After some very exciting and tight round robin matches, the semi finals proved to be somewhat one sided affairs.
Serena def Radwanska 62 61
It was a mis-match from the start. The heavy weight vs the feather weight. David vs Goliath. In the end, 2 straight 3 hour matches as well as a long season took it's toll on Radwanska. While there were glimpses of guile and craft, her legs just weren't as quick and she never had a chance against a fresh Serena Williams. Serena played like Serena does, aggressive and intimidating, slapping winners and aces all over the court. Radwanska had nothing to offer and was pummeled in slightly less than an hour. Radwanska can look back proudly on this year as her breakthrough into the games elite. She is a great addition to the top of the game and always produces entertaining matches. Meanwhile, Serena is on track to finishing the year on a high and proving once and for all that she's the best player of 2012. Next up, her puppy, Maria Sharapova.
Sharapova def Azarenka 64 62
Sharapova was sharp from the word go. Attacking every short ball and serving extremely well. Azarenka wasn't playing her best, not returning as well as she could and she was also hampered by what seemed like a left thigh strain. Credit to Sharapova for keeping the pressure and pinning Azarenka to the baseline with deep heavy groundstrokes. She served big and fired 7 aces, including one on match point. Azarenka seems to have had a mastery over Sharapova of late but this win for Maria sets up an interesting storyline for 2013. Despite the loss, Azarenka will be the 11th player to end the year at number one. If Sharapova can play like she did in this match in the finals, she will at least not be thrashed by Serena.
Serena vs Maria
Maria has not beaten Serena in 8 years, her last victory was at the YEC in 2004, the same year she stunned Serena at Wimbledon. Apart from their very close Australian Open encounter in 2005, where Maria had match point, the other matches have been somewhat one sided. In fact, many of them have been utter beat downs. Case in point being the Olympic finals where Maria was close to tears after winning only 1 game against a very dominant Serena. There is a reason why Serena dominates Maria. Everything Maria does Serena does better. Serena hits harder, serves harder, volleys better and moves much better. Maria's edge against 99.9% of the field is her mental strength, but the Russian is a mental midget compared to Serena, who seems to will herself to win whenever she's down.
Serena is playing better with each match at this tournament, as she does in every tournament she wins, she gets better and better and by the time she reaches the finals, is in such devastating form that her opponent simply doesn't have a chance. While Maria's confidence is high after beating Azarenka, I simply don't see her winning the match, let alone winning a set. Even if Maria gets a high percentage of 1st serves and pins Serena to the baseline with her powerful flat groundstrokes, I still give the American the edge and she has a huge psychological advantage over the Russian. Maria doesn't believe she can beat Serena and would be happy to better her Olympic performance against Williams. I think Serena will play her best match of the tournament here and spank Maria in 2 quick sets to punctuate her position as the best player of 2012, and perhaps the best tennis player ever.
Pick: Serena in an easy 2 set victory.