ROD LAVER ARENA
Partying like it is 1999
 Serena Williams (USA) vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO)
It is a great story to see Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in her second career major semifinal spanning July 1999 to January 2017. It also speaks to Serena and Venus Williams’ longevity. Venus reached her first major final in September 1997 and Serena reached her first major final in September 1999. Serena and Mirjana will be playing for the right to compete for an Australian Open title on Saturday in Melbourne. Serena Williams seems quite close to breaking Steffi Graf and her shared record of 22 major singles titles in the Open Era. Margret Court’s total of 24 major singles titles spanning the Amateur and Open Eras looks much more likely to fall if Serena reached 23 major titles early in 2017.
I think Serena is the obvious favorite to win this match. Also, Lucic-Baroni expended a great deal of emotional energy at the close of her quarterfinal win. She may feel like she has already “won” by completing a remarkable comeback and revival of her career. A letdown would be completely understood. I don’t particularly think she will have a letdown, but Serena is still favored.
My Prediction: Serena Williams d. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3, 6-2
23 is 4 sets away