The World No.1 spot is far out of reach for now but in theory Venus Williams could make decent strides towards it with a Miami Open title. If either her or Karolina Pliskova win the tournament, they will be the No.1 in the race rankings while Venus’ opponent Johanna Konta is looking to break back in to the top 10 in the WTA Tour rankings. A victory in the semi finals will match her career high while a title would mean a new high of No. 8.
Venus’ early rounds saw victories over Tig and Haddad Maia but the last two have come against substantially better opponents in multiple slam winners Svetlana Kuznetsova and Angelique Kerber. Impressively, both victories were in straight sets with Kerber being defeated 7-5 6-3 in the previous round despite struggling on serve. It’s likely that 45% first serve will not cut it two matches running against elite returners like Kerber and Konta.
A noteworthy collapse by Simona Halep allowed Konta to get this far. The Romanian was two points from the match on two occasions, serving at 5-4 for the match and up 5-3 in the second set tiebreak. She failed to convert on both occasions, allowing Konta to steal the match in three 3-6 7-6 6-2. Konta’s run to the top 10 really gained steam at the Australian Open with her first round win over Venus setting the tone for a semi final run. Their last meeting saw Konta win her first title last year after a three set win in Stanford. On this occasion, it really looks like a 50-50 match but if Venus can have as much success in attacking the Konta serve as she did with Kerber then it bodes well for the 36 year-old. Karolina Pliskova or Caroline Wozniacki await the winner in the final.
Prediction – Venus Williams in three sets