Sunday, 27 October 2013

WTA Champs Istanbul Final Preview: Serena Williams v Li Na

The final for the WTA Champs in Istanbul has arrived in what feels like super quick time and will see world number one, Serena Williams take on the soon-to-be world number three, Li Na.  By virtue of her semi-final victory over Petra Kvitova, Li will move up to career best number three in the world, which is a marvellous achievement and backs up her very solid 2013 results.  I was disappointed that Kvitova lost and I must say that the Kvitova-Li head-to-head is so difficult to call because there has been a different winner the last five times they have played.  

Serena came through an extremely odd semi-final with Jelena Jankovic where she compained of hitting the wall and having little energy left.  I didn't watch either of the semi-finals yesterday, but it makes trying to call this final nigh on impossible.  It all obviously depends on which Serena comes out; if she is like yesterday, then Li certainly has a shot and she proved against a hobbled Azarenka that she is a mentally stronger player these days, albeit still with her flaws.  However on the other hand, it would not be surprise me at all to see Serena get her act together and waltz through this final.

The head-to-head is heavily in Serena's favour and she won their last match at the US Open, 6-0 6-3.  That match-up was a story of two affairs as Serena completely overwhelmed Li for much of the match, but the Chinese player did offer some fine resistance at the end and was going toe-to-toe with the world number one before eventually slipping to a defeat.  It is really difficult to write Serena off and particularly with Li across the net, who doesn't exactly hold a great deal of confidence when they meet.  I think it's going to be a grind, but I can still see Serena lifting the trophy up at the end of the day.

Prediction - Serena to beat Li in 3 sets

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