It’s been another great week in Stuttgart with plenty of high quality matches that will be remembered come the end of the season. There have been quite a few upsets, but the final promises to be a cracker. At not before 2.30pm local time, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki will meet for the tenth time and the first time in 2015. Also noteworthy is that Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands will be contesting the doubles final tomorrow!
Wozniacki was first into the singles final with a superb victory over Simona Halep, 7-5 5-7 6-2 in two hours and 58 minutes. For a full recap of that match, click HERE. Halep ran out of gas in the decider as Wozniacki kept chasing everything down. The Dane was very positive in this match and more akin to the way she ended the 2014 season in Singapore. Wozniacki served well, defended well, utilising the backhand slice to great effect, and also hit her forehand better than i’ve seen her hit it all year long.
Prior to Stuttgart, Wozniacki’s best win of the year in terms of ranking had come against the world number 14, Flavia Pennetta in the quarter-finals of Dubai. All three of Wozniacki’s wins in Stuttgart have bested that, highlighting the quality of this draw. In addition to the win over Halep, her first top five victory of the year, Wozniacki has also beaten Lucie Safarova (#13) and Carla Suarez Navarro (#10) this week.
Kerber continues to roll in Stuttgart, stretching her WTA winning streak to nine. I still keep thinking back to Kerber in Doha when she delivered a miserable display, winning just three games in the first round up against Victoria Azarenka. The difference between then and now is remarkable and Kerber is simply brimming with confidence. I’m still in awe of Kerber’s win over Sharapova where she produced an incredible third set display.
In her semi-final match, Kerber won the last six games of the match to beat Madison Brengle, 6-3 6-1. The American had a superb week, beating Petra Kvitova and Caroline Garcia back-to-back, but only showed glimpses of that form in the semis. She hit a hot spell in the first set as she hurt Kerber with her backhand. However, Kerber soon gained the ascendancy as she directed the majority of her balls to Brengle’s forehand. Kerber’s so confident right now and did a great job at drawing Brengle out wide before unleashing her fiercesome down-the-line shots. I could sit and watch Kerber hit down-the-line shots all day. There was still some joy for the American who absolutely creamed a Kerber moonball with a huge all-or-nothing backhand.
Sooooo who’s going to win? I ain’t got a clue. Not a dicky bird. The head-to-head is close with Kerber leading 5-4. Kerber won three in a row during her cracking 2012 season but since then, they’ve split their matches. It’s a match-up that doesn’t follow a particular pattern and it will simply come down to who plays best on the day. I’m not sure if that makes any sense (!) but what I mean is that I don’t think one player holds a mental edge over the other. In their only clay court match, Kerber beat Wozniacki in Stuttgart in 2012 with a scintillating performance, winning 6-1 6-2.
Both players have served extremely well this week; Wozniacki has won marginally more first serve points (68% to 65%) and Kerber has won marginally more second serve points (56 to 53%). Wozniacki is one of the fittest players out there and but surely even she would have felt tired after that bruising clash with Halep today. Kerber’s last two matches have been relatively straightforward, but she will be playing her fifth match in as many days. I think both will be a bit tired and I don’t see either having an edge in this department.
After watching Wozniacki beat Halep, I’d made my mind up that the Dane was my pick for this final. Then I watched Kerber produce some really excellent tennis in that second set against Brengle… and heyyyy, i’m back at the start again! I’ve had a really terrible week of predictions this week so i’m feeling more indecisive than ever. In front of the home crowd and on such an incredible roll right now, i’m picking Kerber… but honestly, I have no allegiances in this match and i’m just looking forward to a fabulous final.
Prediction: Kerber d. Wozniacki in 3 sets
As always, comments are appreciated. Thanks so much for everyone who’s got involved this week. I’d love to know whether you’re having as much difficulty as me in trying to pick a winner out of this final.