US Open Women’s semi-final preview: Power hitting and all-court prowess on show
At this year’s US Open women’s singles semi finals, one match is a power-hitting paradise whilst the other features all-court prowess promising a battle royale to reach Saturday’s final.
With the help of Craig O’Shannessy of Brain Game Tennis, Tennishead analyses the data to highlight potential outcomes from both matches taking place today with Coco Gauff taking on Karolina Muchova then Madison Keys versus Aryna Sabalenka.
Let’s break down both matches and get a feel for the crucial strategies that will decide the final outcome.
Semi-Final 1: Coco Gauff vs. Karolina Muchova
The first thing to note about this match-up is the willingness of both ladies to venture forward to the net to finish points. Both have been to the net over a hundred times, winning right around two out of every three points.
Net Points Won
- Gauff = 65% (71/109)
- Muchova = 65% (108)
This will be an essential strategy as both players are also winning a similar margin from the back of the court – but it’s not nearly as rewarding as finishing at the net.
Baseline Points Won
- Muchova = 54% (202/372)
- Gauff = 51% (214/422)
Gauff’s offense from the back of the court is spread very evenly between her forehand and backhand. The American has 37 forehand winners and 33 backhand winners. Gauff has committed 116 total forehand errors and 71 backhand errors, so you can certainly project that Muchova will look to attack Gauff’s forehand, especially on the run out wide in the court.
Muchova’s forehand is also her most lethal groundstroke, amassing 41 winners to 31 from the backhand. Her forehand has only yielded 69 errors compared to 103 from the backhand.
Forehand-to-forehand exchanges will slightly favor Muchova, while backhand-to-backhand should give Gauff the edge. It may very well come down to who can best take advantage of the short balls that undoubtedly will come.
Who Will Win? Coco Gauff will ride the energy of the parochial New York crowd and win in three sets.
Semi-Final 2: Madison Keys vs. Aryna Sabalenka
Sabalenka has won more baseline points (60%) than anyone in the women’s draw. Who is in second place? Madison Keys with 59%. Both players love using power as their primary weapon from the back of the court, so expect some big-hitting and spectacular groundstroke winners.
Keys has only lost serve twice for the tournament, holding serve 46 of 48 times. She has only faced 18 break points, remarkably saving 16 of them. Sabalenka has actually faced fewer break points, saving six of twelve. Breaks of serve will be the crucial moments in this powerful semi-final match-up. That’s where Sabalenka holds an edge.
Sabalenka has enjoyed more success breaking serve to the semi-finals.
Return Games Won
- Sabalenka = 62% (24/39)
- Keys = 41% (19/46)
Sabalenka has won all her matches in straight sets. Of the 10 sets she has won, four have been a 6-1 score line, and opponents have only been able to win four games in a set once. It’s been one-way traffic in the Big Apple.
Keys has only lost one set to the semi-finals, and none of the sets she has won have been pushed to a tie-break.
Who Will Win? Sabalenka has too much firepower when both serving and receiving. She will be crowned the new world No. 1 next week, and her hunger to pair that with a US Open trophy provides all the motivation she needs to get through this tough match.
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Craig O’Shannessy is the creator of Brain Game Tennis. For 20 years he’s been involved in tennis as a coach to players like Kevin Anderson and even Dustin Brown when he famously beat Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon. More recently Craig’s been working as a match analyst at Wimbledon and for the ATP Tour. He has also used the unique insights from his match analysis software dartfish to guide players such as Novak Djokovic with analysis of opponents and performances.
Visit BrainGameTennis.com to read the latest and best selling course ‘Getting Tight’ where Craig teams up with Jeff Greenwald to combine their specific skill sets to help you with the universal problem all players struggle with in matches.
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