WTA Marrakech, Prague Semi-Final Previews: Schmiedlova v Svitolina and more

This will be my last post for a few days as i’m busy this weekend… my brother is getting married! I’m going to be playing serious catch-up with Madrid as the main draw comes out on Friday with play starting on Saturday.  I hate the overlap between tournaments and that will happen with the finals in Prague and Marrakech to be played on Saturday.  I’ll endeavour to have something out on Sunday night but bear with me. Anyway, here’s a few thoughts about the semis for Friday…

WTA Marrakech

1. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova v Elina Svitolina

Anna SchmiedlovaSchmiedlova knocked out the number two seed, Timea Bacsinszky, in the quarter-finals of Marrakech coming from 4-2 down in the third set to beat the Swiss player, 6-3 3-6 7-5.  It snapped an eight match winning streak for Bacsinszky in three set matches, which had stretched all the way back to the Australian Open.  It was not a pretty match and I was surprised how up and down Timea was.  Her tactics wildly fluctuated during the match.  She began with positive intent early on, but then got bogged down in mixing up the play with slices, drop shots and loopy balls.  Schmiedlova was pretty stable and won the first set, 6-3.  Bacsinszky could at least see that wasn’t working as she changed up the tactics in the second set and started hitting more regulation backhands but kept the drop shots, which worked well.  There were a couple of drop shot winners off the weak Schmiedlova second set that worked a treat.

Schmiedlova lost her momentum in the second set and at the start of the third set.  She fought back well from a break down in the decider.  Bacsinszky never seemed sure of what she was trying to do out there and continually went for moonballs.  It didn’t really seem to be troubling Schmiedlova a great deal although it wasn’t until the end of the match when the Slovak player stepped up her intensity and aggression.  Schmiedlova played a couple of fine points at the end as Bacsinszky was forced to play defence from the back of the court and out of camera view.

Svitolina is up next for Schmiedlova after she survived a three setter with Karin Knapp.  Her results on clay haven’t been anything to write home about, but she’s had a reasonably consistent week and year so far.  I’m on the fence with this one.  Form and surface would probably side with Schmiedlova, but Svitolina seems a more solid pick in my head. Hmmmm….

Prediction: Schmiedlova d. Svitolina in 3 sets

2. Kristina Mladenovic v Timea Babos

BabosThe top half of the Marrakech draw has been broken up by doubles partners, Mladenovic and Babos who both have scored upset wins along the way.  Babos snapped the 14 match winning streak of Teliana Pereira in the second round before defeating Flavia Pennetta in an impressive quarter-final victory.  Mladenovic dropped a set in her opening match against Marina Erakovic, but has followed it up with straight set wins over the number one seed, Garbine Muguruza (7-6 7-6) and Lara Arrubarrena (6-4 6-1).  Mladenovic has always been puzzling to me because she has the potential to be a really decent singles player.  Her level seems to fluctate wildly, which is why i’m always a little wary.  She leads the head-to-head against Babos 2-0 and i’d fancy her to make it three.

Prediction: Mladenovic d. Babos in 2 tight sets

WTA Prague

1. Karolina Pliskova v Yanina Wickmayer

WickmayerPliskova has been taken to three sets in all of her matches this week.  This time, she lost the middle set before coming through, 6-2 5-7 6-1 against Denisa Allertova.  Equally, Wickmayer has been pushed to three sets in all of her matches this week as well.  A mixture of rough draws and injuries has seen Wickmayer do very little on tour since reaching the last 16 in Melbourne.  I’m pleased to see her reach the semi-finals here because she is so much better than her current ranking of 92.  Still, this feels likes Pliskova’s title to lose right now.

Prediction: Pliskova d. Wickmayer in 2 tight sets

2. Lucie Hradecka v Katerina Siniakova

HradeckaI didn’t have either of these players winning today! Siniakova continued her breeze through the draw with a surprisingly straightforward victory over Barbora Strycova, 6-4 6-2.  This is the first time that Siniakova has won three matches at the same tournament in 2015.  Hradecka’s form continues to impress as she just about hung on to beat Klara Koukalova in three sets.  This will be Hradecka’s seventh match of the week, but she’s still going strong.  She has successfully qualified for six tournaments this week, which is a big indicator of how her consistency has improved this year.  I’m completely on the fence with this one.  I’d confidently go for Hradecka but all those matches are a concern against Siniakova, who should be reasonably fresh.  I’ll stick with Lucie…

Prediction: Hradecka d. Siniakova in 3 sets

Photos by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography and Moo’s Tennis Blog

26 thoughts on “WTA Marrakech, Prague Semi-Final Previews: Schmiedlova v Svitolina and more

  1. I think I jinxed Bacsinszky by tweeting how much I enjoy her game (which she favourited!) I noticed against Maria she was really starting to over complicate her game when she didn’t have any real need to. Maybe she’s getting carried away with winning so much?

    As for Pliskova, she looked MUCH better than her previous two matches. Allertova really stuck in there waiting for Karolina to throw in a poor service game, always a good strategy against a big hitter, and it paid off for her. I really like her game though. A counter puncher with trademark Czech groundstrokes and a heavy serve.

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  2. Actually I have been disappointed with Svitolina and her play of late,considering she was a junior Roland Garos Champion,I expected her to maybe find her game on clay,maybe it is a tad early,though she is a favorite youngster of mine.She will have her hands full in her next match against Schmiedlova,who has been the surprise packet so far in this tournament,she is playing good solid positive tennis.

    Pliskova to me is the one to beat,she has made improvements in her game as this tournament has progressed.

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    • Yeah Svitolina has been incredibly disappointing so far this year. I wonder if she’ll ever reach greatness with that serve of hers.
      Interestingly the year she won her Slam was the same year the Pliskova twins both won Slams (Karolina in Australia and Kristyna at Wimbledon). Daria Gavrilova won the US Open that year.

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  3. I’m a HUGE fan of Svitolina (‘chouchou’ for me haha) and I won’t trust her tomorrow, it’s so so close this time , Schmiedlova is catching fire right now

    Kiki seems a great bet but as you said it’s really tough to grasp her at times..

    Pliskova is the clear favorite of this tournament now but the odd isn’t big enough to put money on her for me

    Siniakova has been so impressive today (I’ve watched it, it was a demolition, I had some money on Strycova at first but the 2-0 after the first one saved my €€), without some avoidable mistakes it could have been 6-0 6-0 really.., if she can show up tomorrow as the same level she’ll destroy Lucie, but can she do it?
    For this one I think I’ll watch the beginning and if she’s red hot like today bet on Katerina

    N.Kyrgios x R.Bautista-Agust @1.85 seems a great bet for tomorrow don’t you think?

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    • One thing with Siniakova is that she played THREE matches today between singles and doubles. That will be an enormous confidence boost but also a real energy drain.

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    • I’ve been intrigued about Siniakova all year and had her deep in a few of my draws but of course, not this week! I don’t know about Kyrgios, he hasn’t played much on clay or at all lately so wouldn’t take him as a sure fire winner.

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  4. I really think that Siniakova has done much more than she has been given credit for so far, and is still lurking dangerously in the shadows waiting to pounce on any leftovers in sight. She does not seem to me as a young girl with an infectious personality and that is why she might well be holding the trophy high aloft on sunday and still remain unpopular. However when a player has progressed this far in a tournament without dropping a set, they need to be taken seriously. With the Czecks using this as some sort of a trade-fair to showcase new talent,, I see Siniakova naturally running over the wilting Hradecka for a showdown with Miss Karolina “easy power” Pliskova.

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    • If Klara Koukolova could keep up with her mental strengths, she should have won the QF against Hradecka. Assuming both have some fuels left in their tanks, I think Siniakova will win this one with better ground strokes. Hradecka is hoping to fire another 9 to 10 aces to save herself, if she can do it again.

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    • Agree Jite, Siniakova needs to be taken seriously. I’ve had my eye on her this year and had her winning some matches in my draws… of course, I didn’t have her past R1 this week!

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  5. Siniakova was playing one singles QF, and doubles QF and Semi on the same day. I think she is equally tired (not sure). Hradecka did not miss anything when she played Klara but I think Siniakova will reach the final if she has fuel in her tank.

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    • Yeah I missed the fact Siniakova had played two doubles matches yesterday. Hradecka has played a lot of tennis though spread out over the whole week.

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    • Based on the way they played in the last few days. Like James mentioned before, Siniakova is not very likable but she can play better than her Czech seniors. I would say this match is 50/50 but I am leaning toward Siniakova. Most likely this is a three setters.

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      • Navratilova and Graff hardly had pretty faces. Either one of them could have played the wicked witch in a Wizard of Oz remake. And Seles was never winning any beauty pageant either.

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      • When did I say Siniakova wasn’t likeable?! Same as Andrew, I don’t know a great deal about her. I follow her on FB, she seems really nice.

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      • I’m watching and she seems pretty cute to me. She looks like Maxine Peake’s character in Dinnerladies LOL

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  6. Pliskova into another final YAYYY!! If she wins the title then she’ll be back up to #12 and she’ll have a good chance at breaking top ten if she makes a deep run at Madrid, Rome or Paris.

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  7. Svitolina hopefully will achieve her 3rd WTA title,liked the way she dispatched her opponent Schmiedlova in her s/final match.

    We have a all Czech final,Pliskova for the win.

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