WIMBLEDON - Most people figured there would be someone named Williams or Sharapova on ladies' semi-final Thursday at Wimbledon.
So, to sum up: two Czech mates, a Canuck and a Romanian. Definitely an "traditional tennis power" kind of day.
First up are the two Czechs, certainly friendly from all their collaborative efforts for the successful Czech Fed Cup team.
 Petra Kvitova vs.  Lucie Safarova
Safarova, 27, had never been past the third round here before now – and that was all the way back in 2007. She can do many of the things fellow left-hander Kvitova can do, and some she can't. She doesn't have the asme serve. But she moves a lot better, and has better hands at the net.
What has always held Safarova back is some innate sense of just not being good enough, not having enough belief. But she's been addressing that, and laid-back Canadian coach Rob Steckley certainly seems to have been good for her.
Kvitova, the only former champion among the four - the only former finalist, or semi-finalist, or quarter-finalist too – is the prohibitative favorite to win this one, to win the whole thing. She's had her left upper leg heavily taped the entire tournament, but it doesn't seem to have hampered her so far.
It's actually not a great draw for her to play a countrywoman.
 Simona Halep vs.  Genie Bouchard
By seeding, Halep was supposed to be here. But the Centre Court schedulers certainly weren't aware of this. The only time got got on there was for her quarter-final, and that likely was largely due to the fact that Maria Sharapova didn't make her intended date with Bouchard in the quarters, and Bouchard-Kerber was put on Court 1.
That's fine, she's just gone about her business.
Bouchard has seen the big court. And she's seen Court 1 – twice. It's above the station for a No. 13 seed but she clearly is considered a marquee name.
Halep, as well, has had a heavily-taped leg. We'll see if Slam semi-final nerves affect either of them.
- Sports & Recreation
- Simona Halep
- Petra Kvitova
- Lucie Safarova