It’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
Stanford Final Prediction: Kerber d. Pliskova in 3 sets
Washington Final Prediction: Stephens d. Pavlyuchenkova in 2 sets