After three previous rounds of action the semifinals of the Women’s Doubles event at the US Open will start on Tuesday, with a place in the final at stake.
Due to coronavirus restrictions there is just a 32-player draw this year, and the draw was blown wide open when, due to changes in covid-19 protocol, Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos were forced to withdraw due the former’s contact with Benoit Paire.
Mladenovic and Babos were the top seeds and arguably the favorite for the titles and their enforced withdrawal has completely opened the tournament up, with just one seeded pair left at the last four stage.
Anna Blinkova/Veronika Kudermetova vs (PR) Laura Siegemund/Vera Zvonareva
There might not be a better story in the last four than the pairing of Vera Zvonareva and Laura Siegemund, who used a protected ranking to get in the draw. Zvonareva, a two-time Grand Slam champion in Doubles, is back competing as a mother whilst Siegemund is playing despite a career-threatening three years ago.
The Russian-German pair are yet to drop a set and have picked up some impressive wins this tournament, beating seventh seeds Victoria Azarenka and Sofia Kenin before knocking out defending champions and second seeds Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens. However, they face another unseeded pair in Zvonareva’s compatriots, Anna Blinkova and Veronika Kudermetova, who have been on an impressive run.
Blinkova and Kudermetova have been making waves on the singles tour but have reached their first major semifinal in Doubles, having beaten eighth seeds Katerina Siniakova and Anna-Lena Friedsam and fourth seeds Kveta Peschke and Demi Schuurs on their way to the last four. Both Blinkova and Kudermetova are fearless ball strikers and there could be an array of entertaining rallies in this contest.
Both pairings have played incredibly well at Flushing Meadows, though the experience of Zvonareva and Siegemund may help them across the line.
Prediction: Siegemund/Zvonareva in straight sets
Asia Muhammad/Taylor Townsend vs (3rd) Nicole Melichar/Xu Yifan
The Chinese-American duo of Nicole Melichar and Xu Yifan are the only seeds to make it to the last four and have been in impressive form this week, not dropping a set on their way to this stage. Both Melichar and Zhu have reached Grand Slam doubles finals before though are yet to win a Women’s Doubles slam, and will be hoping to break that duck over the next couple of days.
Up against them in the semifinal is the highly talented pair of Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend. The American duo beat Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the ASB Classic back in January and have knocked out some big names on their way to a first major semifinal for both. They came from a set down to beat fifth seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Zhang Shuai in the opening round and have since seen off pairings featuring the likes of Lucie Hradecka and Gabriela Dabrowski.
This is another tough semifinal to call though, like with the first semifinal, the combined experience of Melichar and Yifan may prove key.
Prediction: Melichar/Yifan in three sets