Bianca Andreescu of Canada reacts during her match against Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands during the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Bianca Andreescu of Canada reacts during her match against Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands during the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)|Associated Press

Women's Tennis Saturday: Abrams picks the Rogers Cup semis -- Bianca Andreescu vs Sofia Kenin and Serena Williams vs Marie Bouzkova

Matches are at 1 pm and 6 pm EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

The Rogers Cup

Toronto, Canada

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Women’s Semifinals

Bianca Andreescu over Sofia Kenin

It’s nice to see Canadian newcomer, 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu, back on the Tour. Back in March after she won Indian Wells, it appeared that she was on her way to the Top Ten. Then when she tried to go play Miami, on the second end of the Sunshine Double, she came up lame. She hasn’t really been back since, although she made a token appearance in the French, where she was again unable to compete. She’s lost most of her year, but still sported a 32-4 win/loss record for 2019 coming into this tournament, where she resumed where she left off in the late winter: winning. She stopped countrywoman Genie Bouchard, Daria Kasatkina (who beat Angie Kerber), Kiki Bertens (#5 in the world) and Karolina Pliskova (#3 in the world) in succession, and finds herself playing American Sofia Kenin, who is on quite a roll herself. Kenin, 20-years-old, has shown recently that she belongs in the Big Time. She knocked out Serena Williams in Paris, where she got to the Round of 16 in only her second try there. She's won two tournaments this year, and in the second round here shocked world #1 Ash Barty before she beat Elina Svitolina to march into the semis. Kenin is still not as polished as Andreescu, and the transplanted Russian is still inconsistent enough to throw in a clunker every once in a while. Because of this, I like Andreescu to win this in a close-fought three setter. If Andreescu is really back and healthy, she’ll be in the Top Ten shortly.

Serena Williams over Marie Bouzkova

Ever since Serena Williams came back from having her baby, I’ve complained that she has received easy draw after easy draw, and it’s true. She rolled to the Wimbledon finals playing opponents’ whose average ranking was around 73.2. Considering that the Championships always have a full tier of top players, that was an incredibly easy path. One TV commentator suggested that it was the easiest road in either a Men’s or a Women’s draw since Open tennis began in 1968. Still, no one can say that about her draw here. In the quarters she had to play world #2 Naomi Osaka, whom she had never won a set from. Serena rose to the occasion and rode her tough serve to victory over a very error-prone Osaka who appeared out of the match after the first five games. Now Serena will take on qualifier Marie Bouzkova, who came out of nowhere to romp into the semis. She knocked out a dreary and angry Sloane Stephens, and won a set from Simona Halep before the Wimbledon champion had to retire. Without that full match against Halep, it’s difficult for me to make a full judgment about the Czech, but based on what I’ve seen she only has a puncher’s chance against Williams. Williams is not playing anywhere near as well as she did five to six years ago, but she still has enough in the tank to beat someone who has never seen her serve. The American is extremely error prone now, because her movement has been compromised, but as long as she has the best serve in the women’s game, she is still very dangerous.

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