Panelist Predictions Australian Open Women’s Semi-Finals: Simona Halep vs Angelique Kerber and Elise Mertens vs Caroline Wozniacki

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Angelique Kerber

The current World No.1, two former world no.1s and a woman making her debut at the Australian Open compete in the semi-finals for a spot in the final. Last Word on Tennis writers, James Cunningham, Sam Barker, and Vithun Illankovan make their predictions on Simona Halep against Angelique Kerber and Elise Mertens facing Caroline Wozniacki.

Simona Halep vs Angelique Kerber

James: Both players are in sublime form, moving well and dispatching their difficult opponents with ease. This match has the potential to be a classic. Simona Halep will look to outlast Angelique Kerber and disrupt any rhythm that the German will be looking to generate from the outset. Kerber, on the other hand, must serve well, and use the confidence that she has been in this position before to her advantage. Although Kerber’s recovery has been remarkable, it seems like this match will be Halep’s for the taking. Much will depend on fine margins and how players react to certain situations, as ever in big matches.

Halep in 3
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Sam: The unstoppable force meets the immovable object. 24 wins and zero losses between them this year. Something has got to give. Both are, at their core, wonderful counterpunchers but both have added more aggression to their game recently. Angelique Kerber has the experience of winning Grand Slams while Halep has notoriously struggled at the business end. For that, I’m going to give the edge to the German.

Kerber in 3

Vithun: This match really could go either way, as I do not recall the last time there was such a defensive semi-final line-up. I am still not confident in Angelique Kerber winning the whole thing since no other woman apart from Serena has won more than two Slams this decade. I was very impressed with Halep in her recent matches and it seems all the drama related to not having a clothing sponsor in time for the Australian Open has motivated her to prove a point here. Therefore, I’m going with the World No.1 to prove her credentials and get the win.

Halep in 3
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Elise Mertens vs Caroline Wozniacki

James:

The Dane has been in fine form going into this semi-final, and although she does not have a Grand Slam to her name, she has been in this position before unlike her opponent Mertens. On the other hand, the World No.37 can go into this match without any sense of expectation. Mertens can enjoy the occasion, and really take the game to Wozniacki in this match. Despite this, Wozniacki’s experience, stamina, and consistency of shotmaking place her at an advantage over Mertens. This is what will decide this close two-set match.

Wozniacki in 2
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Sam: This match is really a case of who deals better with their own personal pressure. Mertens has the pressure of being in her first Grand Slam semi-final on her Australian Open debut. Meanwhile, Wozniacki has the pressure of the past and the fact that she has still not won a Grand Slam. Mental baggage tends to weight pretty heavy in tennis and Mertens has been ice cool throughout. For that, I think we might see a surprise finalist this year.

Mertens in 3

Vithun: As I correctly predicted, this is the 10th straight Slam we have with an unseeded player. However, as usual, it was due to a very easy route and Elina Svitolina proving once again her champion spirit is non-existent. Therefore, I don’t feel that Mertens has a chance in this match as she has no weapons worthy of a Grand Slam. Even if Wozniacki goes back to her passive ways, I still see her having enough experience and superior ability to get the win.

Wozniacki in 2

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