I didn’t want to think that Barbora Strycova could be a Vinci mark two but there was that niggling doubt in the back of my mind. I am not taking any match for granted and why would I? This one did have the potential of being very tricky. We are six down, one to go but the next one is the be-all and end-all. Today Rena had Strycova pinned behind the baseline, off-balance and dominated her. Once again it was an improvement in terms of movement and we just need one more big effort now. Strycova did pick up an injury but she was already in a lot of trouble by that stage.
I really think it has been a case of getting better with each match, it has been as simple as that, the Riske win was a very good win. I am pretty sure this is how I felt going into last years finals, so that goes to show the work is not yet done. You know that Halep will keep going here and will make it as awkward as possible for Rena, she has taken sets off her in each of their three slam matches. In a dream world, Serena comes out, serves huge and imposes herself on Halep from the word go. If you do that and lose, then fair enough, your opponent must have been too good on the day.
I didn’t think Elina Svitolina really turned up for the first semi-final and I doubt I am on my own. They showed her on the practice courts earlier stepping in and hammering the ball, so what happened? She needed to be a lot more aggressive than she was, you could see the longer the point went on it suited Halep. The match, as a result, was played on her terms. Her experience at this level was clear to see compared to that of the Ukranian.
In truth, Svitolina has made the most of a draw that has opened up for her. She may have lost in straights to Margarita Gasparyan in the second round had the Russian not got injured. Then Petra Martic picked up an injury at a key stage of the first set in their fourth round. In the quarters, Karolina Muchova had come through a brutal heat against Pliskova 13/11 in the decider the day before. You can only beat what is put in front of you and fair play she has but it may account for the class difference on the grass today. Halep was better in every department.
Looking forward to Nole v RBA and ‘FeDal’ tomorrow.
Andy Del Potro