Saturday, 10 August 2013

Toronto and Montreal Semi-Final Predictions: Djokovic-Nadal, Li-Cirstea, Pospisil-Raonic

1. Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal (Montreal, SF)
Novak Djokovic
The highlight of Saturday's line-up will see Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic play each other on the hard courts for the first time since the 2012 Australian Open final.  Both players strolled into the semi-finals with straight set wins; Djokovic recovered from a lacklustre quarter-final performance where he was pushed to 3 sets by Denis Istomin to trounce Richard Gasquet, 6-1 6-2.  Nadal lost 2 more games in a 6-1 6-4 victory over Marinko Matosevic.  This will be a 36th encounter on the tour between the pair and their last match was at Roland Garros where Nadal edged out Djokovic in a nailbiter, 9-7 in the decider.  Nadal has won 4 of their last 5 matches, but all of those came on clay.  This has a different feel to it on hard courts where Djokovic is much more comfortable.  It is never an easy thing to do to go against Rafa, but I am backing Djokovic to make the final.

Prediction - Djokovic to beat Nadal in 3 sets

2. Li Na v Sorana Cirstea (Toronto, SF)
Sorana Cirstea
This week's surprise package has been Sorana Cirstea, who backed up excellent wins over Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic with a quarter-final triumph over a labouring Petra Kvitova, 4-6 7-5 6-2.  It was the on-court coaching from Darren Cahill that really seemed to fire Cirstea up and you could tell at the end of the match what a huge win this was for her.  Her opponent in the semi-finals will be Li Na who produced a measured performance to take out the in-form, Dominika Cibulkova, 7-6(1) 6-2.  Apart from a win at Wimbledon in 2012, Cirstea has lost 4 of her 5 matches with Li including a straight sets loss down in Melbourne.  This week, she has managed to find a nice balance of when to attack without making too many errors, but there is always that underlying worry that she could throw in a shocker.

Prediction - Li to beat Cirstea in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

3. Vasek Pospisil v Milos Raonic (Montreal, SF)
Vasek Pospisil
The last time a Canadian made the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup was in 1969 so it is a pretty remarkable feat that this year two Canadians have come out of nowhere to set up a bamboozling last four match-up.  Milos Raonic had been on a sorry run of form, winning just one match at Wimbledon and then losing early in Washington last week.  However he has summoned some good form to take out   Mikhail Youzhny, Juan Martin del Potro and Ernests Gulbis.  Of course the biggest talking point of his week was that point in the del Potro match where he didn't own up to touching the net, in which I did lose some respect for the guy.

Today's opponent, Vasek Pospisil is much more of a surprising semi-finalist.  He did win a challenger event in Vancouver last week, but he has never had any showcase wins on the big stage; that was until this week where he fought off John Isner, Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych, and then was dished a slice of luck when Nikolay Davydenko pulled out of their quarter-final with breathing problems, which he later revealed was due to bronchitis.  Raonic and Pospisil have played challenger events before, but never on the ATP tour.  I think it will be a really close match, but on this occasion, experience will be come in handy for Milos...

Prediction - Raonic to beat Pospisil in 3 sets

4. Serena Williams v Agnieszka Radwanska (Toronto, SF)
Aga Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska faces the fearful task of playing Serena Williams in the semi-finals of Toronto, but can at least move onto Cincy with some excellent wins under her belt.  It has been a good week for Aga, who has shown some rare attacking intent in defeating Sloane Stephens on Thursday and yesterday, Sara Errani in a tight two setter of quarter-final, 7-6(1) 7-5.  Serena has blitzed her way through the draw losing just 10 games in her 3 matches so far this week.  She enjoyed her most comprehensive win over Washington champion, Magdalena Rybarikova in the quarter-finals, 6-1 6-1.  Serena leads the head-to-head by 5 wins to 0 and realistically based on Serena's form this week, I cannot see how Aga will have any chance in this match.

Prediction - Serena to beat Radwanska in 2 sets


  1. I will go for Novak in 2 sets. Milos in three, Li Na in 2 and Serena in 2 also. By the way, do you do the predictions for Cincinnati draw when the qualifiers are placed in the draw or before that?

  2. I normally try to wait until qualifiers are placed, particularly for the womens Cincy draw because there are a lot of qualifiers and some pretty good players could win through. I will post both my previews tonight but I don't think the qualifiers will have been placed by the time I go to bed.