In an all-unseeded semi-final, Angelique Kerber will take on Madison Brengle in the second of Saturday’s singles matches in Stuttgart. Brengle is having a superb year, but I don’t think many people predicted her reaching the last four this week. In the last of the quarter-finals, she came from a set down to defeat Caroline Garcia, 3-6 6-3 6-3. Brengle’s ability to mix up her balls and maintain a solid defence were enough to frustrate Garcia, who continues to blow hot and cold.
I was quite enjoying the match until my TennisTV stream decided to continually stutter through the last two sets. I was about 20 minutes behind the coverage in the end and it kept flicking between two completely different positions in the match…. not happy! Since the end of last year, Brengle’s result have really swung around. The 25-year-old won two ITF titles in the second half of 2014 and ended the year with a quarter-final appearance in Linz having qualified for the main draw, although her two main draw matches included a retirement win and a withdrawal!
Brengle had a marvellous month down under; after qualifying for the Brisbane draw, she replicated that in Hobart and then went all the way to the final, winning a total of seven matches, which included four top 100 wins. Brengle carried that form into the Australian Open where she upset Andrea Petkovic in the first round en route to reaching the fourth round. Since Melbourne, her results haven’t been as impressive, but she has still been picking up wins here and there on the WTA tour. By virtue of her results this week in Stuttgart, she will move into the world’s top 40 and put herself in a great position to be a seed at Roland Garros.
Kerber stretched her winning streak to nine with another excellent performance; Kerber beat Ekaterina Makarova, 6-3 6-2, winning 12 of the last 14 games of the match. After going 0-3 down, I really thought I was a fool for picking Kerber to win. I was feeling a case of déjà vu as Kerber had failed to back up her win over Sharapova at Wimbledon last year with less than 24 hours to recover. Sporting strapping on her thigh, Kerber regrouped, drawing errors from Makarova and showing the confidence she has shown since winning the title in Charleston. Makarova committed a lot of errors after a very bright start.
Kerber and Brengle have never met before on the WTA tour. Kerber is bound to be a little fatigued following that long match against Sharapova and Brengle has more than earnt her place in the last four with some consistent performances this week. Both have served well this week and Brengle will be no pushover. However, I feel if Kerber can maintain the game that she has played this week (i’m still marvelling at that win against Maria), she will be sticking around until Sunday…
Prediction: Kerber d. Brengle in 2 tight sets