A brief preview post for today’s semi-final action at Queens, Birmingham and Halle. I was at Birmingham today and I hope to get a report of my day with photos out by tonight / tomorrow morning.
Andy Murray v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Queens, SF)
I was worried about whether the top seeds would make it to the latter stages of Queens, but the schedulers can breathe a sigh of relief because the draw has held up well and a star-studded semi-final line-up awaits us on Saturday. The stand-out match is a repeat of the 2011 Queens final between Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Murray has done well this week, not playing vintage tennis but getting matches on the board before Wimbledon, which is the most important thing. He beat Benny Becker, 6-4 7-5 yesterday, meanwhile Tsonga was never tested as he defeated Denis Kudla, 6-3 6-2. Tsonga has only ever beaten Murray once back in 2008 in an Aussie Open first round shocker. Tsonga has consistently taken sets off Murray in their last three grass court encounters, but never won. Tsonga commented he didn’t feel great after Thursday’s double day and based on head-to-head and freshness, I think Murray will prevail.
Prediction – Murray to beat Tsonga in 3 sets
Roger Federer v Tommy Haas (Halle, SF)
The match of the day in Halle will see a repeat of last year’s final between Roger Federer and Tommy Haas. They actually teamed up as a doubles pair this year, but were knocked out in round one. There will be no secrets between these two having played each other 13 times before. Federer recorded only his second ever double bagel win as he trounced Mischa Zverev in just 39 minutes. Haas has had a very tough route through the draw and followed up his win over Ernests Gulbis with a three set victory over Gael Monfils, who revealed a few days ago he would be missing Wimbledon due to personal reasons. Federer leads the head-to-head by 10 wins to 3, but Haas won their last match, which was the final in Halle last year. Both are playing well and it should be a good match, but I am sticking safe and siding with Fed.
Prediction – Federer to beat Haas in 3 sets
Best of the rest: ATP Queens Semi-Final Prediction
Lleyton Hewitt to beat Marin Cilic in 3 sets – why not? Hewitt’s beating everyone right now and Cilic, like Del Potro is another hard-hitter, who has gone on many a mental walkabout.
Best of the rest: ATP Halle Semi-Final Prediction
Richard Gasquet to beat Mikhail Youzhny in 2 tight sets
Best of the rest: WTA Birmingham Predictions
Donna Vekic to beat Magdalena Rybarikova in 3 sets – a toughie because I was really impressed watching Vekic yesterday. Rybarikova is an extremely tricky customer on this surface, but I have a feeling it could be a fairytale run for Vekic.
Sabine Lisicki / Alison Riske to beat Daniela Hantuchova in 2 tight sets – Hantuchova was sensational yesterday in defeating Francesca Schiavone in a marathon match. This prediction is based on the fact that Daniela seemed to pick up an ankle injury and I wonder if she can bring the same tennis today.