WTA Miami semifinal preview: Venus Williams vs Johanna Konta

WTA Miami semifinal preview: Venus Williams vs Johanna Konta

Two of the best players so far in 2017 face off in what could well be a tight encounter, with a place in the Miami Open final at stake.

oliver-dickson-jefford
Oliver Dickson Jefford

The second women’s semifinal at the Miami Open sees 11th seed Venus Williams take on 10th seed Johanna Konta, in a match between two of the best players of the 2017 season so far.

Konta won the previous meeting between the two, edging out Williams to win her first WTA title in Stanford last summer, and also won their 2016 Australian Open clash, though Williams won their clash back in Wuhan in 2015; we could have a tight semifinal.

This match is set to take place at 21:00 local time, and the winner will face either 12th seed Caroline Wozniacki or second seed Karolina Pliskova in the final

So far in Miami

It has been an impressive road for Williams so far, with the American yet to drop a set. The 11th seed recorded relatively comfortable wins over wildcard Beatriz Haddad Maia and qualifier Patricia Maria Tig in her opening two matches, before impressing as she saw off Indian Wells finalist, and seventh seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 7-6 to make the last eight. Following that, she impressively saw off world number one Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 to continue her fine 2017 form.

Johanna Konta celebrates after her quarterfinal win over Simona Halep (Getty/Julian Finney)
Johanna Konta celebrates after her quarterfinal win over Simona Halep (Getty/Julian Finney)

Things have been a little more difficult for Konta in Miami, though she has still impressed. The Brit started with a tricky three-set win over qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich, though was much more assertive in straight set wins over Pauline Parmentier and Lara Arruabarrena, which saw her make the last eight. In the quarterfinal she faced third seed Simona Halep, rallying from behind in the second set to secure an impressive 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory, and is seemingly near her best after missing Indian Wells.

Analysis

Both women are quite powerful and are strong servers, so it will be interesting to see which of the two can use their serve to their advantage the most.

Whilst she has been in good form in 2017 overall, Konta has had one or two poor patches in Miami and must look to avoid these against an opponent in such great form. One advantage the Brit has over Williams is that she is arguably the better mover, so should look to dictate play as much as possible and get the American moving around court. Furthermore, Konta has been strong at the net this year, so should look to come in and finish points on some occasions.

Venus Williams, in action against Svetlana Kuznetsova, will need to serve well (Getty/Matthew Stockman)
Venus Williams, in action against Svetlana Kuznetsova, will need to serve well (Getty/Matthew Stockman)

Williams may be the slightly more powerful of the two and a slightly better server, and she’ll be tough to beat if she is playing well, though she can be erratic and extremely error-prone; she cannot afford this against an opponent of Konta’s caliber. The American should look to finish points off quickly, though must be patient against a strong mover like Konta, who will likely get to many balls.

Assessment

This has all the makings of tight clash, considering that two of their previous meetings have gone to three sets and that both played some good tennis in their quarterfinal matches. Williams has had a great season, and she is certainly capable of winning this semifinal, though it seems that Konta, who can challenge the American’s power and can move well, could just edge this.

Prediction: Johanna Konta in three sets

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