Friday’s Set Points, WTA Beijing: French Open final rematch, Halep vs. Ostapenko in the SFs

Set PointsQuarter-finals action at the 2017 China Open began with a rematch from last week between Simona Halep and Daria Kasatkina. In a complete reverse of the scoreline from Wuhan, it was Halep who prevailed, 6-2 6-1 in 69 minutes. Halep was ultimately rewarded for being the more positive of the pair with not only sustained aggression but less errors too. Not a great day for Dasha but still an encouraging end to the year to reach the last eight at such a big event.

Solid stats from Halep. Not so much from Kasatkina who held serve just once during the match.

Love this picture of Dasha!Β πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‚

In a repeat scoreline from their only previous match at the US Open earlier this year, Jelena Ostapenko beat Sorana Cirstea, 6-4 6-4. Ostapenko’s serve was once again an issue as she was either broken or pushed to deuce in every service game but two – those two happened to be serving for each set which she did so to love!

The first of the Beijing semi-finals will be a rematch of the French Open final between Halep and Ostapenko – well worth setting my alarm for 07:30am on a Saturday morning! In Paris, Ostapenko rallied from a set and a break down to beat Halep, 4-6 6-4 6-3. This will be an absolutely fascinating match, mostly to see how Halep will approach it following what happened last time. She will head in with renewed confidence after beating Maria Sharapova and Daria Kasatkina, two players she had lost to recently.

Halep has returned especially well in the last two rounds and that will be key here as she mentioned not going for her returns in the French Open final as something that stuck in her mind. Ostapenko’s serve has been very erratic since Wimbledon. The Latvian player continues to punish the ball in rallies, yet she has played a lot of matches over the past three weeks and tiredness/fatigue may be an issue.

The world number one spot is on the line again for Halep which scares me a tad! I really hope Simona does it after all of her near-misses this year.

Petra Kvitova secured a sixth consecutive straight sets win over Barbora Strycova, winning 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 30 minutes. Kvitova only landed 51% of first serves in and hit 11 double faults – however, she dropped just five points behind her first serve and when she put the second serve in court, was doing pretty well.

The final match of the day was an absolute epic as the Wuhan champion, Caroline Garcia saved a match point to beat the number three seed, Elina Svitolina, 6-7(5) 7-5 7-6(6) in three hours and 21 minutes. The Frenchwoman won her ninth match in a row and keeps her hopes alive of qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore. I haven’t had the chance to catch up with the match but what an effort from Caroline.

The second of the semi-finals will see Petra Kvitova play Caroline Garcia. The pair last played at the US Open where Kvitova delivered a stunning display to win, 6-0 6-4. Garcia’s currently in the form of the life – to beat Svitolina these days takes some doing, and with tired legs, was an incredible mental effort.

I’ll stick with my original champ pick of Kvitova as this will take something special and then some from Garcia to recover from that semi-final match. Kvitova is striking the ball beautifully right now and her serve, when she gets it in, has been dynamite. Furthermore, the Czech player is always dangerous deep in a tournament and has won 12 of her last 16 semi-finals.

An update on Timea’s hand!

And finally, the groups for the Hopman Cup have been announced. Tickets for single sessions at the Hopman Cup are now available at the links below.

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21 thoughts on “Friday’s Set Points, WTA Beijing: French Open final rematch, Halep vs. Ostapenko in the SFs

  1. Caroline Garcia is either going to have no fight left or she’s going to come out feeling like there is zero pressure or expectations on her. Sometimes when players like her are tired and sore, they stop over thinking and just play abd it’s magic. That’s what happened today against Svitolina. Match of the year contender for me though I’m admittedly biased.

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  2. Based on form Garcia should be the favorite.
    Therefore, it’s fascinating that it feels like Kvitova. Does not seem fair to me although I can understand.

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  3. Great to see Garcia steadily on the rise this year. But I think Kvitova will just beat her. Unless Ostapenko has one of her off days, I think (and hope) she’ll join Kvitova in the final. Champion: Kvitova.

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    • Doh… wrong on both predictions. I’d better not try to name the winner, except to say it will be either Halep or Garcia. I’m confident about that.

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  4. She did it!
    I mean I was very happy for Pliskova and Muguruza, too. But it happened that they reached the spot without playing or being in the tournament anymore and it would have been nicer for the fans if they could watch the joy. Because watching the joy of someone who actually does it by winning a match is quite another experience. Simona is HAPPY indeed πŸ™‚

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  5. Evolving events have confirmed my nearly 100% prediction rate. I stated that Halep by not playing in the little Quebec open would probably never become #1.

    What you say, Halep is now #1 !!!!—–maybe my predict-o-meter needs new batteries.

    Congratulations to the very talented and very hard working Simona Halep on becoming the new #1!!!!!!!

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  6. Wow simona, you did it. It would have been much greater had she got to #1 by winning GS. But whatsoever,she has achieved something worthy which might give her enough confidence to win grand slam now, probably. Good luck simona for final,the wta finals and the next year’s grand slams

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  7. Not to be negative but doesn’t Halep being #1 feel anti climatic to anyone else? She’s only won one title this year… it felt like Muguruza was actually worthy of taking it after winning a Slam and hammering Simona in that Cincinnati final. I hope Garbine wins Singapore and regains the top spot.

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    • I knew you would say something negative, muguruza could not play any consistent tennis all year, failing to win a single title except cincinnati thanks to injured players like keys and tired players like pliskova and halep. Apart from that Wimbledon is her only real trophy which I really appreciate her for. But for becoming number one you have to be consistent all year…ALL year…number one ranking does not show how many grand slams you have but it shows how much work you are putting in through the whole year

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      • Muguruza has won a match more than Halep has. She’s won a Slam, Halep hasn’t. She’s won 2 titles to Halep’s 1. She’s made the second week of all 4 Slams, Halep has been knocked out early in two of the Slams. She has 7 top ten wins to Halep’s 5.
        So who has been more consistent?

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      • Halep has 5 finals this year one grand slam, and 4 premier mandatory she has reached 9 consecutive quarter finals. One premier mandatory title And tomorrow could be second. She is ahead of her in road to Singapore and she started late because she was injured in the 1St three months…

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    • Once Simona recovered from her knee injury at the start of the year, she’s been consistently good all year – the one blip was the US Open and even then she was unlucky to be drawn against Maria in the first round. And the title she won (Madrid) was a title defence from last year for which she got no extra points.

      Sometimes, as the song goes, it ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it. BTW, I was delighted when Garbine got to No 1 so it’s nothing against her.

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      • This is exactly what I was speaking of when I said earlier on that, even though she was like 5 points or something behind Garbine, I wanted her to get to no.1 on her own terms, playing her own tennis and not chasing the numbers or the tournaments for the sake of it.

        I think it is good for the sport, and mentally good for the player as well. Especially someone of her temperament. It is even more interesting because she beat players who’ve inflicted some of the most bitter defeat on her this year. Psychologically, this could be a real positive.

        I did say the no.1 spot could be a revolving door, and that is what is happening. Until a consistently dominant player comes along, it is what it is. Halep at her best has been a tough challenge for even the likes of Serena. Personally, I still think the no.1 ranking is just mathematical but some of the girls need #goals to keep them motivated and it is basically the measuring stick to seed players. But, good consistent tennis trumps the numbers for me. I like baseline hitters, but I’m still watching for the likes of Svitolina, Radwanska etc, to play their brand of tennis and fashion a way to Slam titles and even top ranks.

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    • Well I get what you mean, the numbers speak for Garbine. However, my gut feeling says simona equally deserves it. She has been very consistent – so has Garbine and so has Karolina too (and Elina who still has the chance to become no. 1 and most probably she will reach it at some point).
      I don’t want to compare them as I like them all and am happy for everyone of them. Also I’m beyond excited to watch the WTA finals… I mean there are 3 no. 1’s this year plus Ostapenko, Wozniacki, Svitolina plus Queenus. So we should all rather look forward to witnessing this year’s WTA finals rather than discussing who of them earned it more.

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      • I’m not saying Halep doesn’t deserve to be #1 at some point. I’m just not sure it’s now. This hasn’t felt like a special year from her. Whereas Muguruza does feel like she’s taken it to another level.

        We’ll see tomorrow anyway. If Garcia of the past couple weeks shows up then Halep doesn’t stand much of a chance really.

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      • Halep has 5 finals this year one grand slam, and 4 premier mandatory she has reached 9 consecutive quarter finals. One premier mandatory title And tomorrow could be second. She is ahead of her in road to Singapore and she started late because she was injured in the 1St three months…

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      • She deserves it and deserve it this time more than any other time. She has improved a lot in every aspect of her game and she is willing to beat everyone who has beaten her before. She likes to work harder and not just appearing in grand slams and not caring for smaller events. I would like halep to win the final tomorrow which she can surely win with her game. Let’s see if garcia can stand up for the challenge. Good luck to her.

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