Former world No. 1 Venus Williams is through to her first final since she captured the title in Luxembourg in October 2012, as the American received a walkover win over Jamie Hampton and will now meet Ana Ivanovic in the finals in Auckland.
It has been an impressive week for world no. 47 Venus Williams, who has been battling Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune system illness that has hampered her performance over the last couple of years. The American picked up wins over Hlavackova, Meusburger, Muguruza to reach the final four of the tournament. Ahead of her semi-final contest on Friday morning, the seven-time Grand Slam singles winner was scheduled to play Jamie Hampton in the semifinals but the American was forced to withdraw after suffering a right hip injury during a morning practice session. With the late withdrawal, Venus will get an opportunity to compete in the ASB Classic final ahead of the Australian Open in a couple of weeks.
Williams holds a dominant 8-1 lead over Ivanovic in their head-to-head series, thus solidifying her position as the favourite in this match even though her Ivanovic’s ranking should say otherwise. The last time the Serb was victorious against Venus was in the quarter-finals of the 2008 Australian Open, which is the only time they met on Australian soil. Out of their nine previous encounters, only one went the distance, emphasizing William’s dominance in the series and if she continues to show her current form, then she will be well on her way to her first title since October, 2012.
Prediction: Williams in Three Sets