The big news on Thursday was the confirmation that Serena Williams has ended her year and will not compete in the WTA Finals in Singapore, which are set to get underway in just over three weeks. While it is a real blow to the tournament, I don’t think it comes as a major surprise as there were some quotes from her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou that suggested she may shut it down. On a positive note, it will open up another spot in what is becoming a wild and entertaining race to Singapore. Two players in the running, Garbiñe Muguruza and Angelique Kerber, will meet in a tantalising semi-final on Friday at the 2015 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. While I won’t be able to watch the match live, i’m ALL IN for this one!
After a disappointing summer following a wonderful Wimbledon where she reached a first Slam final, Muguruza is having a brilliant week in Wuhan
bledon, securing wins over Sloane Stephens, Ana Ivanovic and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. Muguruza’s 6-2 6-2 quarter-final victory over Schmiedlova was her third consecutive straight sets win over the Slovak player. It was another ruthless display from Muguruza who won the last four games of both sets to prevail in 72 minutes.The pivotal game was Muguruza serving at *3-2; she failed to close out a *40-0 lead and then faced two break points. Schmiedlova duffed a makeable return on the first with Muguruza’s superior serving eventually helping her consolidate the break. As always, Muguruza has been very aggressive this week, taking the ball early and signalling her intent with deep, punishing returns. I love how she also comes in off any decent first serves to close points.
In the final match of the day, Kerber advanced via a retirement from CoCo Vandeweghe, leading 6-1 3-1. There was still time for CoCo to make her way onto WTA Reactions…
The Kerber-Muguruza head-to-head is a fun one; Kerber leads 3-2 although Muguruza has won their last two matches, both in the third round of Slams this year at the French Open (4-6 6-2 6-2) and Wimbledon (7-6(12) 1-6 6-2). Both matches were great, particularly the clash at Wimbledon which I can assure you will be in my top 20 countdown in next month! Their last three matches have gone the distance and i’d expect the same from this one.
I’m pumped for this match because there’s so much on the line. Both players are in the hunt for Singapore but also, they should be relatively fresh. Muguruza hasn’t played that much tennis since Wimbledon, while Kerber was on court for less than an hour on Thursday. Muguruza’s been in superb form this week but the tendency is still there for her to become an error-making machine. Kerber can go toe-to-toe with her in terms of intensity and she also has the unique ability of being ability to soak up pressure, yet step up the aggression and go for winners.
The safer pick is Kerber as she is the much more stable player; however the result of their last two encounters could throw a mental spanner in the works. This will require a highly focussed and proactive match from Kerber. Muguruza had to play her very best tennis to beat Kerber in their last two encounters but there are signs this week that she is reaching that level once more.
Really tough one… giving the nod to Muguruza.
Great match, ladies!
Prediction: Muguruza d. Kerber in 3 sets