Week 7 WTA / ATP Review: Halep wins Doha, Berdych claims first title since 2012

After an awful day of predictions for Saturday, I correctly predicted the winners in both finals from Doha and Rotterdam! Simona Halep won the Doha title beating Angelique Kerber, meanwhile Tomas Berdych was triumphant in Rotterdam.  It is worth noting that there were ATP events in Memphis and Buenos Aires this week, but with the sheer volume of tennis, I have just focused on Doha and Rotterdam.

WTA Doha: Simona Halep d. Angelique Kerber, 6-2 6-3 (F)

Simona Halep claimed her seventh and biggest title of her career, defeating Angelique Kerber in the 66-minute final.  A year ago, Halep hadn’t won a title, but she now has seven to her name in what has been a quite remarkable breakthrough.  Halep’s brand of tennis is different from many of the current top ten, but it so refreshing to see her play with such smart tactics.  I have been a little concerned about her mentality as there have been some matches that have got away from her.  This week, there were no such problems for Halep, who edged out of a tough second round battle against Kaia Kanepi where the Estonian player served for the match in the third set.  However Halep fought back to win that match and didn’t drop another set on her way to the title as she added three more top ten wins to her name.  Kerber has been extremely consistent this year and deserves her place in the top ten, but right now, she needs to find an extra gear in these types of matches if she is to improve her ranking further.

Highlights from Tennis World of the second set of Halep’s win over Radwanska in the semi-finals

This year’s edition of Doha fell way short of last year’s terrific tournament.  Crowds were extremely poor as is always the case in Doha and the long list of withdrawals may have been a reason for that.  There were some notable matches in the draw, but generally speaking, this tournament will not be one that is remembered at the end of the year.  The best match of the tournament was Petra Kvitova‘s victory over Venus Williams in the second round.  The first two sets were a little scrappy, but the third set was a stirring contest featuring some stunning rallies and plenty of twists and turns.  Unlike there last encounter in Tokyo, which finished with a lacklustre tiebreak, the pair played the best tennis of the match at its conclusion.  The the third set featured the highest quality tennis I have seen on the WTA tour in 2014.

In other news, Li Na lost her first match of the year to Petra Cetkovska in the third round.  Although it did come as a big shock, particularly with Cetkovska showing tremendous resolve to serve it out, it wasn’t a worrying loss for Li.  She has skipped Doha for the last couple of years and it is not a tournament she has ever done particularly well.  On a more positive note, this was a good tournament for Yanina Wickmayer, who reached the quarter-finals.  She secured wins over Caroline Wozniacki and Andrea Petkovic, and it was nice to see her string some wins together after a barren run of form.

Best matches of the week: Kvitova d. V.Williams, 6-2 2-6 7-6(7) (R2) and Halep d. Kanepi, 6-3 3-6 7-6(5) (R2)

Moo’s Original Predictions: I was doing reasonably well until my two finalists, Jankovic and Radwanska both fell in the semi-finals.  I correctly predicted 4 quarter-finalists and had 45% correct picks throughout the whole draw.

ATP Rotterdam: Tomas Berdych d. Marin Cilic, 6-4 6-2 (F)

Berdych

Tomas Berdych

Tomas Berdych won his first ATP title since 2012 in Stockholm as he defeated Marin Cilic to halt the Croatian’s nine match winning streak.  This has been a really super week for Berdych, who had gone into the ATP World Tour Finals last year as the only man to not have won a title in that year.  Berdych’s talent has always been there, but it has been between the ears that is the main concern.  At the beginning of the year, I really wasn’t expecting much from him in 2014, but he has made a very impressive start to the season.  Cilic has had a great two weeks and with all these matches under his belt, looks well and truly back to his best after the drugs ban.  Until he gets his ranking up further, he will remain a lurking threat in many of the upcoming draws.

Aside from the final, this was a rare good week for Igor Sijsling.  Playing in front of his home crowd, Sijsling had only won one ATP main draw match this year, but quadrupled that number to four with three excellent victories in Rotterdam.  Ernests Gulbis claimed two sizeable scalps in Grigor Dimitrov and Juan Martin del Potro, and after two good weeks with a semi-final appearance in Montpellier and a quarter-final appearance in Rotterdam, I remain confident that Jerzy Janowicz is going to do great things this year once fully fit.  I managed to watch some of the matches through the first half of the week and found this to be a thoroughly entertaining tournament and wish there were more indoor events!

Best matches of the week: Janowicz d. Benneteau, 3-6 6-4 6-4 (R1), Dimitrov d. Tursunov, 6-2 1-6 6-4 (R1) and Murray d. Thiem, 6-4 3-6 6-3 (R2)

Moo’s Original Predictions: This was a poor tournament for my predictions with just 48% correct picks and only 1 correct semi-finalist.  On a more positive note, I did much better for Memphis and Buenos Aires!

You can catch up on all my previous predictions frm 2014 by entering my prediction archive page HERE.  A preview for next week’s WTA event in Dubai will be released later on Sunday.

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