With perhaps the most famous athlete in her country’s history, gymnast Nadia Comaneci, in the stands rooting her on, Romania’s Simona Halep punched her ticket to the 2015 US Open Women’s Singles Semifinals with a 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory over 2-time Major winner and 2-time US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in a tightly contested quarterfinal. A lot of buzz was in the air about Vika being the greatest threat to spoil the calendar year Grand Slam quest of Serena Williams. Honestly, I doubt anybody will stop Serena. Azarenka probably matches up better with Serena than any player currently on tour, but let’s not forget that Simona does have a victory over Williams more recently than anybody except Petra Kvitova (who lost her quarterfinal today to Flavia Pennetta) and Belinda Bencic (who, to be fair, was helped greatly by numerous Serena errors in that match). After all, it needs to pointed out the Halep is the #2 seed this year. That’s not an accident. Simona will be the favorite going into the semifinals vs Pennetta. However, although Halep won their last match, Pennetta holds a 3-1 head to head advantage, including beating her at the 2013 US Open. My heart is pulling for Simona, but I don’t expect this to be easy. Flavia has a real chance to pull what on paper would constitute an upset.
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2 SIMONA HALEP (won 6-3 4-6 6-4 vs 20 Victoria Azarenka)
26 FLAVIA PENNETTA (won 4-6 6-4 6-2 vs 5 Petra Kvitova)