[CR1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [CR3] Simona Halep (ROU)
Both defending Champions prevailed with almost identical scores in reverse. First it was Federer who took on the challenge from Djokovic and came out the winner in straight sets, 7-6(1), 6-3. Then it was Williams’ turn to fight off everything that Halep threw her way in the second set. Despite the slow start for Williams in the first, she came roaring back as only Williams can to win the set 6-3. However, the second set was more complicated. Halep had her chances; yet as we have seen so often over the years, when you get the opportunity to defeat the higher ranked player, you have to make it count. If you fail to capitalize on your opportunities, they will inevitably fight their way back and usually to victory. Williams won 6-3, 7-6(5).
At this stage in the season, all the pressure is on Williams. She knows it and every player that steps on the court against her knows it. So Williams has to work even harder to maintain her dominance and claim the victory. If the pressure has gotten to her more this season, it’s understandable given what she is trying to accomplish. However, as much as the fans can sit on the side cheering her on, we are really not fully cognizant of the magnitude of the pressure that she is feeling. Although we can say more Williams’ drama as usual, this is not as usual. The fact that she is still winning is a testament of her inner strength and determination. Will it be easy for Williams to win the US Open? Absolutely not; however, if she can somehow find a way to mentally stay calm in the face of the pressure, she can win the US Open and the Grand Slam.