Both semifinal matches on the women's side in the 2013 U.S. Open will take place on Friday with two of the world's very best players going up against what are being considered underdogs.
No. 1 Serena Williams has scorched her competition in this tourney to the tune of just 13 games lost. After disposing of Carla Suarez Navarro via double bagels, Williams will now turn her attention to No. 5 Li Na, who had her hands full with Ekaterina Makarova in the quarterfinals
No. 2 Victoria Azarenka hasn't been playing top tennis of late and her near loss to No. 13 Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round signaled that. But the other favorite to win in Flushing this year recovered nicely before her match with Flavia Pennetta with a rather easy win against Daniela Hantuchova in the quarterfinals.
Let's take a look at each match on the docket for Friday and a predicted outcome.
Serena Williams vs. Li Na
Domination is the key word to use in this pair's history. Williams has an 8-2 record all time against Li with one of the American's losses coming by way of walkover. In fact, Li hasn't earned a victory over Williams since 2008.
Seven of Williams' eight victories over Li have come on the hard surface, and while Li has been fairly competitive against her semifinal counterpart, Williams has been victorious in straight sets in their last six meetings.
Li comes into this matchup having narrowly beat Ekaterina Makarova in the quarters and isn't playing her best tennis at the moment. Meanwhile, Williams dominated her way to the semis and is in top form, which is certainly bad news for her opponent.
Williams should have no problem outclassing and overpowering Li in a match that will likely end in straight sets.
Prediction: Williams def. Li 6-4, 6-2
Victoria Azarenka vs. Flavia Pennetta
The last time these two were supposed to meet was in Wimbledon earlier this year, but Pennetta was the beneficiary of a walkover after Azarenka pulled out due to injury. Before that, the pair had split their two matches with Pennetta winning their most previous meeting back in 2011 in Dubai.
That hard surface victory is certainly a bright spot for Pennetta, but it was a small sample size and was two years ago against a less experienced Azarenka.
When looking at the present, it's clear that Pennetta is playing better tennis right now. Azarenka needed three sets to top Ivanovic and Alize Cornet while Pennetta has enjoyed all straight sets wins over opponents such as No. 4 Sara Errani and No. 10 Roberta Vinci, to name a few.
Pennetta is simply the hotter player of the two and Azarenka will have to step her game up if she hopes to avoid an upset, which is looking more likely when looking at each woman's respective road to the semis.
Prediction: Pennetta def. Azarenka 6-4, 6-7, 6-3
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