Halep vs S. Williams (By: Stanioooo)
4th round match in Melbourne between Simona Halep and Serena Williams.
1st seeded Halep will have to face maybe the worst opponent she can dream of at this stage of the tournament. We know that she suffered from a back injury in the end of 2018 and confirmed the situation with the injury is okay right now, she has only little problems with her legs, because of tiredness, but for me it's obvious her movement and defensive performance is just not on the level it was during 2018 in Melbourne. She was like a rocket and could cover every single part of the court without much efforts, but against Venus I saw that when the American played aggressively with deeper and faster shots, Simona was just over. The thing which led Simona to such an easy victory(6:2 6:3) were the unforced errors Venus made during the match- much more than expected. Also the American broke Halep just once from so many chances. After both breaks by Halep in the 1st set, Venus had maybe 5 chances for rebreaks, but Simona somehow survived. Don't understand me wrong, Halep deserved the win, she moves better and better during the rounds(she had a lot of problems against the aggressive Kanepi and Sofia Kenin in the opening rounds). I was confident she will eliminate Venus, but her next opponent- Serena Williams is on totally different level right now. Don't forget what happened in the last match between Williams sisters in US Open 2018 (6:1 6:2 for Serena).
Serena Williams finished her last season in US Open where she reached the final and lost it against Naomi Osaka. You could just smell the surprise before the start of this match as Serena was moving very slowly during the tournament, she made a lot of unforced errors, but her excellent performance on return and serve helped her until the final where Osaka was just mistakeless and destroyed her. I really don't know what she did with her coach during the break, but since the start of the season Serena looks absolutely different on the court. In Hopman cup she won her three matches, but she didn't put so much efforts there. In Melbourne we can see the real form of Serena and it is just astonishing. Her serve works extremely good and lead to a lot of easy points, her movement on the court is much better and her style is ultra-aggressive during the rallies. She looks totally motivated not only to move up in the ranking, but also to grab the trophy in Melbourne. Maria, Bouchard, Yastremska- that's the list of players she eliminated so far giving them 9 games in 6 sets. Even Yastremska who looked very solid before the match against Serena couldn't resist against her powerful shots. The number of winners by Serena's racquet were just increasing during the match and Yastremska couldn't enter in the game till the very end.
When we take that H2H it's 8:1 for Serena Williams, we can easily accept this is the worst opponent she has to face so early in the tournament. Williams is just on fire right now, she has the game to cover a bunch of handicaps with such an attacking-minded performance. I will go with -3.5 games handicap for Serena and no matter if this finishes in two or three sets, I strongly believe she can cover it. There is absolutely no chance to go against Serena in that form. For me there is only one opponent who can stop her in Melbourne right now after Kerber is out and that's Petra Kvitova who also plays ultra-aggressive tennis. I respect Halep and the fact she is N1 right now, but I can't see her having big chances for the win in a situation where she is not in top form, while Serena plays almost like in the best years of her career.
Halep vs S. Williams prediction
|Serena Williams -3.5 games AH||Bet365||1.80||9||1-2 WON (+7.2 units)|