US Open Women’s Semifinal Predictions: Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka and Jennifer Brady vs Naomi Osaka

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Thursday brings us the women’s semifinal matches at the US Open. We are down to the final four, and only two will move on to Saturday’s final. Who will win? Who will go home? We share our thoughts on both of these blockbuster matches. Predicting these two matches are myself (Yesh Ginsburg), Damian Kust, Ryan Schick, Jim Smith, Tracey Essex, and Eric Han.

US Open Women’s Semifinal Predictions

Jennifer Brady vs Naomi Osaka

Damian:
This has to be a classic. Jennifer Brady has been sublime all week, not losing a set yet and not even allowing any of her opponents more than four games per set. Osaka’s performances were a lot more mixed but the Japanese took it up a notch with fantastic wins over Anett Kontaveit and Shelby Rogers. Brady has been tormenting her opponents with a combination of ridiculous serving and blistering forehands but it is certain that Osaka will not leave her this much space. The key to the match should be keeping Brady on the back foot as much as possible and I think Osaka has the game to do it. One thing that Shelby Rogers abused in the quarterfinals was Osaka’s second serve, but Brady rarely attacks off the return with that much power. Expect less service breaks than in a typical WTA match as both ladies have posted excellent stats on their delivery in this event. If Osaka can utilize the extremely fast wrist action on her groundstrokes to push Brady behind the baseline, she should just nick it in the end.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

Eric:
Both Brady and Osaka are coming in with great form. Brady has yet to lose a set in the tournament, and although Osaka has dropped two sets, she has looked in fine form throughout. Many would expect Osaka to win this rather comfortably, but I think Brady will push Osaka to a three-setter with Osaka eventually pulling through.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

Tracey:
Osaka has proved me wrong yet again. I expected the Japanese superstar to be an early exit, unable to recover from her hamstring injury. No doubt this will be a tough match, with Jen Brady playing the best tennis of her career – and now with the confidence to match the skill. This should be quite a battle. But I won’t underestimate Osaka again.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

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Ryan:
Brady has been one of the pleasant surprises of this year’s US Open, reaching her first career grand slam semifinal without dropping a set. Osaka has had a few shaky moments early but has recently looked like her dominant self, especially in her dispatching of Anett Kontaveit, a very dangerous player, in the fourth round. Osaka will need to rely on her serve and powerful groundstrokes, and if she serves well she will overpower Brady and be able to win comfortably.
Prediction: Osaka in 2

Jim:
This is a tough match to call. Both have been excellent so far at the US Open, with their quarterfinal showings particularly impressive. Osaka beat Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-4 whilst Brady was imperious in dismissing Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. But might her lack of experience count against Brady here. She is, after all, a first-time Grand Slam semifinalist coming up against a player with a US Open and an Australian Open in her locker.

Prediction: Osaka in 3

Yesh:
Brady has looked like the best player in the world this tournament. Her groundstrokes are monstrous and her movement has been pristine. She’s been playing objectively better tennis than Osaka so far. Unfortunately, she seems to be a little susceptible to nerves in her past two matches. It hasn’t cost her yet, but it very well could against one of the best players in the world.
Prediction: Brady in 3

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Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka

Damian:
We’d never get this right three weeks ago but Victoria Azarenka has been the most constantly excellent player in the world in all the tennis played in the bubble. After not winning a single match in 12 months, Azarenka is back to playing some of the best tennis of her career. The Belorussian is an absolute master in rallying off the baseline and her return is still among the very best in the game. Serena Williams had a few disappointing results before the US Open, but since halfway through the second set against Sloane Stephens, she’s been looking like a woman on a mission. It’s unbelievable that we get a Grand Slam semifinal like that in 2020 and a part of me just wants to leave this with no pick and see how it unfolds. But since I can’t really do that, let’s say Azarenka’s fitness can get her through if it goes the distance. And it should.
Prediction: Azarenka in 3

Eric:
Azarenka has looked more comfortable on-court in comparison to Serena in this US Open. But with their head-to-head record heavily in favour to Serena (19-4), it will be a big mental obstacle for Azarenka to overcome. Expect a really tight and three-set match between the two, but Serena to eventually pull through.
Prediction: Williams in 3

Tracey:
With Azarenka’s resurgence, it’s hard to see anyone capable of stopping her. Yet Serena has – and may again. The quest for #24 seems closer than ever. This contest will be a true test of Serena’s mental toughness. Can she hold up to Vika running her side to side, painting the lines with painful precision? It’s bound to exhaust her, making the eventual third set all the harder. Expect Serena to find a way into the Belarusian’s serve. Then, if she can hit her first serve, Williams will reach the final.
Prediction: Williams in 3

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Ryan:
This will be the 23rd meeting in what has been a one-sided rivalry in the past, although they have only played once since 2016. Right now both players look incredibly hard to beat. Serena has dropped a set in each of her last three matches but came up big when it mattered. Azarenka has completely dominated in New York, losing just one set coming off a stellar performance last week at the Western & Southern Open. Serena has a lot to play for and thrives on these stages, but she looked a bit drained physically in her last match, and Azarenka has been as good as ever and can outlast Serena in a power-packed match.
Prediction: Azarenka in 3

Jim:
It some was performance from Azarenka to hammer Elise Mertens for the loss of only one game in the quarterfinals, even if the Belgian was far from her best. It is a level that Williams has not quite reached yet in New York, even if she has battled impressively. And with Azarenka’s return game enabling her to attack Williams’ greatest weapon, the stage could well be set for one of the Belarusian’s greatest triumphs.

Prediction: Azarenka in 3

Yesh:
Never pick against Serena. That’s my rule. I’ve mentioned it twice in her last two matches when I thought the all-time great would lose. I stuck with my rule, and picking Serena worked out. But I can’t stick to the rule this time. Azarenka has been utterly dominant, and she looks in better shape than Serena does right now. The Belorussian is a Grand Slam champion in her own right and is playing some of the best tennis of her career. She’s not losing this.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2

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What do you think about the US Open women’s semifinal matches? As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.