Wow… this has been a great week of predictions for Moo so far! Let’s hope it continues…
1. Juan Martin del Potro v Rafael Nadal (Shanghai, SF)
|Juan Martin del Potro|
One more win will see Juan Martin del Potro officially qualify for the World Tour Finals in London, but to achieve that feat in Shanghai will take a herculean effort as he takes on the newly crowned world number one, Rafael Nadal. Del Potro struggled against Philipp Kohlschreiber in his first match on Wednesday because of a fever, but a timely walkover from Tommy Haas in the third round gave him the chance to recover and he was in fine form to dispatch suddenly-relevant-again, Nicolas Almagro in the quarter-finals, 6-3 6-3. Nadal had a really tough opening set with Stanislas Wawrinka today as he saved numerous set points and broke the Swiss man’s spirit with a 12-10 tiebreaker that lasted 21 minutes before rolling to a 7-6(10) 6-1 quarter-final victory.
Nadal leads the head-to-head by 8 wins to 3; their last encounter was on the hard courts of Indian Wells where Nadal came from a set down to beat DelPo in a fantastic final, 4-6 6-3 6-4. Nadal has played a lot of tennis of late, meanwhile DelPo seems to be peaking after a solid run in Tokyo. I question whether the gentle giant has the belief in himself to beat Nadal, but he really should do because his game is magic when it’s on song and he looked in great form today.
Prediction – Del Potro to beat Nadal in 3 sets *brave, bold & potentially stupid, but going for it*
2. Angelique Kerber v Carla Suarez Navarro (Linz, SF)
The line-up for this year’s season-ending-champs in Istanbul has been decided as Angelique Kerber snapped up the last spot by virtue of her reaching the semi-finals of Linz with a comfortable 6-3 6-0 victory over Patricia Mayr-Achleitner. Kerber now faces Carla Suarez Navarro in the semi-finals as she overcame a potentially tricky affair against Kirsten Flipkens with minimal ease, 6-1 6-3. Kerber and Suarez Navarro played each other in a gripping last 16 match at this year’s US Open where CSN enjoyed arguably her biggest win of the year as she came through in a third set tiebreak. There are different circumstances this time round and a completely different court. Kerber’s done all she needed to do and I wonder how focused she will be on claiming the title. I think that Kerber, with a newly found vigour from her successful stint in Asia, will work her magic and make the final.
Prediction – Kerber to beat Suarez Navarro in 2 tight sets
3. Sam Stosur v Madison Keys
The two highest ranked teenagers on the WTA tour have both had stellar weeks in Osaka and will have a super chance to win their first title. The talent coming through in the line-up of women is exciting for the tour and it would set up 2014 perfectly to see one of Madison Keys or Eugenie Bouchard win Osaka. Keys has the trickier semi-final match against Sam Stosur; the American has blitzed her way through the draw, taking out Zhang Shuai and Zheng Jie in the last two rounds for the loss of just 8 games. In fact she lost just 3 points in the second set of her match with Zhang. Stosur has had a very solid week, which she needed after a dire run of form through Flushing Meadows and Asia. She fought off Misaki Doi in 3 sets today. Stosur and Keys have played once before earlier this year in Indian Wells where Stosur produced a composed performance to take out the American in straight sets, 6-3 6-4. Keys should make this a much tougher match and I would not be surprised to see an upset.
Prediction – Stosur to beat Keys in 3 tough sets
Best of the rest: ATP Shanghai Semi-Final Prediction
Novak Djokovic to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2 sets
Best of the rest: WTA Linz Semi-Final Prediction
Ana Ivanovic to beat Stefanie Voegele in 2 sets
Best of the rest: WTA Osaka Semi-Final Prediction
Eugenie Bouchard to beat Kurumi Nara in 2 tight sets