Rotterdam predictions this week have been majestically terrible. Doha has been a mixed bag although both my finalists still remain in the draw. This could be my last preview for a while as I will be moving house and won’t have any internet. Hopefully I will find a way to get round this to be able to post although my tennis watching days will be quiet for a while 😦
1. Petra Kvitova v Jelena Jankovic (WTA Doha, QF)
In a draw that has seen quite a few upsets, Petra Kvitova and Jelena Jankovic have emerged unscathed to set up an enticing quarter-final showdown in Doha. Their routes through the draw could not have been any different. Jankovic has lost just 5 games and spent 2 hours and 13 minutes on court (in singles action) meanwhile Kvitova has played consecutive three setters and spent 4 hours and 57 minutes on court. Whatever you say about Petra’s streakiness, you have to commend her determination to come through two tough matches having not played competitively for nearly a month. On Wednesday, she beat Venus Williams in a fantastic match, 6-2 2-6 7-6(7) that peaked in a tremendously contested third set. On Thursday, she defeated fellow Czech player, Lucie Safarova, 7-6(2) 5-7 6-2.
Jankovic strolled past Karin Knapp and Alisa Kleybanova in her first two matches, but will face a much sterner challenge against Kvitova. She did win their last match in Beijing at the end of 2013 although Kvitova, both mentally and physically, had hit a brick wall after an excellent run to the final in Tokyo the week before. A peak Kvitova will win this in straight sets, but anything less and Jankovic is right in this match. Serving better than ever and getting plenty of balls back, she has the ability to frustrate Kvitova. I really do like both players, but on this occasion, I think it will be JJ who sneaks into the semi-finals.
Prediction: Jankovic to beat Kvitova in 3 sets
2. Andy Murray v Marin Cilic (ATP Rotterdam, QF)
Rotterdam has a stacked quarter-final line-up with Juan Martin del Potro against Ernests Gulbis and Tomas Berdych against Jerzy Janowicz both set to be top matches. The match of the day though will feature Andy Murray against a man in form, Marin Cilic. The Croatian world number 37 has won his last seven matches, which included winning his fourth title in Zagreb last week. Cilic did not lose a set on his way to the title, which saw him beat Ivan Dodig and Tommy Haas. He has continued that form into Rotterdam where his best win of the year came over a disappointing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-4 6-4 in the second round. The match featured a strange moment at the end when Tsonga stopped playing during a match point after a loud noise in the crowd. Cilic sportingly seemed to accept the point being replayed, but was still able to get the job done in straight sets.
Murray struggled in his second round match, dropping a set to Dominic Thiem. It was a brilliant performance from Thiem, who hit 19 winners during a wonderful second set, but Murray did struggle at times. For sure, he will be given a tough test against an in-form Cilic. Confidence is one thing, but beating Murray is a whole new step up. Cilic has lost his last six matches against Murray including a loss at the 2012 US Open where Cilic was cruising to a two sets to love lead before completely crumbling. I think the Croatian will start out on top, but if the finish line does come into sight, I will be surprised if he can actually cross it.
Prediction: Murray to beat Cilic in 3 sets
WTA Doha Quarter-Final Predictions:
Angelique Kerber to beat Petra Cetkovska in 2 tight sets
Simona Halep to beat Sara Errani in 3 sets
Agnieszka Radwanska to beat Yanina Wickmayer in 2 sets
ATP Rotterdam Quarter-Final Predictions:
Juan Martin del Potro to beat Ernests Gulbis in 2 very tight sets
Tomas Berdych to beat Jerzy Janowicz in 3 sets