucic-Baroni yet to play her quarterfinal match, one of my beloved unseeded players managed to reach the semifinals of the first Grand Slam of the year!

Vandeweghe’s run in the tournament has been thoroughly impressive. She dropped only one set to Eugenie Bouchard in the third round, and she managed some unbelievable upsets.

Starting from the first round, she defeated Italian former Top 10 Roberta Vinci, a player whose game is in trouble against Coco’s powerful serves and baseline shots. Her second round was the only opportunity for the American to breath a little bit during the tournament. Indeed, since she defeated a seed in the first round, she therefore could benefit from a seed’s draw in the second one, when she beat Pauline Parmentier without many issues.

In the third round, then, she survived a close three-setter against Bouchard, one of the most in-form players of the beginning of the season, who seemed to have found again the game that brought her to Slam semifinals and final back in 2014–not enough, however, to outlast the American in a match that was pretty poorly-played on both sides.

From the fourth round on, her Melbourne journey has shown the entire tennis world her potential, along with her game. First, she upset world #1 Angelique Kerber in straight sets, killing the German’s resistance with power and hitting 30 winners in 17 games! After the match point, she opened her arms as to say: “Really, somebody doubted I could do it?”.

And then, two days later, the American knocked out Garbine Muguruza, who was the favorite to reach the final in the upper part of the draw, with the first seed out of the tournament.

Once more, Vandeweghe didn’t drop a set in the whole match, eventually bagelling the Spaniard in the second one, hitting 31 winners in 16 games. What’s most impressive, though, is the fact that she didn’t lose her serve throughout the match, winning 88% of points on first serve. This stat is probably going to be the key, if she is determined to go deeper in the tournament.

As she stated after the quarterfinal match, she is not satisfied with semifinals, since she feels she can perform better. No surprise, given her personality, which may sound a bit arrogant, maybe. However, if we take a look at her accomplishments these two weeks, Coco going further in the tournament seems reasonable, rather than utopian.

Next up is Venus Williams, who at the age of 36 managed to reach her second Slam semifinal in less than a year, her 20th overall. The elder American outlasted Russian Anastasia Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, and is yet to lose a single set.

Venus took advantage of a really favorable draw, with Simona Halep’s early exit, and, apart from the Russian, hasn’t faced a seeded player in the whole tournament. Therefore, she is going to be a bit fresher than her opponent in the semis, and this may be one of the keys of the match.

However, it’s hard to make a preview. On the one hand, Coco is on fire, playing with a lot of confidence, feeling that she’s unbeatable. On the other hand, Venus Williams stated that if she is here after all her career, it’s because she feels she has a real chance to win, and doesn’t want it to be wasted. The pleasure of seeing a Williams sister’s final is starting to become a bit more real, even though Serena has yet to play her quarterfinal against impressive and still undefeated in 2017 Johanna Konta. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to be a gift for the tennis world.

However, Coco deserves the opportunity to play her first Slam final, after a tournament like the one she’s played.
I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen in this all-American semifinal, but what I know, is that it must be watched, since it’s going to be a battle of power and resistance.

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