WTA Stanford, Washington Final Previews: Kerber v Pliskova, Stephens v Pavlyuchenkova

StephensIt’s a busy weekend of tennis… as qualifying is well underway in Toronto, we still have two finals to look forward to in Stanford and Washington. Unfortunately both finals are at the same time tonight (*sarcastic clapping*). In Stanford, Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova will play each other for the third time this year. It’s an exciting prospect after the pair’s last match in the final of Birmingham, a terrific encounter that Kerber won, 6-7(7) 6-3 7-6(4). Back to Stanford and Kerber tore past Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals, winning through, 6-1 6-3 in just 55 minutes. Svitolina held serve just twice during the match and it was a noteworthy result after Svitolina had come from behind in their last match in Brisbane to take in three.

Pliskova also had a straight sets win in the semi-finals, beating Varvara Lepchenko, 6-2 7-5. At one stage during the first set, Pliskova racked up 17 points in a row. She also did this…

Pliskova hasn’t dropped a set this week in victories over Kimiko Date-Krumm, Ajla Tomljanovic and Lepchenko. Kerber though represents a significant jump up in quality.  The German player has been one of the in-form players on the WTA tour in the past few months. Pliskova is 1-3 in finals in 2015 losing all 3 Premier finals she has played while Kerber is 3-0 for 2015, winning back-to-back-to-back Premier titles in Charleston, Stuttgart and Birmingham. All three finals were absolute nailbiters with Kerber winning 7-5, 7-5 and 7-6 in the deciding sets. It’s a far cry from Kerber’s 2014 season where she went 0-4 in finals. I’d be surprised if this wasn’t another lengthy and competitive match. Kerber’s playing with a great deal of confidence right now and i’d give her the edge in this one.

Over in Washington, you’d barely notice they were playing a women’s tournament. Last night, Ekaterina Makarova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova were due to play their semi-final on Stadium Court but were bumped at the last minute for a men’s doubles match featuring the Bryan brothers. TV coverage started out with Maka-Pavs but then switched after a couple of games. While it is an ATP 500 compared to a WTA International, this was pretty rough for the women and frankly uncalled for. I attempted to watch the match from the Bet365 stream but when you need a magnifying glass to see the ball, I draw the line.

After splitting the first two sets, Makarova was forced to retire against Pavlyuchenkova. Makarova had some strapping on her leg but it was surprising when she suddenly retired. Pavs also took a MTO during the match for her right shoulder. In the second semi-final, Sloane Stephens FINALLY reached her first WTA final and in the process, secured a first ever win over Sam Stosur in a 7-6(4) 6-0 triumph. It’s been coming for a while and Stephen’s consistency is really shining through.

Stephens and Pavlyuchenkova will be playing each other for the first time on the WTA tour. While Stephens has never played a WTA final before and there could be some nerves, i’m going for the American player to win this. This could be a good painful watch.

Stanford Final Prediction: Kerber d. Pliskova in 3 sets

Washington Final Prediction: Stephens d. Pavlyuchenkova in 2 sets

13 thoughts on “WTA Stanford, Washington Final Previews: Kerber v Pliskova, Stephens v Pavlyuchenkova

  1. I think Pliskova will take Stanford. She should have won Birmingham, but she is tall and still needs to improve her mobility. She doesn’t have to get quite as low as grass; on hard courts and will have the a more stable bounce. Pavlyunchenkova is in her 11 WTA final, with a 7-3 record. That might be telling in this encounter. I don’t see this match going straight sets, unless one of them, get injured.

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  2. I cant believe Angie is in another final. She should, however, collect wins at the really big eventd if she wants to go to Singapore. As for today I don’t know as I wasn’t home this week and havent seen neither of them play. So I have no idea how well they both played and who should win on recent form. I like them both although my absolute fav is Angie,so I’d say Angie in three (I’d be ok with Pliskova winning though, happy she made the step into the top 10…that was long overdue).

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    • Angie was good against Svitolina, but not great. Elina just relaxed too much after going up a break and couldn’t find the energy for another come from behind win. Pliskova against Lepchenko was pretty amazing though. And not just big striking, she was constructing points and holding her own in rallies.

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      • ok that sounds as Pliskova could have the edge? well, fine (as said above)! this would be her biggest title??

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  3. I have picked Pliskova to win in 3 sets,should be a tight final,Kerber has been playing good solid tennis this tournament,her match against Aga has to be on of the best matches so far this year.Sloane to get the monkey off her back and win her first WTA title.

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  4. Back Kerber when she is a break down and Back Stephens when she is a break down.No point in backing them at these odds.Odds are very short on them.Back then when they are down and enjoy with Old Monk

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  5. Huuuuge kudos to Kerber for coming through that. I only caught the last set but Pliskova’s serve really wasn’t the weapon it usually is. I’m sure Angies spectacular defence is partly responsible for that.
    Shame Karolina is now 20% in finals this year! Hopefully she’ll pick up another title before the year is over.

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    • Yeah, this match was all about the fighting spirit. However, it is a joy to see Pliskova’s winners of both wings. Power comes so so easily – impressive and a pleasure to watch!! I hope she’ll make it to Singapore and see her play Serena and Masha there!!

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      • I was more impressed with how well she stuck in rallies. If you can live with Kerber in a baseline exchange then you can live with almost anybody, really, because Angelique is phenomenal in that regard.
        But yeah, if Pliskova makes Singapore (and at this point it’s looking likely, barring injury or a sudden slump) she could be very dangerous. At the moment I think it’s the finals that are overwhelming her more than the top players that she’s meeting in them. In a round robin situation, I’d fancy her chances against every single player in the top eight. She’s already beaten half of them this year, though yet to play Serena or Sharapova.

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  6. Congratulations Angie who now has won Premier titles on all surfaces,both players broke serve numerous times in this 3 set match,Angie didnt make as many UFE as Pliskova did,also Pliskova’s serve let her down at crucial times in this match.

    Congratulations to Sloane Stephens who to me has played her most consistent tennis this year,winning her first WTA title.Well done Sloane!

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