Aaron Favila/Associated Press
World No. 1 Serena Williams remains the favorite in the women’s draw after a comfortable run during the first week of the tournament.
Williams has dropped just 12 combined games in wins against Ashleigh Barty, Vesna Dolonc and Daniela Hantuchova, and she hasn’t spent more than 42 minutes on any one set so far.
With first-week temperatures consistently hitting triple digits, her time on court—or lack thereof—is key.
The reigning US Open champion didn’t play her best tennis against Hantuchova—her first serve, especially, wasn’t up to her usual high standards—but she didn’t need to be.
Aussie favorite Sam Stosur, ranked 17, would have given Williams a bigger test in the fourth round, but Ana Ivanovic rallied to beat her. Ivanovic is winless against Williams, and while it will be her toughest test here so far this year, it’s smooth sailing into the semifinals.
Either wildcard Casey Dellacqua or Canadian teenager Genie Bouchard will make it to their first-ever quarterfinals in a major, but neither has the game to upset Williams, who will be even fresher considering she will no longer be playing in the doubles tournament with sister Venus.
Bouchard, the No. 31 seed, is the most likely to advance. She upset Jelena Jankovic (in Tokyo), Ivanovic (at Wimbledon) and Stosur (in Charleston) in 2013, so she clearly has the game to cause top players problems.
She lost her only other match with Williams in the round of 32 in Cincinnati last year after taking the first set, but don’t expect this one to be as close.