Friday’s Set Points, WTA Moscow & Luxembourg: Puig’s 1st final since Rio, Singapore draw day

Set PointsA place in Zhuhai and the world’s top 20 will be up for grabs in Saturday’s mega Moscow final between Daria Kasatkina and Julia Goerges. Despite all the upsets, I think it’s a super final at the last Premier stop of the year. Kasatkina scored her fourth win over Irina-Camelia Begu in 2017, winning 6-2 6-3 in the semi-finals. In truth, the match was closer than the scoreline suggested with many close games.

Kasatkina was extremely solid with Begu’s rapidly rising unforced error count her main undoing. I’ve noticed that Kasatkina’s opponents haven’t been faring so well on serve, particularly the second serve, and the Russian player has been excellent on return throughout Asia and this week in Moscow. Begu landed 79% of first serves in, but won just 43% of points behind it and only 14% behind the second serve. The Romanian player appeared tired and was mostly impatient in this match.

Get to know Dasha – she has been posting #LifewithDasha every Friday on social media for her fans (and haters!) to get to know her better.

Hello dear friends and haters!:)๐Ÿ‘น Friday, Friday, Friday! Today #LifeWithDasha is coming straight from #KremlinCup. On the tour during the tournaments, there are always a lot of great players around us๐Ÿ…๐Ÿฅ‡๐Ÿ† Some of them inspire you, some of them give you lessons without being involve:) We are lucky living in great time of sports of remarkable athletes and their achievements. #DashaChart of sport-heroes and people who are examples for me in my career: 1. Rafa #Nadal ๐ŸŽพ 2. Lionel #Messi โšฝ๏ธ 3. Valeri #Kharlamov ๐Ÿ’ 4. Yelena #Isinbaeva โค๏ธ 5. Fedor #Emelianenko ๐Ÿคผโ€โ™‚๏ธ Of course, there are many more influential leaders in sports, but my soul is with these guys. #Share your favorite athletes in comments. Have a good weekend, world! P.S. This video made my day๐Ÿ˜‚

A post shared by Daria Kasatkina (@kasatkina) on

Goerges sneaked through a tight semi-final against Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 6-2 2-6 7-5. Goerges failed to serve out the match at *5-4, but rebounded to win the last eight points of the match. What a year for the German player.

The final has huge ramifications as mentioned above.. this is Kasatkina’s second WTA final after winning Charleston earlier this year. As excellent as Goerges’s year has been, her downfall has been in finals – the German player is 0-3 in finals this year and hasn’t won a title since her absolute dream run in Stuttgart back in 2011.

The pair are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head with Goerges winning their last match in Moscow in 2016, 7-5 6-1. Peak Goerges has the ability to take this match away from Kasatkina; however, this is a final and there will be nerves on both sides of the net. I’d favour Kasatkina’s consistency and ability to mix up the play and disrupt rhythm with a home crowd behind her. The Russian player has been so solid this week.

With a thumping forehand winner to close an extended rally, Carina Witthoeft beat Pauline Parmentier to reach her first WTA final with a 7-6(2) 1-6 6-3 victory. An excellent third set from Carina who landed 86% of first serves in.

Witthoeft will play Monica Puig in Saturday’s Luxembourg final after the Puerto Rican produced another superb display in easily her best week of the year. Mertens battled really well and made a match of it in the second set, but Puig’s level didn’t drop substantially and she broke for the win, prevailing 6-2 7-5 in one hour and 29 minutes.

Tough call for Elise in the second set – this point would have given her the break to lead 5-4 in the second set and Puig’s shot was clearly out. She just tweeted about it…

Saturday’s final will be a first time meeting between Puig and Witthoeft. Based on the level she’s produced all week, I think Monica takes this.

Friday was draw day in Singapore where the groups were finally announced! They are as follows:

Red Group: Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina, Caroline Wozniacki and Caroline Garcia

White Group: Garbiรฑe Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova, Venus Williams and Jelena Ostapenko

First thoughts – eeeeeek! It was not the draw I was hoping for with the White group fully packed with big hitters. Garcia’s got a tough ask to qualify from the red group against the counter-punchers on what has been a slow court in the past. I’m excited for the week ahead. Predictions are going to be pretty much futile and a lot of the matches are a lucky dip.

Hannah’s Tweet below sums up how I feel – I’m not even bothering with a draw preview!ย ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

A trio of polls – who you got as your winner? I’ve sort of ended up with a Halep-Svitolina final but i don’t really know howย ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Who you got as your red group top two? Mega intrigued to see if Garcia can continue her recent good form.

Who you got as your white group top two? I think Williams-Ostapenko could be pivotal.

Here’s the iconic picture of the eight finalists for the 2017 WTA Finals! ๐Ÿ˜Š

And the first shot released was the selfie taken by world number one, Simona Halep.

A preview for day 1 of Singapore will be up tomorrow. In the meantime, a final plug for my pre-tournament preview!

The WTA 2017 award winners were announced on Friday – for me, it’s odd to be announcing before the year has ended.

Player of the year, Garbiรฑe Muguruza – a tough choice this year but this would have been my pick. Not only has Muguruza won a Slam but she’s been pretty consistent throughout the entire year.

Doubles team of the year, Martina Hingis & Chan Yung-Jan – This seems a fair chance based on their stunning end to the year.

Most improved player, Jelena Ostapenko – Fair again, but my pick would have been Elina Svitolina.

Newcomer of the year, CiCi Bellis – Nope not feeling this one! A great year for Bellis but she actually started within the world’s top 100 and I wouldn’t class her as a “newcomer”. While not nominated, my vote would have been for Ashleigh Barty who was at #271 in the rankings and even in the first stage of her career, had never really made a push in singles. Of those nominated, I would have gone for Elise Mertens.

Comeback player of the year, Sloane Stephens – The toughest category of the year but i’m rather surprised at this result. It’s amazing what Sloane did but Petra all the way for me.

And finally, the first shots of the new Louis Armstrong court have been released. My master plan is to hopefully return to the US Open in 2020ย ๐Ÿ˜€.

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10 thoughts on “Friday’s Set Points, WTA Moscow & Luxembourg: Puig’s 1st final since Rio, Singapore draw day

  1. For CPOTY, I think Stephens earned it. It is all about results and Achievements (or should be) so her comeback was surely the best in 2017.
    So I Share your opinion that Barty/Mertens should have been NOTY.

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  2. The poll to choose the winner in Singapore is one the hardest polls ever. I went for Halep after probably too much thought.

    Also, it feels strange not to have Radwanska reach the finals, for the first time in seven years.

    By the way, if I could imagine my dream match of the future, it would be Ostapenko vs Puig, with J.O. playing as she did in Paris and M.P. playing as she did in the Rio final.

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      • Yes, for the first year I can remember she hasn’t won any titles at all and was in just one final (Sydney, which she lost to Jo Konta).

        In an age when players change their coaches regularly, I think Tom Wiktorowski can count himself fortunate that he’s still got a job; not that it’s necessarily his fault that Aga’s slumping, but you could say the same for a number of players who have parted company with their coaches.

        As for why it’s happening, I’m not sure but she doesn’t seem to have a lot of power in her shots at the moment (compared to, say, how crisply she was striking the ball when she beat Jo in Beijing last year), but also the younger players are starting to catch her up; as DariaK showed when she beat Aga in Beijing recently, and Ana Konjuh when she nearly beat her in Wimbledon last year and did beat her in the US Open the same year, she’s got less and less now to give her an advantage over these other players.

        We all love her ninja shots (or I do anyway) but there aren’t enough of them to swing a match when the rest of her game isn’t cutting the mustard.

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  3. The Vik vs Goerges—-Vik suffered a right wrist/forearm injury at the end of the first set. Vik was sobbing into her towel for a lengthy time while waiting for the trainer. After the wrist/forearm was taped, the pace of her serve and forehand was off about 20%. I was amazed that Vik won the 2nd set and was tied 5-5 in the third set with limited power on her serve and forehand. I thought she should have quit after the first set, but__ she was playing at home.

    WTA Finals photo shoot—-I’m voting for Svitolina as best dressed.

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      • I think you can tell!
        Wozniacki is the only really chic looking person in that photo. Garcia and Muguruza both seem to be styled about ten years older than they actually are and Svitolina looks like she’s going to prom.

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