WTA Doha Final Preview: Lucie Safarova v Victoria Azarenka

SafarovaLUCIE’S IN THE FINAL! WOOOOOOOO… And back to planet Earth.  Lucie Safarova reached her first WTA final since Quebec City in 2013 with another superb display to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in the semi-finals, 6-3 6-2.  Safarova has been in terrific form this week and picked up right where she left off from in her quarter-final win against Andrea Petkovic.  It’s such a joy to see Lucie playing like this. When she’s feeling confident and has belief in what she is doing, Lucie can be llethal.

In the second of the semi-finals, Victoria Azarenka earnt her first win over Venus Williams in a superb match. Azarenka came from a set down and held off a surging Venus to prevail, 2-6 6-2 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes. Venus was imperious in the first set and in complete contrast to the match she played just a few days ago against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Venus was extremely sharp and played with such intensity as Vika’s serve, particularly the second serve, let her down in the first set.

Azarenka looked to be struggling with a leg injury, which she was stretching out at the end of the first set. She didn’t back off though and adapted well as she became more aggressive on the return and made more net approaches. What was so great about this match is that it was Vika who found a way back into the match by playing awesome tennis as opposed to Venus’s level dropping off significantly. Vika won nine games in a row to win the second set and go up 4-0 in the decider. Vika has looked so assured at the net in many of her matches this year and she seems to be implementing this tactic much more.  She won 20 of 23 points at the net in the last two sets.  Her backhand slice is also working well; I loveeedddd the point she played to save a game point at 2-0* up in the decider when she she played the backhand slice deep into the corner before unleashing a backhand winner. Venus threatened a comeback as she closed the gap from 1-5 to 4-5, but Vika stood tall with some solid serving in the final game to secure her best win of the year so far.

Vika had lost quite a few tight three setters in the last year, but this felt like a statement win, particularly as she had never beaten Venus before. The final against Lucie promises to be a fascinating encounter. Vika leads the head-to-head 6-0 (EEK) with all their matches taking place between 2007 and 2011.  Azarenka won five of those in straight sets, but Lucie did get a set in their last encounter in Madrid in 2011.  Vika won that match, 6-3 3-6 6-2.

I’m really finding this a tough one to call, mainly because of my strong allegiance to Lucie.  Both players have been excellent this week and I honestly believe it will be a high quality final. Safarova is showing more belief than I’ve ever seen from her on a tennis court and I think the doubles win in Melbourne has really spurred her on.  Both players have secured four top 30 wins this week. You all KNOW I’ll be rooting for Lucie and this is such a huge achievement to reach a Premier final, her first since Charleston in 2012. However, I have to be honest with my prediction and say that I think Vika will *just* edge it.  I hope i’m wrong.  I really do! Come on Lucie prove me wrong!! 😀

Prediction: Azarenka d. Safarova in 3 tight sets

@Mc_Mooo on Twitter is putting together a fanbook for Lucie in time for the French Open and we need your help!   It would be really great to get as many Lucie fans involved as possible and it won’t take much time at all.  All you need to do is click HERE to upload your message for Lucie.

16 thoughts on “WTA Doha Final Preview: Lucie Safarova v Victoria Azarenka

  1. whoever wins this tourney, my heart goes to venus. win is win but vika would have lost to a fit venus. venus is such a great champion. lucie may be a bad match up to vika. however, if she did watch the first set of vika’s sf match she might be able to figured out some tips to win. nothing is impossible since the decider of the final is based on concurrent performance of a particular player who can peak at the right time, and good thing is lucie hasn’t peaked in this tournament yet. she can call a short here.

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    • I like watching Venus play, but I find her a tad overrated if I’m honest. Her game is magic when it all works, but she rarely ever keeps that intensity for a whole match. She’s quite a lot like Kvitova. In fact, I’d argue Petra is more even… and it’s not the illness because she’s always been that way.

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      • Not true at all. Venus and Petra are different styles. Venus is a very competitive player therefore she keeps the intensity very high. Check it out all the Vika videos even she lost her intensity also very high. Top players possess this kind of quality therefore they win Grand Slams. What do you expect someone to win without intensity? And someone who won 7 slams, Olympics gold (doubles) and multiple tour titles, you call her overrated…..personal taste I think!! LOL!

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      • Five of those seven slams were grass. And she’s not playing on grass now.
        I’m not saying Azarenka is better. To tell the truth I usually avoid watching Vika because of the ridiculous noise she makes when she plays. I just think Venus doesn’t deserve to be called a GOAT and for some reason she does. The reason she used to win so many titles came down to her being too strong and hitting too quick for other woman to handle.

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      • She ain’t overrated. She’s a 34 yr old women with syndrome and she’s still winning titles and this yr going deep in slams. When you watch her classicstyle you realise how great she was. Sharapovas the meaning of overrated mate

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  2. I said Azarenka from the start and I’ll stick with her. BUT Lucie could definitely win IF she serves better than Vika does. She has the better serve when it fires, but I think nerves will stop it from doing.

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      • Why are you being aggressive towards me? I’m backing Azarenka and I clearly wrote nerves will be Safarova’s undoing. All I said is that she has weapons to win, if she can keep herself calm enough to use them properly.
        An opinion can’t be wrong.

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  3. I’m predicting safarova to win this based on the stats in comparison to azarenka. The leg stretching and discomfort for aza could be a factor or not could be pumped with pain killers massage wateva. I think safa maybe even possibly in 2 tight sets

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  4. Why it seems to be that this blog is very partisian towards Lucie Safarova.Why is so?Why her winnings have been written in more extensive way than others.If you are so obsessed with her why the fuck be biased.For me the real guts come when you are in real pressure.She always feels nerves in big matches and today will be no different.

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    • What an adorable comment. I’m a fan of Lucie and i’m not going to hide that on this blog. I want Lucie to win the final, but I have to be honest with my prediction that I think Vika will just edge it. I think as a fan, I almost feel more pessimistic (if that makes sense) because i’ve seen quite a few matches where Lucie has been affected by nerves. She’s been great all week and i’m hoping she can keep it together and go all the way, and prove me wrong.

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      • Agreed. I’m an enormous Kuznetsova fan (she may be my favourite player on tour in terms of personality and second to Serena based on raw talent) but I’m realistic and well aware of all her shortcomings. I’m pleased you (James) are the same with Safarova.

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  5. Along with my prediction (comment on previous article) Lucie had a quick victory.
    Good news for you, Moomoo. 🙂
    And MaSha had to retire in Acapulco final… which gives Caroline Garcia her first victory in a WTA tournament.
    Hope Maria will be ok very fast.

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    • Congrats on the correct prediction 🙂

      Writing off Bacsinszky?! I think Garcia will win the title in Acapulco, but Timea is playing great this year. Also, it will be Garcia’s 2nd WTA win after Bogota last year.

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  6. I had forgotten MaSha/Caro Garcia was a semi-final because we were talking about Lucie’s final…. TImea Baczinski won in two easy sets 6/3 6/0. Too bad for Caro Garcia.

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