Update: Serena Williams was upset at the hands of Roberta Vinci on Friday.
The women's semifinals will take place on Friday at the US Open, hours before the men's semifinals after a weather delay forced play to cease on Thursday. That means No. 2 Simona Halep and No. 26 Flavia Pennetta will get the day started on Arthur Ashe Stadium, but the main event is of course top seed Serena Williams and her ongoing bid for a 22nd Grand Slam title.
Williams will be in action on the aforementioned court, taking on unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci after Halep and Pennetta wrap up their match. Vinci is the latest obstacle for Williams, and she's one that shouldn't be overlooked.
Vinci hasn't dominated her opponents in the tournament this year, and did advance in one round due to an injury to Eugenie Bouchard, but she is playing some of the best tennis of her career. Vinci downed Kristina Mladenovic in the quarterfinals and is the "surprise" in the semifinals at this stage. She's more known for her doubles career, where she's won 25 career titles, including five majors.
Williams has won all four of the meetings with Vinci, and most will tell you she's well on her way to a spot in the finals and another shot at securing four Grand Slams in a single season. She'd be the first woman to do it since Steffi Graf in the 80s, and would also tie Graf for second-place all time with 22 singles titles. She's playing as good as she ever has and is the heavy favorite in this match.
Can Vinci actually win it? Her game, which is predicated on deceptive ball placement and an excellent backhand, is just the kind of thing that Williams is able to recognize and counter with her power. Then again, Williams has played multiple three-set matches this tournament, and needed three sets to beat her sister, Venus, in the quarterfinals. The best Vinci can hope for is to put Williams down early, but that rarely works for Williams' opponents.
Usually when Williams starts to lose, she digs down deep into a reserve that no other tennis player has and proceeds to dominate the rest of the match. Just about everyone expects that's what will happen on Friday.
Television coverage of the match will be provided by ESPN. The aforementioned Halep/Pennetta match gets underway at 11 a.m. ET with the Williams/Vinci match to follow. A live stream of the match will be available at WatchESPN.