Things haven’t gone quite as planned so far in the year’s first Grand Slam, the 2017 Australian Open.
Both the top seeds in the men’s and women’s singles brackets were knocked out in the fourth round of the tournament, with Angelique Kerber falling to relative newcomer, unseeded American, Coco Vandeweghe, and Andy Murray losing in four sets to Mischa Zverev of Germany, also unseeded.
Vandeweghe then went on to also beat Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain) in the quarterfinals, securing herself a spot in the semifinals.
Despite these fourth-round upsets, the names most of the players in the semifinals will be familiar to even casual tennis fans: Stan Wawrinka (who won the U.S. Open in September), will play Roger Federer in one of the men’s semifinals, Vandeweghe will contend with 13th seed, Venus Williams in one of the women’s semifinals, and Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams will both be competing in semifinal round matchups.
Nadal advanced in a four set match against Gaël Monfils in the quarterfinals and will therefore compete against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals; Serena will face off against Croatia’s Mirjana Lučić-Baroni, who toppled 2016 U.S. Open finalist Karolína Plíšková in three sets.
William’s match against Lučić-Baroni will be entertaining for a few reasons, not the least of which is Serena’s chance to earn her long-alluded 23rd career Grand Slam singles title– finally beating tennis legend Steffi Graf’s record.
Lučić-Baroni also walks onto the court with her own baggage; The unseeded Croatian’s victory over fifth seed Plíšková was another major upset in the Australian Open, marking a return to the semifinals of a Grand Slam after nearly 18 years (since Wimbledon 1999). Considered a prodigy when she first entered the WTA Tour, Lučić-Baroni set several “youngest ever” records and won the 1998 Australian Open doubles title at age 15.
Even Serena is excited about going head to head with a woman who many consider to be her predecessor. “I’m so proud of Mirjana. It’s so good to see her back out and to see her in the semifinals really just is so inspiring for me,” Williams said after her victory over quarterfinal challenger Johanna Konta.
“No matter what happens, someone 34 or older will be in the final and that’s just really awesome.” With Serena and Venus still dominating the competition at 35 and 36 years old, respectively, it will be the first time in the Open era that two players 35 or older have reached the final four of a Grand Slam competition, according to the Associated Press. Seems like youngster Vandeweghe’s age might be a disadvantage against this old guard.
The men’s singles competition will also be dominated by older players, although nothing as record-breaking or unusual as the women’s singles bracket. Federer, 35, will play Wawrinka, 31, and Nadal, 30, will play Dimitrov, 25.
As always, Federer will be a major player to watch, but this time it will be because of his recent injury, not just his famous serve.
The four-time Australian Open winner will be returning for his first tour event after a two-month break due to a chronic wrist injury. Due to his break, the Swiss star is seeded 17th– his lowest ever Australian Open ranking.
Will early upsets and history-making potential for the last rounds of the 2017 Australian Open, all bets are off for the women’s and men’s singles matchups. Here’s how to watch live.
The 2017 Australian Open Semifinals Schedule
The semifinals of the 2017 Australian Open will begin January 25 (EST) with the women’s singles semifinal matches.
Wednesday, January 25
Women’s Singles Semi-final: C. Vandeweghe v. V. Williams (13) at 10:00 p.m. EST
Women’s Singles Semi-final: Lučić-Baroni v. S. Williams (2) at 11:15 p.m. EST
Thursday, January 26
Men’s Singles Semi-final: R. Federer (17) v. S. Wawrinka (4) at 3:30 a.m. EST
Friday, January 27
Men’s Singles Semi-final: R. Nadal (9) v. G. Dimitrov (15) at 3:30 a.m. EST
How to Watch the 2017 Australian Open Live Streaming
Watch matches and commentary live streaming on Australian Open (AO) TV Live. Those with a cable login can also watch live overnight and daily recap feeds from ESPN2 through the semifinals.
The finals of the singles tournaments as well as the men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles tournaments will be live streaming on WatchESPN.
Those without a cable login can find additional ways to stream thanks to Cut Cable Today’s live streaming guide to the 2017 Australian Open.