Away from Stuttgart, there is plenty of tennis going on this week, which I just haven’t had time to keep up with. In Barcelona, Nicolas Almagro was unable to back up his quarter-final win over Rafael Nadal as he was beaten by Santiago Giraldo, who will play Kei Nishikori in the final. In Bucharest, Grigor Dimitrov will meet the defending champion, Lukas Rosol in the final. In Marrakech, Garbine Muguruza halted her current losing streak in reaching the semi-finals, but was comprehensively outplayed by Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor. The Spaniard will play the returning-from-injury, Romina Oprandi in the final.
I’ve always loved Stuttgart, but this year’s edition has been extra special. There have been some brilliant matches every day and the final, which will be contested between Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic, has the potential to finish 2014 Stuttgart with a bang. Maria Sharapova was first into the final as she continued her complete and utter domination of Sara Errani. By virtue of a 6-1 6-2 victory, Sharapova ensured that she will stay in the top ten, at least for another week.
In a hotly anticipated second semi-final, an all-Serbian affair, Ivanovic triumphed over Jelena Jankovic, 6-3 7-5. In yesterday’s poll, 66% of Moo’s Tennis Blog readers correctly went for Ivanovic to prevail. This was her 10th victory over Jankovic in 13 clashes and she continues to look super solid in 2014. I posted yesterday about her excellent stats in three set matches. There’s no doubt that Ivanovic has mentally, shored up her game this year, particularly in the key moments of big matches. She hasn’t look quite so fraught and eager to deliver an “ajde” after every point. Winning that title in Auckland has really set her on the way to rediscovering her best form.
Sharapova owns Ivanovic in their head-to-head, winning 7 of 9 previous matches. The only time that Ivanovic actually finished off a win over Sharapova came in the 2007 edition of Roland Garros. Sharapova will be the heavy favourite to win this match. She’s never lost a match in Stuttgart and has played her best tennis of 2014 in her quarter-final and semi-final matches. However, Ivanovic should not been written off in this one. She’s been extremely clinical this week and has been racking up the wins this year, posting seven more than Sharapova in 2014 so far. I’m going for Sharapova to win this title, but I really think this will be a very close match and I won’t be surprised at all if Ivanovic triumphs.
Prediction: Sharapova d. Ivanovic in 3 tight sets
ATP Barcelona Final Prediction:
Kei Nishikori d. Santiago Giraldo in 2 sets
ATP Bucharest Final Prediction:
Grigor Dimitrov d. Lukas Rosol in 3 sets
WTA Marrakech Final Prediction:
Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor d. Romina Oprandi in 3 sets