Quarter-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! 😊😂
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.