Saturday, 7 April 2012

WTA Charleston: Semi-final preview and predictions

Polona Hercog (14) v Lucie Safarova (9)
Lucie Safarova
The top half of the Charleston draw always looked a little ropey compared to the bottom half and things have panned out that way with two unexpected faces making the semi-finals; however lets not write them off just yet as both have sparkled on the green clay this week.  Hercog had won just two main draw matches on tour in 2012, but has stepped up her game in a big way in Charleston by trebling her number of wins for the year.  She beat Nadia Petrova, 6-1 6-2 in the quarter-finals and was particularly dominant on the return of serve.  Safarova has continued her solid start to 2012 with two good wins over Aleksandra Wozniak and Vera Zvonareva; against the Russian, she played an excellent match and was surprisingly the more consistent player against the former world number two, whose game has rather deserted her in 2012.

Hercog and Safarova have played each other twice before with both winning one match.  I have never actually seen Hercog play so I am hoping to catch a bit of the match later today.  I think it will be a close run thing but I was so impressed with Safarova's form yesterday, i'm backing the Czech player to reach the final...

Prediction - Safarova in 3 sets

Serena Williams
Serena Williams (5) v Sam Stosur (2)
Serena Williams has progressed to the semi-finals without little fuss and for the loss of no sets.  She progressed yesterday when Sabine Lisicki was forced to retire hurt midway during the first set.  Sam Stosur on the other hand had a far tougher day as she came through two three set matches.  She firstly had to finish her third round match off against Galina Voskoboeva before a rather streaky performance eventually saw off Venus Williams in the quarter-finals.  Her forehand was working especially well yesterday, but she struggled to close out the match and could easily have finished off Venus in 2 sets; however it was still a good overall performance.

Serena and Stosur played last week in Miami where Serena prevailed in a tight two setter, 7-5 6-3.  Stosur won their only previous encounter on the clay at the French Open although the green clay does play quite differently to the red clay.  I am a little on the fence with this one because I think Stosur has a great shot at getting past Serena.  However after playing two long matches yesterday, I don't think she will have enough left in the tank to beat Serena.
Prediction - Serena in 3 sets

This week has been a disappointing week for my predictions as you will see here!

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