I missed today’s action in Paris, but am hoping to catch the final tomorrow afternoon, which begins at 2.30pm UK time. Paris is always a solid event on the tour and this draw hasn’t disappointed with a number of really competitive three setters through the week. The star names may have all departed, but the final promises to be an intriguing match-up.
1. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Sara Errani (WTA Paris, F)
The Saturday semi-finals in Paris kicked off with a shock result as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ousted the number 1 seed, Maria Sharapova, coming from a set down to win 4-6 6-3 6-4 in 2 hours and 13 minutes. Sharapova double faulted on the last two points of the match as Pavlyuchenkova soared into the final. Pavlyuchenkova has been posting some pretty consistent results on the tour over the past six months and wins like today demonstrate the immense talent that she possesses. Pavlyuchenkova will now take on Sara Errani, who edged past Alize Cornet in a grinding three set semi-final in 3 hours and 2 minutes, 7-6(3) 3-6 7-6(5).
However you feel about Cornet, she showed an incredible amount of heart and determination this week. She played four matches, all three setters and totallling 11 hours and 36 minutes on the court. Her shortest match came in the first round against Magdalena Rybarikova, which lasted 2 hours and 36 minutes and her last two matches both passed the three hour mark. I don’t think many people expected Errani to make the final and defend her points from last year, but she has had a reasonable run of matches. Pavlyuchenkova beat Errani in their only previous match in Fed Cup action, back in 2011 in two tiebreak sets. Form wise, there is no question that Pavlyuchenkova is the favourite for this one, but I could see her getting tight trying to close out. Still, I am going for Pavs to win her biggest career title to date.
Prediction: Pavlyuchenkova to beat Errani in 2 sets
2. Ekaterina Makarova v Karolina Pliskova (WTA Pattaya City, F)
Pattaya’s final is also an unexpected one although few will be surprised to see Ekaterina Makarova in the final. After Sabine Lisicki and Garbine Muguruza both disappeared from the top half of the draw, Makarova was the favourite to make the final. She has though, struggled in many of her matches, winning three of her four matches in three sets. On Saturday, Makarova was handed a second set bagel by Andrea Hlavackova, but performed strongly in the first and third sets to come through in the end. In the final she will play Karolina Pliskova, who is participating in her second WTA final having won the event in Kuala Lumpur last year. Pliskova has beaten Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Sorana Cirstea and on Saturday, Julia Goerges in a semi-final dominated on serve with 29 aces between the pair. Both players have won one WTA title so will be going for their 2nd WTA title… I think it will be Makarova who gets it.
Prediction: Makarova to beat Pliskova in 3 sets