The final of the Ladies Singles in the 2014 US Open is set for Sunday at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in New York.
Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki will fight it out for the championship in the last major of the season after two semi-finals that almost went exactly as predicted.
Williams easily covered the minus 5.5 games handicap against Kate Makarova, while Wozniacki was toughing it out in the tight sets I expected against Shuai Peng and was a set and 4-3 up when the Chinese player couldn’t continue.
The heat was clearly severely affecting Peng and the 2-0 bet on Wozniacki was void when Peng retired.
Conditions should be a fair bit easier on Sunday at around 16:30 local time when the final commences when it’s forecast to be around 27C with humidity in the 30s and only moderate wind at 7mph.
Serena Williams vs Caroline Wozniacki
This pair of best pals have been meeting on the court rather more often of late, with Sunday’s match being their third in a month.
As their career series has tended to do both went the way of Williams, who now holds an 8-1 advantage over Wozniacki, but the latter pushed the former all the way in Cincy and Montreal.
In both matches the Dane won the opening set only for Serena to come back and grab the victory in the decider, but with all the pressure on the American I doubt this will be a comfortable win for Williams.
This will be her eighth US Open final and she’s won five of the previous seven, with losses coming to Venus Williams in 2001 and Sam Stosur in 2011.
Wozniacki made the final here in 2009 and was beaten by Kim Clijsters, but that experience will be invaluable tonight in her second US Open championship match.
Clearly, Caro has worked very hard at addressing the weaknesses in her game over the last few months and her serve and forehand have improved to add to her always-excellent backhand and great movement.
She’s much more likely to land a major title now than when she was world number one and if she doesn’t make it on Sunday there’s far more cause for optimism in the Woz camp after this summer’s expolts.
But Williams has been playing perhaps the best tennis of her season so far and she’s not been in any kind of trouble in her six matches in New York this fortnight.
Serving well and striking punishing ground strokes a Williams on form is too good for the rest of the WTA Tour and although I expect Caro to perform creditably it’s tough to see her winning unless one of three things happen.
Firstly, the wind could be a leveller if it picks up again and secondly there could be a mental lapse from Williams, as we’ve seen from her before when she becomes anxious.
The third factor would be injury or illness, but in pure tennis terms all things being equal there should only be one winner here.
It might not be easy though and there’s an obvious case for the Williams 2-1 win at 3.75, but I think that we’ll get at least one close set here and the 4.50 about there being a tie break looks good.
They haven’t played one in their clashes since the very first one in Sydney in 2009 when there were two and with sets between them getting closer I like the chances of one happening on Sunday.
Williams should win this, but there’s not much to get excited about in her price of 1.18 and the over 0.5 tie breaks looks the one here.
Back over 0.5 tie breaks at 4.50