WTA Roland Garros, Day 11 Quarter-Final Preview: Halep v Kuznetsova and Errani v Petkovic

The first duo of womens quarter-finals saw Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard confirm their places in the 2014 French Open semi-finals.  Both matches sounded really entertaining and a great advertisement for the womens game.  Sharapova was taken to three sets again, but as she almost always does, found a way past Garbine Muguruza, 1-6 7-5 6-1.  Bouchard edged out Carla Suarez Navarro, 7-6(4) 2-6 7-5 in the other quarter-final.  Genie’s greatest quality is her ability to hold her nerve better than most.  I’m SHOCKED that Kuznetsova v Halep has been dumped on Suzanne Lenglen.  The only reason I can think of is that Errani hasn’t played on Chatrier yet…

Poll Results: 67% correctly went for Sharapova to beat Muguruza and 66% correctly went for Bouchard to beat Suarez Navarro

TFF Dream Team Update: The top three hasn’t changed since yesterday; BK is 1st, Wild Briar Village in 2nd and Alice in 3rd place

1. Svetlana Kuznetsova v Simona Halep

Kuznetsova

Svetlana Kuznetsova

In the most fascinating of the womens quarter-finals, world number four Simona Halep will take on former Roland Garros champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova.  This match has all the ingredients to be a real thriller.  Both players have been in great form and would probably class clay as their favourite surface  Halep had a tough 4th round match in store against Sloane Stephens; it wasn’t a perfect performance, but she raised her level at the crucial juncture of both sets to progress in straights, 6-4 6-3.  As the majority of top eight seeds have fallen around her, Halep has looked in complete control of her game.  It is rather staggering that Halep’s best performance at Roland Garros before this year was a second round appearance in 2011.

Kuznetsova defeated Lucie Safarova, 6-3 6-4 in a high quality match on court one.  The Russian player was in terrific form, absorbing Safarova’s pace and defending impeccably.  You can read my thoughts on that match HERE.  It was a really superb performance, which came just two days after an extra time win over Petra Kvitova in arguably the best womens match of the tournament so far.  Kuznetsova played her best tennis of 2013 at Roland Garros and has done so again in 2014.  In 2013 she played Serena Williams and lost in in three sets.  Once again, she plays the highest seeded player left in the tournament in the quarter-finals.

Kuznetsova and Halep are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head.  Halep thrashed Kuznetsova in Rome last year, 6-1 6-1, but Kuznetsova gained revenge with a victory in Stuttgart, 7-5 7-6(4).  I watched that match and it was a good watch.  Halep had a big lead in the first set, but was unable to serve it out.  Kuznetsova played a great match, but it was very early in the clay court season and by Halep’s own admissions, she hadn’t found her feet on this surface yet.  I can’t wait for this match.  I won’t be able to watch it, but I AM STILL EXCITED! Kuznetsova has more experience at this level, but Halep is a much cooler customer on court and is likely to be the more focused player if things get tight.  Impossible to call.  Good match, ladies…

Prediction: Halep d. Kuznetsova in 3 sets

2. Sara Errani v Andrea Petkovic

Petkovic

Andrea Petkovic

Andrea Petkovic‘s route through the draw has been pretty comical.  This fortnight, Petkovic has beaten the world’s #71, #97, #103 and #148.  But, you know what? She deserves it ALL and MORE.  Petkovic has been to the brink with a long list of injuries.  It’s a miracle she has made it through the past year without any serious injuries and I am delighted for her.  Petkovic hasn’t looked at her flowing best this week and I did read she has been suffering from a stomach virus.

For the second match in a row, Petko was pushed deep into a third set.  Once again, she survived against a Kiki.  In the fourth round, she defeated Kiki Bertens, 1-6 6-2 7-5 in two hours and 3 minutes.  Petko now plays Sara Errani, who defeated Jelena Jankovic for the third consecutive time.  I listened to much of the match on RG radio and it didn’t sound good.

Errani does deserve a huge amount of respect for what she can do on clay.  I am not going to lie and say that I am a fan.  Against less powerful players, she can get away with her puffball serve because they cannot seem to generate pace against her and Errani’s remarkable defence coupled with variety is a demon to break down on clay.  Errani played Petkovic earlier this year in Madrid and it was the Italian who prevailed, 7-5 6-1.  Petkovic is going to have to be incredibly patient if she has even a chance of prevailing from this one.  The favourite has to be Sara.

Prediction: Errani d. Petkovic in 2 sets

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