Australian open Day 12—Semifinal Roundup highlights:
Day 11 Headlines:
-Men’s top seed Novak Djokovic defeated third-seeded Roger Federer 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the first men’s semifinal. After winning the first tournament he played this year, in Doha, Djokovic declared that he was playing “the best tennis of my life,” a heavy statement coming from someone who had just finished a season in which he went 82-6.
Djokovic’s self-forecast has not disappointed. Aside from a stumble in the fourth round against Gilles Simon, Novak hadn’t lost a set before this encounter with Federer. Even so, he displayed stunning form against one of history’s best players, losing only three games in the first two sets. Djokovic seemed unable to miss in the first two sets and used a combination of consistency and power to deflate Federer, absorbing Federer’s strong groundstrokes and hitting passing shots as well. A momentary lapse saw Djokovic return to form in the fourth, cruising comfortably into his sixth Australian Open final.
Djokovic has never lost in the Aussie final and has won in Melbourne more than at any other Slam. It will take a top performance from either Andy Murray or Milos Raonic to dethrone him.
-Serena Williams charged into the women’s final with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Agnieszka Radwanska. It seemed for a moment that Serena would be the first woman since 1984 to defeat an opponent in a Grand Slam semifinal without losing a game. However, Radwanska battled to 4-4 before Williams pulled away, no match for the hardest hitter in the women’s game. Williams will meet seventh seed Angelique Kerber in the final. With a win, Williams would tie Steffi Graf for second on the all-time list with 22.
Day 12 Marquee Matches
Andy Murray (2) vs Milos Raonic (13)
Four-time finalist Murray will meet a very in-form Milos Raonic in the last of two men’s semifinals. Murray has reached four Australian Open finals, losing in three of those to Djokovic, without winning any. Even so, Murray’s experience in big matches is vast compared to Raonic’s, for whom this match marks just his second Grand Slam semifinal. It would be an oversimplification to declare this match an encounter between power and finesse, but there is some truth in the statement. Raonic likely will attempt to gain control of the match by using his big serve and forehand. He may look to come forward by using his weapons as well. Murray, long regarded as a counter-puncher, has diversified his game and will use strong groundstrokes and a good return of serve to neutralize Raonic. It is worth noting that Murray has had significant off-court distractions to deal with: his wife, Kim, is pregnant and due to have the baby any day. Murray has said he would leave the tournament if she went into labor. Barring the birth of his child, Murray’s experience and doggedness should allow him to outlast Raonic.
Prediction: Murray in five tough sets
Martina Hingis/Sonia Mirza (1) vs Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (7)
Hingis has reinvented herself as a doubles specialist after injury and a ban effectively ended her singles career. She partnered with Mirza last season to win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the year-end championships. Now the world’s top-ranked doubles team, Hingis and Mirza will be a tough task for Hlavackova and Hradecka.
Prediction: Hingis and Mirza in three