I’m behind on the tennis tonight so i’ve been frantically trying to catch up with all the quarter-finals. Therefore, just a quick post tonight. There have been plenty of retirements and withdrawals this week but the semi-final line-up for Beijing is goood. The first of the semi-fnals will feature Ana Ivanovic and Timea Bacsinszky. It’s wonderful to see Timea back to form and into her first ever Premier Mandatory semi-final. While the last few months have been rough, they don’t come close to overshadowing what has been a stunning year for the Swiss player. Bacsinszky scrapped her way to another 7-5 third set victory, this time defeating Sara Errani with a classic WTA scoreline, 0-6 6-3 7-5. Errani won the first eight (!) games, Bacsinszky won nine of the next ten, Errani then won the next eight points and then it went down to the wire in a tight and gripping ending. The tennis wasn’t great…
Errani’s serve became increasingly laboured and she was getting absolutely nothing on her forehand, which was landing in the middle of the court. Bacsinszky battled hard but struggled to put Errani away. She kept ahead though and when Errani’s serve collapsed in the final game, played a couple of smart points, hitting a drop shot off the Errani serve and stepping up the court to put a winner away. Errani commited two huge double faults in the final game including a real whopper on match point. I don’t know if it was tiredness or nerves or both. The serve has always been a problem for Errani and I have read reports that the Italian player has a shoulder condition. I’ve never seen official confirmation of this though.
In probably the highest quality of the four quarters, Ivanovic won her seventh match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-3 7-5. Ivanovic needed two bites at the cherry to serve it out, but Pavlyuchenkova gave away her last two service games on double faults. Pavs is playing much more consistently of late and I hope she has an overall better year in 2016 because I enjoy watching her play. Ivanovic’s sharp strokes are too much for the Russian player to handle and the Serb also played some great tennis up at the net. Bacsinszky v Ivanovic sounds like a fun one. Ivanovic leads the head-to-head, 2-0 and won their last match in Montreal in 2014, 6-1 6-2. Ivanovic has been troubled by a back injury but she’s played well all week. I think Ana wins this one, but i’d like to see Timea make the final.
The second semi-final will be contested between Agnieszka Radwanska and Garbiñe Muguruza. Radwanska defeated Angelique Kerber, 6-1 6-4, in surprisingly straightforward fashion. It was a bad day at the office for Kerber who couldn’t do anything to hurt Radwanska with her forehand not the weapon it normally is, leaking many errors. Radwanska played a solid match and is looking good for Singapore. Muguruza’s already sealed her spot but she kept on winning, staving off a late fightback from Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the last of the quarter-finals to prevail, 6-1 7-5. Muguruza has beaten Radwanska in all three of their 2015 encounters although two of them have gone the distance. I think it mostly comes down to Garbiñe… if she’s feeling fresh and ready to go, then she takes it in her current form. If her mind wanders and she’s had enough, Radwanska will comfortably snap it up.