WTA Beijing, Semi-Finals Preview: Sharapova v Ivanovic, Kvitova v Stosur

Quarter-finals day in Beijing was hit with another walkover as unsurprisingly, Serena Williams was forced to pull out of Beijing before her quarter-final match with Sam Stosur was set to begin.  Courtney Nguyen tweeted last night that Serena had not held a press match conference to treat swelling of her knee.  Fingers crossed that Serena will be fully fit to compete in Singapore.  The line-up is great but there will be concerns about the health of Serena and Simona too.  Beijing semi-finals look enticing, i’d love to know your thoughts on Sharapova v Ivanovic!

Poll Results: 87% correctly predicted that Kvitova would beat Vinci and 74% correctly predicted that Sharapova would beat Kuznetsova

1. Maria Sharapova v Ana Ivanovic (WTA Beijing, SF)

2014_08_13  W&S Tennis Wednesday Ana Ivanovic-2

Photo by Omar Boraby

A much anticipated  match-up between Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic will have the star billing in Beijing on Saturday.  In one of the most dramatic and entertaining WTA matches of 2014, Ivanovic saved match points to defeat Sharapova in the semi-finals of Cincy earlier this year, 6-2 5-7 7-5.  The big talking point from this match was when Ivanovic took a MTO during a game, which angered Sharapova.  It was great entertainment, but personally, it wasn’t a match that I particularly enjoyed and I don’t think either player came out of it favourably.

Sharapova hasn’t dropped a set this week and has looked much sharper this week, defeating Kaia Kanepi, Elina Svitolina, Carla Suarez Navarro and Svetlana Kuznetsova.  It was the second time in two weeks that Sharapova beat Kuznetsova and on this occasion, it was much more straightforward, 6-0 6-4 although Sharapova did have to come from a break down in the second set.  Ivanovic got a walkover from Simona Halep in the quarter-finals.  Wins over Belinda Bencic, Romina Oprandi and Sabine Lisicki were enough to book her place in the last four.  Ivanovic leads the way with 55 match wins in 2014… who could have predicted that at the start of this year?!

This will be a fascinating match tennis-wise although much of the attention will probably be focused on the handshake.  In the last two tournaments, Ivanovic has become much more vocal again.  If she continues to “ajde” after every point, this will be interesting! I felt that in their last match-up, Ivanovic got into Sharapova’s head a little.  It’s not something that happens often, but she definitely riled the Russian player, who will be eager and motivated to gain revenge.  Originally, I went for Ivanovic, but Sharapova’s playing much better this week and it’s hard to imagine she will let this one go without a fight.  I’m torn…

Prediction: Sharapova d. Ivanovic in 3 sets

2. Petra Kvitova v Sam Stosur (WTA Beijing, SF)

Stosur

Petra Kvitova secured another straight sets win on Friday as she defeated Roberta Vinci, 7-6(2) 6-4.  The scoreline masked that this was a struggle; Kvitova trailed 1-5 in the first set and was a break down in the second set too.  It took the Czech player a while to find her rhythm, which she found towards the end of the first set.  Vinci served for the first set twice, but was unable to close it out.  I felt bad for the Italian player, who has had a great week and desperately needed a big win like this for her confidence.  Kvitova continues her winning streak, having won Wuhan last week and will play Sam Stosur in the semi-finals.

Stosur benefited from a walkover in the quarters, but has had some great results this week.  A first top ten win in 2014 against Caroline Wozniacki, where she saved a string of set points in the second set tiebreak, was an encouraging result.  The most impressive thing she has done this week was being able to back up that win.  She recovered from an early break down in the first set to defeat Alize Cornet in straight sets.  Kvitova won their last match in New Haven very comfortably, 6-3 6-1.  Petra has won six of their seven encounters with Stosur prevailing on clay in Rome last year.  Tiredness could be a factor, but I do think Petra will be good value for the win.

Prediction: Kvitova d. Stosur in 2 sets

ATP Beijing Semi-Final Predictions

Novak Djokovic d. Andy Murray in 3 sets

Tomas Berdych d. Martin Klizan in 2 sets

ATP Tokyo Semi-Final Predictions

Milos Raonic d. Gilles Simon in 3 sets

Kei Nishikori d. Benny Becker in 2 sets

10 thoughts on “WTA Beijing, Semi-Finals Preview: Sharapova v Ivanovic, Kvitova v Stosur

      • I’d rather see Kvitova and Sharapova and then Kvitova finishing the Wuhan – Beijing double. I’ll probably miss Ivanovic vs Sharapova tomorrow….what a shame. Definitely the two players I like the less… but that doesn’t mean I’m eager to watch it 😀 could be some big hitting and drama there. I think Sharapova will win for revenge reasons and because she’s still pissed off Ana’s blood pressure checking times 😀

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  1. I HATE that people get pissy over Ana taking that MTO when she was very clearly unwell…but they gloss over Maria taking a ten minute comfort break after losing a set in the same match…something she does quite frequently in addition to taking double the acceptable time between points/serves.

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    • I didn’t say I’m pissed off….I liked the drama in that match. And yes I agree with what you say about Sharapova. Still remember the RG final against Halep. She clearly tried to take advantage of the fact that Halep could be nervous and needed extra long time to serve….

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      • I wasn’t just directing at you…sorry if it seemed that way! Every site that discusses the upcoming match mentions the MTO but fails to mention Sharapova taking just as long on her comfort break.
        Ana’s fist pumping gets bad press but at the end of the day she’s only trying to kick herself into gear. Maria intentionally slows matches to pull her opponents out of a rhythm and screeches in a bid to intimidate other players. There’s a reason that no players speak kindly of her (aside from Djokovic who shares a sponsor with her).

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    • And I HATE disingenuous ‘Ancitards’ (see what I did there?). Ana took her own ‘comfort break’ after the set SHE lost. Why didn’t she see to her health issues then, instead of waiting 15 minutes to disrupt her opponent’s service game? Besides, she complained of ‘stomache pain’ as the excuse, when it’s clear she has anxiety issues, so she’s a liar, as well. She could (should) have taken the MTO between games, instead of exhibiting the poor gamesmanship you constantly accuse Maria of.

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  2. I like Ivanovic here only because both are playing at the top of their games. Maria tends to take more chances and make mistakes. And I think that may cost her against Ana again.

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  3. You attribute too much of premeditated vile to Sharapova LOL. I think she’s slow between points on her serve because it’s so unpredictable. When you double fault like 10 times in a match, you won’t want to hurry yourself. And screeching to intimidate other players? Please, this is stupid LOL. People should really get over Sharapova’s shrieking, as it’s getting really old. She’s been doing it for a decade and not about to stop.
    As to being not very nice, she is Russian and they’re not nice. I grew up with Russians in a former Soviet country and moved to Canada when I was 30. Sometimes Canadians drive me nuts, so I feel like punching them in their smiling face LOL. Like when I had a manager who sat and smiled at me for 2 years, while all her job got dumped on me. And everybody in the office kept gushing about how nice she was while I was getting less pleasant with each day. Does that make her a good person and me bad? You don’t know any of these professional athletes and what they are really like.

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    • Let’s not pretend it’s just me saying these things. Even commentators who like and admire her will admit she drags out points in order to have matches play HER way. She should be pulled up on time violations, end of.
      Sharapova’s scream isn’t remotely how grunting from exertion sounds like. The only possible explanation for why she does it is that she wants to distract and intimidate opponents.
      As for her being unfriendly because she’s Russian: LOL. She was seven when she moved to the States. Besides…Kuznetsova is one of the most popular players on tour.

      I will admit that she did play great today. And Ana played abysmally!

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