Opening Ladies’ semi-finals day on Centre Court is a fascinating clash between the World No.1 Ashleigh Barty and 2018 champion Angelique Kerber. It will be the fifth meeting between the two with the previous four on hard courts being split 2-2. Barty is currently seen as the bookmakers favourite but any of the four players remaining in the tournament would not be a shocking winner.
Barty’s quarter final was seen as the most one-sided on paper and that’s how it played out as she dropped just four games in a 6-1 6-3 win over Ajla Tomljanovic. She was always control and frustrated her opponent who managed only five winners in the whole match. She will need to improve on serve though with a 25% first serve percentage in the first set asking for trouble against Kerber. “Today I was able to use my weapons a little bit better and just bring the ball back into my patterns a bit more regularly,” Barty said. “I certainly wasn’t as loose as I have been with errors and kind of ill-timed lapses, I suppose. But I felt really sharp today.”
Kerber has been having another resurgence with her Wimbledon run still coming as something of a surprise despite winning the Bad Homburg title just the week previously. Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova looked a fairly tough one-two to beat in consecutive days but she did it fairly comfortable with two straight sets wins. At her best, she remains an incredible counterpuncher and a frustrated Muchova could not compete the 6-2 6-3 win for the German.
Barty comes into this one as the favourite and has grown into a tournament where there were injury doubts. She retired in her last two tournaments but looks fresh and is growing in confidence but not getting complacent. “Angie obviously has an incredible record here. She’s made multiple finals. She’s one of the best grass courters going around. I think the challenge of playing her in a semi-final of Wimbledon is an incredible opportunity, one that I’m really excited for.” she said.
While the Sabalenka-Pliskova semi final is likely to be full on power from the get-go, this one should be a bit more subtle at times. Kerber’s experience here could prove decisive as the German seeks to make what would be a third Wimbledon final in the last five attempts.
Prediction – Angelique Kerber in three sets