Panelists Predictions Australian Open Women’s Semifinals: Venus vs Vandeweghe and Serena vs Lucic-Baroni

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Serena Williams of the United States plays a forehand in her third round match against Nicole Gibbs of the Unites States on day six of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

There are just two rounds left in this year’s Australian Open. The winners of Thursday afternoon’s (Wednesday night if you’re watching from America) will meet in the final. Our two semifinal matches are Venus Williams vs Coco Vandeweghe and Serena Williams vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. As always, our panelists are here to predict the matches for you. Today’s panelists are myself (Yesh Ginsburg), editor Niall Clarke, and writers Jeff Crady and Ryan Schick.

Panelists Predictions Australian Open Women’s Semifinals

Venus Williams vs Coco Vandeweghe

Niall:
There will be an American in the final on Saturday no matter what happens here. Vandeweghe has looked fantastic in her run to her first Grand Slam semifinal. This is more familiar territory for Venus even though she has not made it this deep in a Grand Slam in a long time. Coco has played especially well so far–her ball striking against Muguruza was incredible–but this is a different sort of test. Venus is vastly experienced in big events and that is where the match will be decided. I can see it being close with not many breaks of serve, but experience will prevail.
Prediction: Venus in 3

Jeff:
Venus has been the heart of this tournament, and Coco has been the foot breaking down personal barriers to make personal history. Both have seemed fierce, powerful, and athletic. Venus spoke of believing one deserves to be a champion, and her belief will be evident in a three-set win.
Prediction: Venus in 3

Ryan:
Vandeweghe has been the best player of the tournament, crushing 2016 Major winners Kerber and Muguruza. Even with her 13 seed, few thought Venus would be here so she has impressed as well. Her serving and powerful strokes have got her here, but Coco makes too many errors today and Venus prevails in a battle.
Prediction: Venus in 3

Yesh:
As much as I would love to see the storybook run of Venus Williams continue, I just can’t predict that it will happen. Vandeweghe has looked on an untouchable level the past two matches–she’s competing at a place where really only Serena can touch her. Her confidence is sky-high and her ball-striking is reminiscent of Sam Stosur in her 2011 US Open run. Maybe she’ll crack under pressure, but if she doesn’t she won’t lose this match.
Prediction: Vandeweghe in 2

Serena Williams vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni

Niall:
The story of Lucic-Baroni’s run has arguably been the best one of the tournament. The Croatian has rolled back the years to make her first Grand Slam semifinal in nearly 18 years, but this is where the run is likely to end. Serena looks in fairly imperious form, and she will see grand slam 23 in her sights. I can not look past an all-American final down under.
Prediction: Serena in 2

Jeff:
Lucic-Beroni has been a throwback and an uplifting story. Using the big groundstrokes and the fast courts to fight her way through difficult moments to make the semis here. Serena has been prime Serena–her dismantling of a in form Konta was supremely impressive. Serena will continue to impress in straight sets.
Prediction: Serena in 2

Ryan:
Lucic-baroni as well as Mischa Zverev on the other side have been the stories of the tournament. Unfortunately, like Zverev, Lucic-baroni runs into arguably the greatest of all time. Not to take anything away from her impressive run but Serena has been firing at all cylinders and will stay hot today setting up another Williams sisters finals.
Prediction: Serena in 2

Yesh:
Another storybook run has to come to an end. Serena looks in imperious form, and as incredible as Lucic-Baroni has been this fortnight, she’s just not on the level of taking down Serena. Her match against Karolina Pliskova might give some hope, but coming back less than 24 hours after playing a tough three-setter is no easy task for a player of any age, let alone at 38 years old. Doing it again against Serena Williams? It’s just not happening.
Prediction: Serena in 2

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