The first three champions of the 2017 WTA season will be crowned on Saturday with the conclusions of Brisbane, Auckland and Shenzhen. In Brisbane, the number three seed, Karolina Pliskova will take on Alizé Cornet on Saturday at not before 7pm local time (9am UK time). A preview is now up on the blog.
I was *really* impressed with Pliskova’s performance today in her semi-final win over Elina Svitolina, 6-2 6-4. She is definitely one player to circle for the Australian Open. Although Cornet only played five games in her match with Garbiñe Muguruza, she still had time to produce this gorgeous drop shot-volley combo.
The reason for Muguruza’s withdrawal.
I loved these quotes from Cornet about Elina Svitolina.
Auckland also had a retirement as a clearly under-the-weather, Jelena Ostapenko retired at 1-4 down in the third set. It will still a shame to see the Latvian player not finish the match as she had been just two games away from the match in the second set. Still, a good week for Ostapenko having been on a winless streak since New Haven.
Lauren Davis, who had strapping on her thigh, advances to the final. The American has been playing especially well through the last six months – this is her fourth final in the last nine tournaments that she has played.
Davis will play the number eight seed, Ana Konjuh who needed three sets to get past Julia Goerges, 6-3 4-6 6-3 in a well-contested semi-final. I was big on Konjuh before the season started and this week has done nothing to quash my positivity for the Croatian player. I’m going for Konjuh to win the final, which will be played at not before 3pm local time (2am UK time for any night owls).
Naomi Osaka trolled everyone earlier on Twitter. Good news though that the wrist injury that forced her to pull out her quarter-final match in Auckland against Ana Konjuh is not serious.
The Shenzhen final will be contested between Alison Riske and Katerina Siniakova at 2pm local time (6am UK time). This is Riske’s second consecutive appearance in the Shenzhen final – in fact, four of Riske’s five finals have come in Asia on hard courts. This is a bit of a surprise as I still regard Riske as a grass court GOAT, but she’s really become much more versatile over recent years. Riske is currently at a career high ranking of 39.
Siniakova scored her second top ten win of the week (she had zero before 2017!) thanks to an excellent display to overpower Johanna Konta, 1-6 6-4 6-4. Siniakova recovered from a break down to win the last four games of the match. She was hitting superbly and actually dictating play at the end with Konta on the back foot. I’ve always been a bit concerned about Siniakova’s mental toughness but she did extremely well in this match.
A tough one to call but I think Siniakova’s ready to scoop her first WTA title.
The main draw for the Hobart International is already out and it’s a good one! There are some crackers in the first round including an Auckland semi-final rematch between Konjuh and Goerges. Also, cancel everything for Jelena Jankovic v Monica Niculescu 😂
I was gutted to read that Hobart won’t be streaming their matches on YouTube like previous years due to “a change in broadcast arrangements”… seriously, screw you WTA. I can’t tell you how pissed off I am right now and the constant obstacles there are to just want a match in decent quality. I had planned to focus purely on Hobart because of the YouTube streaming but that’s now out of the window. Roll on AO…
The Hopman Cup has been fun as always. My same complaint every year is that I wish it could be another week (perhaps the second week of the season?) because there are just too many tournaments in this first week to keep up with. I was looking forward to seeing Andrea Petkovic and Sascha Zverev team up and they haven’t disappointed.
AWESOME HANDSHAKE ALERT… You can always rely on Belinda Bencic and Kristina Mladenovic.
Thanks to Mel (@GrandSlamGal on Twitter) for some super coverage from the Hopman Cup. Make sure to check out the Twitter page, as well as some posts from the tournament HERE.
And finally, Saturday’s Hopman Cup final will be between the USA and France.