Last year, the quarter-finals of Stuttgart threw up one of the best days of womens tennis in 2012; this year could easily produce the same kind of magic with the headlining quarter-final of the day, a battle of Grand Slam winners between Petra Kvitova and Li Na. For the second match in a row, Kvitova was forced into a deciding set against a German player. She came back from a set and a break down to defeat the fast starting Julia Goerges, 2-6 7-6(4) 6-2. Li had a far easier match as she strolled past Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-1 6-2. The form this week would point to Li as the favourite, but I still see this as a 50/50 match. Kvitova and Li have split their four matches and all but one have gone the distance. I am expecting another tight match with a lot of changes in momentum, but I see Kvitova edging into the semi-finals…
Sharapova leads the head-to-head by 5 wins to 2 with their last match taking place on the clay in Rome last year where Sharapova came back from all manner of deficits in the first set before posting a 7-6(4) 6-3 victory. I think Ivanovic can live with Sharapova’s game from the back of the court, but her mental game is what has let her down in their previous matches. I have to go for Sharapova despite today’s lacklustre performance, but she can easily step it up. I think this will be a really entertaining and closely fought match.
Sabine Lisicki to beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands in 3 sets