The first round of the Davis Cup has kicked off this weekend with many interesting ties going on. I was watching a little bit of the GB v USA tie, which is set inside a baseball stadium… bizarre! Andy Murray cruised through his opening tie against Donald Young on what appeared to be a very slow clay court. I assume the USA picked clay to hinder Murray and because Isner has done pretty well on this surface in the past. However with Isner now out and from my recollection, Querrey hating this surface, it certainly hasn’t paid off so far.
1. Maria Sharapova v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (WTA Paris, SF)
The first semi-final in Paris will be an all-Russian affair as the number one seed, Maria Sharapova takes on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Pav upset Angelique Kerber in a tight quarter-final, 5-7 6-3 7-6(3) lasting 2 hours and 27 minutes. It was another tough loss for Kerber, who has won just 1 of 4 three set matches this year. She seems to be playing reasonably well, but has suffered some really tough losses already in 2014, which is in stark contrast to 2012 when she was on the winning side of so many of these matches. Pavlyuchenkova was unable to serve out the win at the first time of asking, but came through in the tiebreak to secure her best win of 2014 so far. Sharapova had another routine win as she beat Kirsten Flipkens, 6-2 6-2 and is the overwhelming favourite to take home the title on Sunday.
Pavlyuchenkova and Sharapova have met just once on the tour with Sharapova prevailing in a three setter in Cincinnati back in 2010. Pavlyuchenkova is starting to put together a solid slate of results and she will be no pushover in this match. Sharapova’s draw has opened up and she has played some fine tennis in her first two matches. I expect her to come win through to the final, overcoming a tight opening set.
Prediction: Sharapova to beat Pavlyuchenkova in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
WTA Pattaya City: Semi-Final Predictions
Ekaterina Makarova to beat Andrea Hlavackova in 2 tight sets
Karolina Pliskova to beat Julia Goerges in 3 sets