Serena Williams is just two matches away from a calendar grand slam — a rare feat achieved by just three other female professional tennis players. She will be facing off against Roberta Vinci at the U.S. Open semi-finals on Thursday. If Williams bests Vinci, she will face the winner of other semi-final match, either Flavia Pennetta and Simona Halep. Williams' record against all three is stellar. She's only lost to Halep once and is undefeated against both Vinci and Pennetta. With such strong numbers working in her favor, can Serena Williams win the U.S. Open?
Online betting and gambling service PaddyPower picks Williams as their overwhelming favorite, as does Oddschecker. One hundred percent of those placing money on the match-up using Oddschecker are betting on Williams, according to stats from the website. Of ESPN's twelve tennis analysts and writers, just two experts chose players other than Williams. Writer Peter Bodo had picked Victoria Azarenka, who was beaten by Halep in the quarterfinals, prior to the tournament starting. Meanwhile, fellow writer Kamakshi Tandon chose Petra Kvitova, who was eliminated by Pennetta in the quarterfinals. Of the experts' predictions, Williams stands alone.
This year's U.S. Open hasn't exactly been easy for the tennis superstar, who was quoted following her quarterfinal match-up against sister Venus Williams as saying that her favorite part of the face-off was "walking off the court and it being over with." Still, the worst may be behind her. In an interview with Sports Illustrated's S.L. Price, Serena had this to say about her victory over Venus:
It was probably the toughest match I have played in really, really, really long time where I wasn't actually beating myself. I was out there facing an incredibly tough opponent... I think against any other player she, for sure, would have won.
Williams' career record at the U.S. Open is incredibly impressive, as is her current four tournament winning streak. Coming out on top at this year's U.S. Open would mark her fifth consecutive victory at the Flushing Meadows tournament, making for eight career wins overall. Looking towards Thursday's match-up against Vinci, ESPN W has described the semifinal between the two as "lopsided" based on numbers alone. Williams, who is currently the number one women's player in the world, has a staggering 69 career titles to her name compared to Vinci's 9. A breakdown of additional career numbers has Williams consistently coming out on top.
Still, she won't be resting on her laurels when the time comes to face the Italian tennis player. "She's not in the semifinals of a Grand Slam for no reason," Williams told ESPN W. Predictably, Williams is the overwhelming favorite to advance to the finals at a margin of 25 to 1.