WTA Stuttgart: Thoughts about Friday’s quarter-final matches

I’m still getting over that fabulous win for Angelique Kerber last night over Maria Sharapova! In case you missed it, I recapped the match here.  I ran out of time to write detailed previews about the Stuttgart quarter-finals last night, but here are a few quick thoughts about each match.

1. Angelique Kerber v Ekaterina Makarova

MakarovaKerber produced a sensational performance to oust Sharapova on Thursday with perhaps, her best ever set of tennis to win the final set, 6-1.  Makarova has been solid this week and played well in the first round against Mattek-Sands although she was close to a meltdown at the end.  Kerber leads the head-to-head, 6-4 and won all three of their encounters in 2014, the last two in straight sets.  I’m intrigued to see how Kerber responds to yesterday’s match and whether there is any kind of let down.  When she beat Sharapova at Wimbledon, she lost the next day to Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets.  Yesterday’s match wasn’t as taxing as their Wimbledon one (but still equally amazing) and it’s a reasonable match-up for her…  I’d give Angie the benefit of the doubt.

Prediction: Kerber d. Makarova in 2 tight sets

2. Madison Brengle v Caroline Garcia

GarciaThis is the result of a quarter-final match that was seeded to produce Petra Kvitova and Ana Ivanovic.  I’ve done a terrible job at picking out the upsets this week and to be honest, both were not massive upsets.  Brengle didn’t face a break point against Kvitova until serving for the match when she wasted four match points.  It was impressive that she managed to regroup and win the second set tiebreak.  Garcia continues to have some shaky moments as she failed to serve out the first set of her second round match against Carina Witthoeft; however, like Brengle, she regrouped and won in straight sets.  I’d fancy Garcia but i’m always wary as she does have the capability of careering off the tracks.

Predicton: Garcia d. Brengle in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

3. Caroline Wozniacki v Carla Suarez Navarro

CSN Wozniacki enjoyed a rare win on the clay yesterday, beating Safarova in straight sets.  I was really gutted about the loss for Lucie because I did honestly believe she would win that match.  The second set went by very quickly on the scoreboard! Suarez Navarro continues to rack up wins as she has made yet another quarter-final, beating Belinda Bencic in the second round.  This is probably the most interesting match of the four and having not watched either of their second round matches, I feel i’m not in a great place to make a judgement! My head says Carla though…

Prediction: Suarez Navarro d. Wozniacki in 3 sets

4. Simona Halep v Sara Errani

HalepIn just a third career match-up, Errani and Halep will play on clay for the first time.  Halep played an extremely smart match against Garbine Muguruza and really showed her confidence right now in coming back from a break down in the final set.  Errani has had a good week and it sounded like her first round match against Agnieszka Radwanska was a real treat… that’s on my list to rewatch at the weekend.  Halep looks so assured on court right now… Would I be stupid enough to go against Simona again? Errrr no!

Prediction: Halep d. Errani in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

27 thoughts on “WTA Stuttgart: Thoughts about Friday’s quarter-final matches

  1. Kerber beats Makarova – Kate isn’t as great against fellow lefties as when she plays right handers
    Brengle beats Garcia – I watched both matches and Madison was better in almost every department. Caroline is the better player but I think she’ll be forced to overhit.
    Suarez Navarro beats Wozniacki – Carlo is just the superior clay court player with more matches and wins under her belt
    Halep beats Errani – I like Sara and she’s fabulous on clay, but she’ll never beat Halep with her serve unless Simona has an uncharacteristic bad day.


    • Well Andrew i second all your pics barring Halep beats Errani….the kinda form Errani is on her fav surface for Halep it won’t be easy,even with mugu she anyhow survived and Brengle looks more to win than Garcia if you compare the way they won there previous matches.


      • You’re just very biased, while Andrew is just biased with you both know who you can’t stand. Muguruza is a peak of muscles and know-how that beats Serena on a given day. So to survive Muguruza is only for the very best.
        Garcia will beat Brengle “en fanfare”.
        Kerber and foremost CSN will be hindered from fatigue therefore solid chances for Makarova and Woz. Although I agree in normal conditions could be different.


      • Your comments make little to no sense. Who am I supposed to be biased for/against? The only player of these eight quarterfinalists I actively follow is Garcia…and I’m betting against her today.


  2. Nice article James and that last comment on Halep? :))) So funny!

    I do agree with 3 of your predictions, althought I’m not 100% sure on CSN vs. Woz, the Golden Retriever. Carla didn’t look THAT convincing against Belinda Bencic (or maybe Belinda is really making me happy and improving that much). At the same time, Caro fought a great fight against Safarova and although her stats didn’t show big numbers for either winners or errors, it’s only a statement that she played a really smart game and she was very composed. She’s most likely looking for a big season on clay with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario at her side and it already feels like she’s getting the results of this coaching move.

    For me this match is really a 50-50. Woz comes with a new coach and morale boost after Safarova, Carla comes after a series of good results. I’d lean toward Caro if she can maintain a composed mindset throughout the WHOLE game.


    • Wozniacki doesn’t play well against a ball struck deep with a high bounce, which is what CSN will be hitting at her. But perhaps an intense year will wear Navarro out.


      • Seems CSN is worn out from the Bencic match as well as the season. Andrew can I ask which H2H you’re referring to w Woz? I remember she had a lot of trouble vs Ivanovic last time they met.


      • It was mainly on comments Serena Williams made about her game plans when facing Wozniacki at the US Open.


  3. I actually think Woz will win this one (bad match up for CNS). Kate vs Kerner (50/50) I am leaning toward Kate. Garcia will lose if she allows Brengle to play long rallies. I also think Brengle plays better than on clay than hard court. As for Halep vs Sara….hmmmm ..so worry to get attacked by her fans…!


  4. Unfortunately, the speed of this clay court surface has never favoured the true dirt ballers hence Maria, Gorges, Ivanovic all doing well here at one time or the other. But this year, none of them are playing that well, Serena included. Garcia certainly has that ability for this surface but I wonder if she has the patience to grind out a win. With Maria out, it will come down to who wants this title the most, ie fight for it. Halep has played a lot of tennis this year( it is the only thing that bothers me with Roland Garros coming up).
    The Halep and Errani encounter is what interests me the most, it will signal what is to come at the french.


    • Agree. Garcia can win this one if she can “grind” it through. She is getting better but still impatient. As for Sara, I won’t count her out this time. She doesn’t play “pretty” on hard court but clay is different things regardless if it is a fast or slow clay. She can manipulate the balls very well. It looks very slow and funny sometimes but whoever play her will know how difficult to deal with her high balls. I once watched her to play in Italy and it was all joys.


      • Andrew, I meant the heavy hitting base liners who now pose a threat on clay. Sharapova, Bouchard, Ivanovic , Gorges, Serena and so on, there aren’t really red hot this year. It is a good opportunity for some of the other girls to raise their game fr the clay court season and really make waves. It is a real shame Svetlana is playing woefully now as well. I’m aware Serena isn’t playing here, but regardless of her ranking, I can’t really say her form is good for clay this year.


      • I think Serena was wayy too hard on herself after the Errani match because she was in blistering form against Giorgi and I could any clay courter could have toppled her playing that well. She hasn’t lost a match on clay yet this year though and I think she’ll take Madrid or Rome (possibly both).


  5. Andrew, you seem like a big fan of Serena and tending to undermine the other players. Agassi came forward these days admitting he had doped himself as a player and nobody took really notice. It’s just all about the hype and nobody is interested in the methods aslong is all shiny and a new record is broken every day.
    I take a blind guess and say that about Serena we will find out many more in the years to come. But surely not from the Williams family…


    • I consider Serena as the best women’s tennis player of all time, I doubt that any kind of doping can give you the skill set or the serve that Serena possesses, she can do everything on the court – EVERYTHING.


      • Serena is the best women’s player so far and one of the greatest period. So you’re partially correct at least. But it upsets me everytime she’s deified esp by her opponents. Think she’s at her best on hardcourts but clearly she has her shortcomings on grass and clay. As for doping…I’m entitled to my opinions and sincerely think that she was doping during that hiatus. Just doesn’t make sense the way she came out of that a totally different player and person. She’s toned down personality-wise since. Can you name any other athlete who’s prime was in their 30’s let alone in tennis???


    • I haven’t tried to undermine any player. Serena is just superior in almost every aspect of tennis and the players themselves will all happily point this out, so why shouldnt I?

      As for Serena “doping”, PEDs can’t give you a serve like hers. Or a backhand like hers. Or a forehand like hers. She has immaculate touch and finesse, often overlooked because of her natural strength. Her physical build is a combination of African genes and hard work and anybody claiming steroids doesn’t know much of either of those. And lastly… IF Serena was using PEDs or steroids to the extent her detractors claim, she’d likely have had a heart attack by now. You cant use those substances over long periods of time without serious ill effects. And its been nearly 20 years since Serena exploded onto the scene.


      • Well, James, I don’t mean any disrespect to Sara, but a shoulder injury won’t make you jump like a frog when you serve. Her serve is as bad looking as it is efficient. She served with 99km/h on first serve. I’m surprised she even managed to hold her serve. Probably because Simona was also playing way below par. If I’d have to guess, the discrepancy in serve quality and return quality of Sara threw Simona off in terms of her own hitting power.


    • Ha ha, nice. But let’s not be hasty. Look at how Woz is going with Carla. I expected this match to be hers, worked out. But a bagel in the first set? Simona will be looking for a tough match in the semis, tougher than Dubai for sure.


      • You sure have a vision of your own man. Honestly, I think tommorow Woz will take Simona out. I cannot imagine how can Halep in this moment overcome the incredible consistency and high confidence that Woz is displaying.


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