Venus Williams has made her First Semi-Final In Melbourne Park for 14 Years after her 6/4 7/6 (3) Victory over Anasstasia Pavlyuchenkova. I’m made up for her, she deserves this. Venus is one of the few Players who you genuinely feel loves competing and playing the game. There are a few she could no doubt educate. Williams was tactically too sound for the Russian who chucked in a error strewn performance . Neither player Served particularly well, with Pavy struggling to land many blows at all. Once a break up in the Second she cold not hold onto her advantage, the same could be said about the Tie-Break when we reached it. She sealed her own fate by chucking in another double fault on match point, nine in total. Venus got large success with moving in and attacking the net during the Match as she also looked to be pretty sharp off the ground too. Pavlyuchenkova was far too passive for large part of this match, she needed to do more with the ball. She played more aggressively when behind, but this needed to be the norm if she was to have any chance of beating Venus. The last time Venus was at this stage in Australia she was beating Justin Henin in the Semi, before losing to her Younger Sister in the Final. This time She will face Coco Vandweghe who blitzed Garbine Muguruza 6/4 6/0. The American outplayed her Spanish Opponent from the off, Muguruza was firmly on the back foot and was staving off break points from the word go. Vandeweghe struggled to convert but from the moment she did at 4/4 in First she didn’t lose another game there after. Time after time she would get the first blow in the rally. On Muguruza’s Serve, heavy returns were followed by scorching winners. The Spaniard was powerless to stop it, only a Vandweghe collapse could prevent the inevitable and that didn’t look like happening today. There is no doubt that leading into their Semi-Final that Vandeweghe is in the better form. Both players have only dropped a set between them so far (Coco lost one to Bouchard) but Vandweghe has certainly had the more impressive results. Having said that you can only beat what is put in front of you and Venus has. There will be plenty of big hitting and short points here. I would expect both players to be suffering from nerves for different reasons, so lets see who can hold it together better. Coco will go in as the slight favourite but there’s a thin piece of paper between them.
The First Men’s Semi-Final that we know will be an all Swiss affair. Both Wawrinka and Federer having comfortable passages through. Stan unusually so as he ousted Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 7/6(2) 6/4 6/3. Stan really has got that look in his eye now, as he attempts to hone in on his Fourth Grand Slam Title and his second in Melbourne. He’s playing the big points really well as his recent Tie-Break record here shows. A mixture of solid baseline points and ripping winners, difficult to counteract. He wanted this a lot more than Tsonga who put in a lacklustre performance. He lead 4/3 with a break in Second and then put in a couple of horrendous service games that handed Wawrinka back the initiative and the Match. There was a bit of needle at the end of the First Set, as both players stared each other down and exchanged words at the sit down. Tsonga played this down after. I wouldn’t say Stan was brilliant Today but he’s now in that zone where he’s going to be very difficult to beat. He said about Federer “Yeah, it’s going to be a great match, for sure. Last time I think I got killed in US Open. He was playing way better than me, moving really well, really aggressive from the court. It’s going to be interesting match.” Federer for his part had few problems disposing of Mischa Zverev. The German’s run has come to an end in emphatic fashion. I think the occasion unquestionably got him today. The First Set was over in the blink of an eye as Federer enjoyed having a target at the net. Zverev did break Serve in the second, though Federer broke himself in truth, The Fed-Ex broke back immediately and from there on in inevitability was the word. This match reminded me of a throwback to the 90’s, Classic old skool Serve and Volley so it was refreshing to watch. Federer is certainly playing up to his reputation as an attacking shot maker and the crowd are loving it. Zverev can take a lot of positives from here and indeed the last few months of last season. In regards to The Semi-Final, I have just got a sneaky feeling that Stan is going to take it. He looks to be getting better round by round and playing himself into form when it matters most, as he has done in the past.
Andy Del Potro