Steve Tignor previews the women’s semifinals at Wimbledon.
1. Angelique Kerber  vs. Jelena Ostapenko 
You don’t often see two players face off for the first time in a Grand Slam semifinal. If they’ve made it this far, they’ve probably been on tour for at least a few years, long enough to make the rounds of their fellow elite players. But while Kerber is 30 years old, and Ostapenko has already won a major title at 21, they’ve avoided each other so far. Well, there’s no place like Wimbledon to kick off a potential rivalry, right?
On paper, this match looks especially intriguing, as it will feature a clear-cut contrast in styles: Ostapenko will supply the offense, and Kerber the defense. While the Latvian was scorching in her quarterfinal win over Dominika Cibulkova, that was a match where her opponent was feeding her the pace she likes, at the height she likes. The veteran Kerber, who has played like a woman on a mission these past two weeks, will mix up her spins and trajectories more, and that could give her an edge. Winner: Kerber
WATCH—Daily Serve from Day 9 at Wimbledon:
2. Julia Goerges  vs. Serena Williams 
Like Kerber and Ostapenko, Williams and Goerges have surprisingly little history against each other. They’ve been on tour together for more than a decade, but they’ve played just three times, once in 2010, once in 2011, and last month at the French Open, where Williams won 6-3, 6-4. Serena has won all of their matches in straight sets, but they’ve never played on grass. Not that Goerges is likely to be helped by playing on it this time: Serena is a seven-time Wimbledon champ, while Goerges had lost a stunning five straight first-round matches before last week.
Goerges has the power to hit with Serena, but unlike Camila Giorgi, who pushed the American deep into a third set on Tuesday, the German’s ground strokes take some time to unwind. That’s time she probably won’t have against Serena. Winner: S. Williams
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