Hands up if you had Tsvetana Pironkova to win seven straight matches and make the final in Sydney! The Bulgarian world number 107, Pironkova takes on Angelique Kerber in tomorrow’s Sydney final. In yesterday’s poll, there were a fair few votes for Keys, but 70% of you correctly sided with Kerber.
Note – The Australian Open draw will take place at 10.30am local time, which I believe is 11.30pm UK time. I hope to have the first of my bumper previews out by Friday night.
The big talking point of this week has been Tsvetana Pironkova, who today defeated Petra Kvitova in straight sets. The interview she did for TennisTV after her quarter-final win over Sara Errani (see HERE) was particularly enlightening as she discussed working mainly on her mentality and fitness in the off-season. Another reason she is doing so well is the court surface. Matt Cronin tweeted that Juan Martin del Potro had compared the Sydney courts to grass in terms of their bounce. Furthermore, Bernard Tomic and Sergiy Stakhovsky have made the ATP semi-finals and both have had some of their best results on the grass so there definitely seems to be some support for that argument.
Pironkova takes on Angelique Kerber, who hasn’t attracted as many headlines, but has been equally impressive. Kerber played a great match to defeat Madison Keys, 6-4 6-2. Once again she showed more intent to attack and looked incredibly fit as she used an array of angles to give Keys the absolute runaround on the Ken Rosewall Arena. Kerber and Pironkova are tied at 1-1 in their head-to-head with Pironkova winning their most recent match in Doha, 6-4 6-1 in 2012. Pironkova is on a hot streak of form having lost just one set in her seven matches this week, but I really do like Kerber’s early season form.
Prediction: Kerber to beat Pironkova in 3 sets
WTA Hobart Semi-Final Predictions:
Sam Stosur to beat Klara Zakopalova in 2 sets
Garbine Muguruza to beat Estrella Cabeza Candela in 2 sets
*Muguruza’s run through the qualifying and main draw feels very Barthel-esque from 2012. She is definitely my tip to win the whole tournament from the last four.
ATP Sydney Semi-Final Predictions:
Juan Martin del Potro to beat Dmitry Tursunov in 2 tight sets
Bernard Tomic to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky in 3 sets
ATP Auckland Semi-Final Predictions
David Ferrer to beat Yen-Hsun Lu in 2 sets
John Isner to beat Roberto Bautista-Agut in 2 sets