Two weeks and two hard court losses for Rafael Nadal, who went down to a magnificent performance from Juan Martin del Potro. The gentle giant crafted out a huge win to book his place at the O2 and take out the world number one with a 6-2 6-4 triumph. Del Potro now takes on Novak Djokovic, who had a straightforward victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-2 7-5. This marked a return to form for Tsonga although he has admitted his knee is still not 100% since a lengthy spell on the sidelines after Wimbledon.
This promises to be a fantastic final as the Djokovic-DelPo rivalry has emerged as one of the most entertaining out there. Their last match was one of the best of 2013 as Djokovic prevailed in an epic five setter at Wimbledon. There is no doubt DelPo has a shot at Djokovic and he did win their last hard court match in Indian Wells earlier this year. Beating Nadal is also going to give him a wealth of confidence. However I would still back Novak, who has come into much better form in the last few weeks, to complete the Beijing-Shanghai double.
Prediction – Djokovic to beat Del Potro in 3 sets
The final that I most wanted to see from the Linz line-up is the one that will be presented in Austria tomorrow between Angelique Kerber and Ana Ivanovic. Kerber, who has no pressure now after booking her place in Istanbul, thumped Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-2 6-0 in the first of the semi-finals. It was another sorry loss for the Spaniard who has had a terrific year, which has been somewhat overshadowed by these types of losses. Ivanovic made her first final of 2013 with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Stefanie Voegele. This is an interesting head-to-head as Ivanovic won their first two matches in 2013, a tight two setter in Stuttgart and a more comfortable victory in Madrid. However Kerber well and truly turned the tables in Tokyo this year posting a 6-4 6-2 win. Ivanovic has already been given a wildcard into the Sofia Tournament of Champions (which considering she hasn’t won a title this year is a joke if you ask me), but she could earn her rightful place with a win tomorrow…
Prediction – Ivanovic to beat Kerber in 3 sets
3. Sam Stosur v Eugenie Bouchard (Osaka, F)
This week I correctly predicted the Osaka final in my original predictions as Sam Stosur and Eugenie Bouchard strolled through their semi-finals. In a match that I expected to be very close, Stosur thrashed Madison Keys, 6-1 6-2. The American had been in fine form all week and I was surprised to see such a one-sided scoreline. Bouchard eased past Kurumi Nara, 6-2 6-2 in the second semi-final. The Canadian has emerged as the most promising of the hot prospects with a series of consistent performances in the second half to this year. She has also exhibited the talent and nerve to jostle with the best as she scored a big victory over Ana Ivanovic on the grandest stage of Wimbledon’s Centre Court, took a rare set off Serena in Cincinnati and defeated Jelena Jankovic in Tokyo. Bouchard has a win over Stosur in her locker although it was a hollow one as Sam was really struggling with an injury. However I still think this is Genie’s time to shine and her steady progress on the tour is going to pay huge dividends for her in the future.