Another set of tournaments is already on the horizon for next week. On the WTA side, there is just one International event in Baku
, meanwhile the ATP has three tournaments. The US Open Series kicks off in Atlanta and two more clay court events will take place in Gstaad, Switzerland and Umag, Croatia. It’s now time for a sweep… Here are some short and snappy thoughts for Saturday’s six semi-finals in Hamburg, Bastad and Istanbul.
1. Ana Konjuh v Roberta Vinci (WTA Istanbul, SF)
The list of promising talents on the WTA tour is just endless. Ana Konjuh is part of what I would define as the next, next generation behind the likes of Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens and if anything, they are showing more promise than the ones breaking through right now. Konjuh defeated Elina Svitolina, 6-4 1-6 6-1 in the quarter-finals. Konjuh takes on Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals, who she defeated in Auckland in the very first week of the year and Konjuh’s very first WTA main draw match… remember?! On Friday, Vinci was in scintilating form to beat Kurumi Nara in the quarter-finals, 6-0 6-2. She defended impeccably on the backhand side and hit plenty of winners with her flowing forehand. If Vinci plays like she did against Nara, I think she is the favourite to win the title.
Prediction: Vinci d. Konjuh in 2 sets
2. Caroline Wozniacki v Kristina Mladenovic (WTA Istanbul, SF)
Kristina Mladenovic has had a really impressve run in Istanbul after struggling to string wins together on the tour for much of 2014. She came through a nail-biting quarter-final with Francesca Schiavone, 3-6 6-3 7-5. Next up for Kiki is Caroline Wozniacki who defeated Karolina Pliskova for the third consecutive time in three sets, 6-1 3-6 6-2. Despite losing the second set, Caroline played a very solid match and was a great front runner in the decider, never looking in trouble on serve and closing the match out with confidence and convinction. I really like the way Caroline is playing right now…
Prediction: Wozniacki d. Mladenovic in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
3. Mona Barthel v Silvia Soler-Espinosa (WTA Bastad, SF)
Hallelujah! Mona Barthel hung for a straight sets win over Kaia Kanepi to reach her first semi-final of the year. She takes on Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the last four; SSE has had some brilliant results on the clay this year. She reached the final of Strasbourg, coming through as a qualifier and winning seven matches. She also reached the third round of the French Open. I’d love, love, LOVE to see Mona win this, but SSE is a grinder on clay and could be a nightmare opponent for Mona, who is likely to get nervous if she gets in a winning position. I’m aware I said that the winner of Mona-Kaia would be my tip to win but heyyy i’m changing my mind.
Prediction: Soler-Espinosa d. Barthel in 3 sets
4. Jana Cepelova v Chanelle Scheepers (WTA Bastad, SF)
It’s lovely to see Jana Cepelova winning matches again. After reaching the final of Charleston, it took until the first round of Bastad for her to record another WTA main draw win. Now she has three this week and i’d take her to win this one. This is bound to be a very tight match. Scheepers has been playing well lately and I could see it going very deep into a third set.
Prediction: Cepelova d. Scheepers in 3 sets
5. David Ferrer v Alexander Zverev (ATP Hamburg, SF)
I sound like a broken record… Alexander Zverev delivered another fantastic performance on Friday to win another ATP main draw match and reach his first ever semi-final. He is breaking new barriers every day and Friday’s win wasn’t his most impressive tennis although he showed great guts and determination to defeat Tobias Kamke, 0-6 7-5 6-3. Zverev’s reward is a shot at a top ten player in David Ferrer. The Spaniard played his best match of the week in Hamburg, defeating Pablo Andujar, 6-0 6-2. Zverev has had a truly terrific week; however Ferrer looks dialled in and this is likely to be one step too far for Zverev, both physically and mentally.
Prediction: Ferrer d. Zverev in 2 sets
6. Philipp Kohlschreiber v Leonardo Mayer (ATP Hamburg, SF)
Leonardo Mayer may be a surprise name in the final four in Hamburg, but his recent form has been pretty jazzy. Mayr reached the quarter-finals of Oeiras and Nice during the clay court season and then made the second week at Wimbledon. Up against Philipp Kohlschreiber, who has had great success at home, he faces his toughest match of the week so far.
Prediction: Kohlschreiber d. Mayer in 2 tight sets