Wimbledon semi-finals preview and predictions: Williams, Goerges, Kerber & Ostapenko target final spot
With nine of the top-10 seeds out in the first week, there were fears that the womens draw could descend into farce but were left with four fierce competitors in a fine line-up on Thursday.
Seven-time winner Serena Williams, 2016 finalist Angelique Kerber, 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and 13th seed Julia Goerges are the final four left in the draw, with that number set to be halved by the end of play.
Williams and Kerber have both been to this stage of Wimbledon in the past, while Ostapenko and Goerges will make their debuts in the semi-finals at the All England Club.
Here we take a look at the two match-ups and offer a prediction as to who will come out on top…
Womens Winner odds (Betfair)
10/11 – Williams
9/4 – Kerber
9/2 – Ostapenko
11/1 – Goerges
Julia Goerges vs Serena Williams
Williams is the heavy favourite to lift the title – and for good reason.
Despite fears about her physical condition after returning from pregnancy, the 23-time Grand Slam champion has shown her mental strength can carry her through.
She firmly believes that she will win a 24th Grand Slam title at the All England Club and its tough to back against her as she looks to equal Margaret Courts all-time record.
Williams v Goerges odds (Betfair)
11/4 – Goerges
2/7 – Williams
Her opponent Goerges looked rather overwhelmed by the achievement of reaching a first major semi-final, which doesnt really bode well.
She needs to focus quickly on the task at hand or risk being hung out to dry.
Even if she is fully focused and firing, Williams will take some stopping and should reach the final.
Prediction: Williams in 2
Jelena Ostapenko vs Angelique Kerber
This is an incredibly tough match to call – not least because there are no previous encounters to go off.
Both play contrasting styles – Ostapenko will look to slug the ball throughout, battering her opponent into submission.
Kerber will attempt to counter-punch, soaking up the power to ride out the storm before flashing back lightening bolts of her own.
Kerber-Ostapenko odds (Betfair)
13/10 – Ostapenko
5/8 – Kerber
Of course, if Ostapenko plays the perfect match, few in the world can stop her. But the Latvian will have to deal with a lot of balls coming back in play and keep the errors to a minimum while keeping her winners rate high.
She is capable of doing that, but Ive liked the look of Kerber reaching the final ever since the early flurry of top-10 seeds exits and will continue to back her in that regard.
Kerber in 3