(The results for these finals have been included, and updated Changeover Staff Standings can be found at the bottom of this post – is there a way anybody can catch Amy?)
Semifinal: Maria Sharapova vs. Li Na
Time: 9:30 p.m. Eastern – Wednesday, January 23
Head to Head: 8-4, Sharapova
Li Na won, 6-2, 6-2 – Read all about it here!
Amy’s Pick: Eight of the 10 meetings between these two have been straight sets wins for one or the other. Because of Li’s tendency to hit so many errors, I think Sharapova takes care of this one in straight sets.
Juan José’s Pick: The Year of Li Na clashes with The Australian Open of Sharapova. Like I’ve said many times, I’ve yet to trust Li Na this year, and her meeting the seemingly untouchable Sharapova in the semifinal makes this choice even easier. I think Sharapova derails the Li Na train in straights.
Lindsay’s Pick: As Agnieszka Radwanska learned the hard way, underestimate Li Na at your own peril. Li Na was erratic but effective in her straight sets quarterfinal win, and her aggressive style will give many opponents fits. She’s beaten Sharapova on the big stage before, most notably at the French Open and WTA Championships in 2011. But 2011 Sharapova was not 2013 Sharapova. I haven’t seen Maria this focused and determined since her win here in 2008, and so I think she makes the final. Li Na will provide the first true test though. Sharapova in three.
Semifinal: Victoria Azarenka vs. Sloane Stephens
Time: Second match after 9:30 p.m. Eastern – Wednesday, January 23
Head to Head: 0-0
Azarenka won, 6-1, 6-4 – Read all about it here!
Amy’s Pick: Azarenka has looked pretty decent so far at the Australian Open, and I’m not sure Stephens is ready to give her a real challenge. It’ll be interesting to see if Stephens can attack that serve of Azarenka’s. I’ll go with Azarenka in straights.
Juan José’s Pick: I really like what Stephens can do on a tennis court, but I don’t think she necessarily matches up well against Azarenka: Stephens loves it when she has pace to work with, and when she can improvise over someone else’s aggression. Azarenka will be patient and move her around, and proof to be way too consistent for the teenager. However, if Stephens gets on a roll and puts some pressure on Azarenka’s serve, I see her taking a set. Azarenka in three.
Lindsay’s Pick: I have a lot of respect and admiration for what Stephens did in her quarterfinal against Serena, but I do not really see her being able to recover physically or emotionally to take on Azarenka the very next day. I think that this match will be very similar to her match in Brisbane against Serena. She’ll be in all of the points and will prove that she belongs, but she won’t take a set. Azarenka is just too fit and versatile right now. Vika in two.
Semifinal: Novak Djokovic vs. David Ferrer
Time: 3:30 a.m. Eastern – Thursday, January 24
Head to Head: 9-5, Djokovic
Novak Djokovic won, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 – Read all about it here!
Amy’s Pick: Djokovic in a very uneventful three sets.
Juan José’s Pick: Ferrer doesn’t see himself hoisting a Grand Slam trophy, and he has never beaten Djokovic at a hard court major. The last time he took a set, heavy wind was involved. Conditions like those aren’t likely to show up tonight, but I do think the Spaniard will take advantage of any lapses in concentration from the World No. 1 and take a set off him. Djokovic in four.
Lindsay’s Pick: I was at the US Open semifinal that these two played in 2012 live, and it was ugly, ugly stuff. Both men played about 10 feet behind the baseline, and Ferrer decided that he could out-grind Djokovic on hard courts. He cannot. This match will not be any different, and he won’t even have the wind to help him. I’m going to have a hard time believing in Ferrer at this stage in the tournament until he believes in himself. Djokovic in three.
Amy: 11-2 Matches with Correct Number of Sets Picked: 7
Lindsay: 9-4 Matches with Correct Number of Sets Picked: 7
Juan José: 9-4 Matches with Correct Number of Sets Picked: 5