WTA Miami, Quarter-Finals Preview: S.Williams v Lisicki, Halep v Stephens

1. Serena Williams v Sabine Lisicki (Miami, QF)

LisickiA Wimbledon rematch is on the cards on Wednesday as Serena Williams will take on Sabine Lisicki in the quarter-finals of the Miami Open.  Their last match saw Lisicki stun the world number one in last 16 action at SW19.  Lisicki prevailed for the biggest win of her career, 6-2 1-6 6-4, and en route to reaching the Wimbledon final.  Lisicki’s year has rather suddenly turned her year around; Lisicki won just one out of seven matches through the first two months of the season and came into Indian Wells off the back of a straight sets loss to Alexandra Dulgheru in Kuala Lumpur.  I still remember reading the dejected tweets from Sabine fans on Twitter.  However, the German player has had a terrific March with back-to-back quarter-final appearances in Indian Wells and Miami.

Lisicki reached the semi-finals of Indian Wells, saving match points in her quarter-final against Flavia Pennetta before falling in three sets to Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals.  Her most recent performance in Miami was something special.  Lisicki dismantled Sara Errani, 6-1 6-2 in just 57 minutes.  Lisicki was hitting tons of winners and playing with so much confidence.  It really was a sight to behold to see Sabine PEAKING away from the grass.  She’s very much a confidence player that also drives off an atmosphere.  She has always struggled to string it all together with inconsistency and injuries getting in the way.  I’m still not convinced whether she can carry this form into her next tournaments, but it’s a start! Serena produced her best performance of the week in the last 16 with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova.  Kuznetsova played well, but Serena was just too good in this match.  I liked their exchange at the net…

In their only other completed match apart from Wimbledon, Serena won in Stanford in 2011.  Lisicki is one of the few players who I believe has that ability to find another level and therefore, actually beat Serena.  In equal measures, Lisicki could also just not turn up, miss the court entirely and sink without trace.  I’d actually fancy Sabine to get a set in this one.  She was so positive in her match against Errani and that confidence should feed into this quarter-final.  Serena was superb against Kuznetsova though and she’s still my tip for the title.

Prediction: S.Williams d. Lisicki in 3 sets

2. Simona Halep v Sloane Stephens (Miami, QF)

StephensThe Indian Wells-Miami double is still on for Simona Halep, who defeated Flavia Pennetta in the fourth round, 6-3 7-5.  Halep won the last five games of the match to seal her 13th consecutive win in one hour and 31 minutes.  In a Bouchard-less section that has seen a number of surprise results, Sloane Stephens has emerged.  Stephens hung on for a straight sets win over Belinda Bencic, 6-4 7-6(5) in what was a thrilling match.  The first set was super quality and the best i’ve seen in Miami (i’d even stretch as far to say one of the best sets i’ve watched all year).  I’m looking forward to catching up with the second set.  This is the best tennis i’ve seen Sloane play and I think her partnership with Nick Saviano is magic.  He’s great with her on the changeovers and his advice seems to be being taken on board by Sloane.  Despite the results, I wasn’t convinced by Saviano’s partnership with Bouchard but in my opinion, this one works.  Halep and Stephens are tied at 2-2 in the head-to-head; Halep won their most recent match at the French Open last year, 6-4 6-3.  I’ve been so impressed with Sloane this week, but Simona is on a rampant run of form right now…

Prediction: Halep d. Stephens in 2 tight sets

Poll results: 41% of readers correctly predicted that Petkovic would beat Makarova, 72% correctly predicted that V.Williams would beat Wozniacki, 65% correctly predicted that Suarez Navarro would beat Radwanska, 64% correctly predicted that Pliskova would beat Gavrilova, 75% correctly predicted that Halep would beat Pennetta and 62% correctly predicted that Stephens would beat Bencic

34 thoughts on “WTA Miami, Quarter-Finals Preview: S.Williams v Lisicki, Halep v Stephens

  1. I cant see how Serena could lose this one. She was near flawless against Kuznetsova, who was actually playing some of her best tennis in quite a long while. She’s bound to be gearing for revenge. And Lisicki can’t depend on an attackable second serve here, which is what got her wins over Errani and Ivanovic.


    • I think Serena had a feeling that she needed to conserve energy for a potential Lisicki match. I think that’s why she was very serious against Kuznetsova because against Kuznetsova you have to be serious. I think Serena vs Lisicki will either be a very tight match or a dud.


  2. I think you’ve beautifully summed up Sabine’s career here
    ‘Lisicki is one of the few players who I believe has that ability to find another level and therefore, actually beat Serena. In equal measures, Lisicki could also just not turn up, miss the court entirely and sink without trace.’

    I’m hoping for a set too! A win would be amazing though!

    Simona V Stephens…. I actually think Simona could pull off the upset here! Although a Serena/Simona rematch would be fun! Likewise a Sabine/Sloane… such a good quarter!! I’m pleased for Sloane in these past 2/3 weeks, however i will reserve my judgement about her progress until the smaller events, where i hope she can transfer this positivity and good game.


    • Yeah I got both wrong yesterday too. And I nearly lost Djokovic on the mens! Though what a great match that was! Worth going into work half asleep today.


      • Vee 6-0 in the first set then lost the entire match. Pliskova handed the match over without a fight. That’s why women tennis is interesting. Anything is possible so long as they continue to play…

        TBH I really don’t think Serena will lose this match. She looks very sharp.

        Simona looks good on her resume but I am hoping Sloan can produce an upset make it all American Semi!


      • Djokovic managed somehow but Raonic can’t and Verdasco’s fairytale ended.Beating Nadal was his only goal it seems.One of the worst days for me.Whichever game I entered turned into a nightmarish experience and which I don’t were normal business .Worth backing underdogs seems the way right now.Martingale will work well here.


    • i would have agreed with you fully as i believe csn is the fittest and most in-form wta player right now, except……..she has to do the daunting unthinkable…..beat Venus and Serena??


  3. I’m routing for Sloane to beat halep. If Halep goes walkabout in the second set , this could be a very interesting match. Let’s hope a slow Serena turns up for the first set….. Cmon! Lisicki!


  4. I want Sloane to beat Halep, but Halep is a very tough cookie unless she has been exhausted from playing too much, Halep might win a slam this year. Sloane will have to patient and ready because Halep will send everything back and sometimes with interest.


    • why don’t you use first name for both players? or last name, again for both of them??? Simona will win because she is a better player. So, just remember, Simona is her first name!


    • Judging from what I have see so far of Clone or Sloane, I doubt very much esp after luckily falling over the winning line against Bencic. Having said that no one know how much further Simona can continue to run on an empty tank esp against an American at home. One thing is guaranteed, Simona will either be very good or very bad. I see Simona winning in 2. One tight, one easy!


  5. I see you’re point Andrew and would’ve agreed w you a year ago. I didn’t think she could get much better but she is. Still has limitations on her power though although it is still improving.


    • Halep just isn’t very good on FAST courts. She never has and likely never will. And since three of the slams are played on fast courts, I can’t see her winning majors outside of the French. Which is going to make it that much harder for her to overtake Serena in the rankings this year.


      • Not sure I agree that Halep “isn’t very good” on fast courts but I get what you’re saying. She did make semis of Wimbles though!


      • None of her titles are on quick courts. She can’t quite dictate play when the ball moves that quickly.
        She made the semi’s of Wimbledon, sure, but look at the players she beat. The only notable player was Lisicki who played some cringeworthy tennis last year. It only happens once every few years, getting such an easy ride to a Slam win. And now that big hitters such as Keys, Pliskova and Stephens are building confidence, the two latter Slams look even less a possibility.


      • Yep, Dubai was fast. Simona does seem increasingly adaptable to different court conditions. Tactically, she is pretty astute I think. And Andrew, I would disagree that Melbournes courts are fast. Medium pace is probably much more accurate, IMO.


  6. What I hate about this draw is that you have Halep and Williams in the same half. I’m rooting for CSN and its too bad cuz I think Petkovic will drain whats left of her.


  7. Bizarre match from Serena based on her level of game play this week. But even without her serve she gets it done. I thought Lisicki was superb. She was surprisingly consistent and she moved better than I’ve ever seen her move before.


    • Serena always seems to throw in matches like these, but gets the job done more often than not. Lisicki was impressive and I liked the balance she found between defence and attack. Her consistency was great and she also threw in a few touches of variety with slower balls and slice which was nice. A very positive two weeks for Sabine.


  8. I can’t believe people write about tennis without watching it .Again a lot of people went to sleep before the second match.Mr. Sudut waist his time again with the same ”prediction”:I hope Halep will lose.Who cares what do you hope?Can you say something about tennis?


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