Tuesday 17 September 2019

Svitolina stands in the way of Serena's feat

Elina Svitolina. Photo: Getty Images
Elina Svitolina. Photo: Getty Images

Serena Williams has endured a sequence of frustrating near-misses at the majors since her return from maternity leave last spring. So you have to admire the resilience with which she keeps pushing for a record-equalling 24th title.

Not for the first time, the draw is opening up in tantalising fashion.

Having cleared Qiang Wang from her path on Tuesday night in an absurd 44 minutes, Williams is now the only woman left in the draw who has played in a major final.

In tonight's semi-final, she will face Elina Svitolina - the supreme retriever who eliminated Johanna Konta on Tuesday afternoon in straight sets.

This has the look of a potential classic: beefy groundstrokes on one side and blanket court coverage on the other.

Yet to drop a set in the tournament, Svitolina has been the cleanest player on show, committing less than one unforced error per game.

Yet it is hardly as if she has had an easy ride. Three of her first five opponents have been mighty hitters: not only Konta, who leads the standings for clean winners, but Venus Williams, Serena's sister, and Madison Keys, whose average forehand speed is the highest on either the men's or women's tour.

All this should give Svitolina the perfect preparation for tonight's match.

Irish Independent

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