Friday, 26 October 2012

WTA YEC Istanbul: Semi-Final Predictions

1. Maria Sharapova v Victoria Azarenka
Maria Sharapova confirmed her number one position in the white group with a convincing 6-0 6-3 victory over Sam Stosur.  It was a pretty atrocious performance from Stosur who won just five points in the first set and I think is now desperate for a well deserved break.  Sharapova meanwhile has more work to do and now takes on Victoria Azarenka in a show-stopping semi-final.  Azarenka confirmed her status as the year-end world number one as she beat Li Na, 7-6 6-3 in a scrappy encounter that demonstrated some fine hitting at times, but many errors and mental lapses too.

Azarenka has won all her hard court encounters with Sharapova in 2012; Azarenka won a three setter at the US Open and then cruised to victory in the final of the Premier Mandatory event in Beijing.  This match promises to be different.  Sharapova has been playing well and will be relatively well rested having eased through the first match of the day.  Azarenka on the other hand has played well up till now and did not finish her match until gone midnight.  I fancy a three setter here, but I still have faith in Azarenka to make the final; despite Vika's struggles so far this week, she still owns Sharapova on hard court...

Prediction - Azarenka to beat Sharapova in 3 sets
2. Serena Williams v Agnieszka Radwanska 
Serena Williams had a rather neat day as she would have been able to watch Agnieszka Radwanska and Sara Errani fight tooth and nail for a spot in the semi-finals of the YEC.  And fight they did as Radwanska edged Errani in the longest WTA match of 2012 with a 6-7 7-5 6-4 victory in three hours and 29 minutes.  Errani deserves a pat on her back for her performances this week and throughout the whole of 2012, but Radwanska was just that little bit tougher in the end.  The world number four, who has played two three hour plus matches this week, now faces the daunting prospect of Serena in a rematch of the Wimbledon final.

Serena progressed with three straight set wins over Angelique Kerber, Li Na and Victoria Azarenka.  In all three matches Serena had her issues, but she managed to exploit her opponent's weaknesses and essentially cruise into the semi-finals.  In their last match, Serena wobbled in the Wimbledon final, but was always too strong as she came away with a 6-1 5-7 6-2 victory.  Radwanska is no doubt going to be knackered from today's exploits but she will give it her all for sure... there is unfortunately only one winner from this match though.

Prediction - Serena to beat Radwanska in 2 sets

You can keep up to date with my predictions for Valencia and Basel... my champions are still alive in both! My predictions for Istanbul have been terrible these past two days so lets hope for better with these semi-final ones ;-)

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