WTA Doha, ATP Rotterdam Finals Preview: Halep v Kerber, Cilic v Berdych

The straight set matches continued in Doha on Saturday although both semi-finals certainly had their moments.  In Rotterdam, Marin Cilic stretched his winning streak to nine matches.  Here are some previews to the finals in Doha and Rotterdam on Sunday.

1. Angelique Kerber v Simona Halep (WTA Doha, F)

Kerber

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber continued her dominant run through the Doha draw as she won her fourth match in a row in straight sets.  She defeated Jelena Jankovic, 6-1 7-6(6) in the first of Saturday’s semi-finals.  In my opinion, it was somewhat of a surprise after Jankovic had won their last match in Brisbane at the start of the season, 6-1 in the third set.  Kerber now takes on Simona Halep, who enjoyed a superb win over Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals, 7-5 6-2, rallying from 5-2 down in the first set.

Although Halep reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, I never thought she was playing that well to be honest.  In Doha and particularly in her last two matches, she has demonstrated the peak form that saw her win six titles in 2013.  Although Halep’s best wins came against Radwanska and Sara Errani in the quarter-finals, it was a second round win over Kaia Kanepi that seemed to give her the confidence to power through this week.  Kanepi served for the match in that second round tie, but Halep dug deep to come through in a third set tiebreak.

The head-to-head is irrelevant for this final with their only ever encounter coming in 2009.  Kerber has felt a bit like the bridesmaid of women’s tennis this year as she has been very consistent, but yet to take home any titles or really dominate the headlines.  Her form has been great this week, but Halep holds the edge for me.

Prediction: Halep to beat Kerber in 2 tight sets

2. Tomas Berdych v Marin Cilic (ATP Rotterdam, F)

I had a rush of blood to the head in my prediction that Ernests Gulbis would beat Tomas Berdych, but in beating both Grigor Dimitrov and Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets, I felt it was worth taking the risk.  Berdych came through against Gulbis, 6-3 6-2 and will play Marin Cilic in the final.  The Croatian player, who took out Andy Murray in the quarter-finals, lost the opening set of his semi-final to Igor Sijsling, before coming through in three sets, 5-7 6-3 6-2.  Berdych leads the head-to-head by 4 wins to 2 although Cilic who won their last encounter at Queens in 2013.  This is a really tough one to call because I would class Berdych as the more consistent player, but Cilic, definitely as the in-form player.  It is worth noting that Berdych hasn’t won a title since Stockholm in 2012.  Still, I am going for the Berd to halt Cilic’s supreme winning run.

Prediction: Berdych to beat Cilic in 3 sets

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