Saturday was semi-finals day at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford and the Citi Open in Washington. Keeping in trend with much of the week, the two matches in Stanford were both one-sided. In fact, the last 11 singles matches have all ended in straight sets!
CoCo Vandeweghe booked her spot in a second Stanford final with a 6-3 6-1 win over CiCi Bellis. I’d anticipated a closer match but CoCo was just too good. CiCi did have the honour of breaking CoCo’s serve for the first time this week when she served for the first set at *5-2. CoCo responded admirably by breaking for the set and then powering through the second set. CoCo’s focus and attitude have been very impressive this week and while still early days, the partnership with Pat Cash seems to be having a very positive impact on her.
In the second semi-final, Madison Keys scored her best win of the year, snapping Garbiñe Muguruza’s winning streak at nine with a superb 6-3 6-2 victory. Muguruza made a sharp start on return, breaking in the first game, but Keys retaliated with a break herself. The American didn’t go for wild shots and looked in control of her game, dominating with her fearsome forehand.
It seems to be a good match-up for Keys who has won all three of their matches as Muguruza struggled to make an impact in the rallies and became increasingly erratic as the match wore on. While both produced similar first serve percentages, it was Keys who was the far more successful behind her first serve, winning 74% of points behind it.
So an all-American final awaits on Sunday in what will be a first career match-up between CoCo and Madison. I liked Madison’s reasoning for why they have never practised before.
I’m hoping we’ll get a competitive final to end the week. Both have similar weapons and don’t expect many, if any, rallies in this one on these fast courts! I’d have to go for CoCo though who has looked seriously good. The serve, the groundstrokes and the focus have all been there. It will be interesting to see if she can maintain this in the final, particularly the focus, as this would be her biggest career title.
I’m really chuffed for Madison who has been through so much this past year with the wrist. I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed this can be the start of an injury-free spell for her. If she can play with the consistency that she showed against Muguruza, she’s definitely got a shot in this final.
The semi-finals in Washington were both brilliant as Ekaterina Makarova and Julia Goerges advanced to Sunday’s showpiece.
Makarova beat Oceane Dodin, 3-6 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 58 minutes. I never thought i’d say this but early doors, Dodin was the more consistent of the two! Makarova made some puzzling shot selections, going for the down-the-line shot far too early in rallies. Midway through the second set, Makarova seemed to change up her tactics with more balls in court – she did a great job at getting down low and absorbing the pace from Dodin. As the rallies lengthened, Dodin began to make more errors. Makarova finally took a break point opportunity to break to 3-2 in the second set with a passing shot winner and held on to force a decider.
The third set was a well contested battle and well worth a watch back if you have WTA TV (Note – i’m loving WTA TV, it has been awesome this week). It was a rather feisty battle with Makarova frequently yelling at herself and shouting “davai davai davai davai davai” after most points she won. Makarova broke for the win on her first match point, managing to hold firm up against some ferocious power from Dodin before being able to fire away the passing shot winner. In the end, Makarova’s depth and vastly superior first serve percentage (72% first serves in compared to Dodin’s 48%) were key factors in the outcome of this match.
In the second semi-final, Julia Goerges came from a break down in the third set to edge an all-German affair with Andrea Petkovic, 5-7 6-4 7-5 in two hours and 30 minutes. Everyone knows I love a good hug at the end and unsurprisingly, the pair embraced at the end after a fabulous battle. I’ve only seen highlights for now but i’m hoping the full match replay will be up soon on WTA TV!
Goerges will be contesting her third WTA final in as many months, while Makarova is into her first in over three years! The pair have played just once before at the Australian Open where Makarova (the Bourne-GOAT) won, 6-3 6-2.
My feeling is that it might be third time lucky for Goerges. While Makarova had the tight win over Dodin in the semi-finals, Goerges has been on the brink several times this week including saving five match points in her second round win over Alison Van Uytvanck. If she’s got enough energy left in the tank, I think she’ll be the calmer of the pair and have the confidence to take it.
In entry list news, Wozniacki, Radwanska and Konta are all confirmed for Hong Kong in the week beginning the 9th of the October.
And finally, next week is the Rogers Cup in Toronto and the draw preview should be be up soon. For some great pictures from the first round of qualifying, check out Max (@MgLovesTennis) on Twitter.