Friday, 18 May 2012

WTA Rome: Semi-Final Predictions

Serena Williams
Li Na (8) v Serena Williams (9)
Li progressed to the semi-finals with a win over Dominika Cibulkova, 6-1 7-6.  It was another inconsistent display from Li who played some great tennis in the first set but struggled to finish the match off in the second.  I think having seen Azarenka pull out of the competition, she will know that this would have been a golden opportunity missed if she could not beat Cibulkova.  She did manage to pull out the win and her reward is a semi-final date with Serena Williams.  Serena only had to play 4 games when Flavia Pennetta was cruelly forced to pull out in front of her adoring home crowd with a wrist injury.  

Williams has won her last 17 matches with her last loss coming back in Miami to Caroline Wozniacki.  Williams does lead the head-to-head 5-1, but Li has shown she can stick with the power game of Williams having forced a number of three setters in the past.  With Serena having floated through her last two games, I think Li will ask some big questions of Serena.  I originally went for Li, but I think Serena is looking in fighting fit form so I have to go for the American in this one...
Prediction - Serena to beat Li in 2 tight sets

Angelique Kerber (12) v Maria Sharapova (2)
Maria Sharapova
Kerber broke into the top 10 with a fantastic victory over Petra Kvitova in the late night match, 7-6 1-6 6-1.  Although Kvitova was hampered by an abdominal injury, it was a very entertaining match with tons of variety on show.  When you look at Kerber's progression it really is astonishing; last year she lost to Laura Robson in the first round of Wimbledon, but since then she has put in total hard and graft, and it is now paying off as she looks fitter than ever and has the belief she can beat anyone.  Sharapova played well to stop Venus Williams in the quarter finals with a 6-4 6-3 victory.  

Kerber and Sharapova have played twice this year with both winning one match.  Sharapova destroyed Kerber in the Australian Open, 6-1 6-2, but Kerber turned the tables on the Russian with an excellent straight sets win in Paris.  Sharapova has not been at her fluent best in Rome, but I think she will edge a tight semi-final here...

Prediction - Sharapova to beat Kerber in 3 sets 

The two semi-finals could go either way in my opinion but I have gone for the favourites in both.  Despite losing my champion in Sam Stosur, I managed to correctly predict the other three semi finalists!

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