After a damp squib of a Thursday, Friday in Stuttgart was a gooood day of tennis. CoCo Vandeweghe, Caroline Garcia, Anett Kontaveit and Karolina Pliskova all advanced to the semi-finals of the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Friday’s Set Points post recaps the four quarter-finals and looks ahead to semi-finals Saturday including mini-previews and polls.
Semi-finalist #1 Vandeweghe
CoCo Vandeweghe maintained her positive record in playing world number ones as she dispatched Simona Halep, 6-4 6-1 in the first match of the day. I saw the first set on my lunch break which was pretty decent. I was impressed that Vandeweghe managed to keep her intensity and focus for the entirety of the set. Halep played a poor game at *4-5 with two double faults including one on set point. It seems things went downhill after then. I’m not worried about this loss for Halep as I don’t think it’s the court for her, even on clay. Vandeweghe has had her best week of the year by a country mile.
Semi-finalist #2 Garcia
Caroline Garcia and Elina Svitolina are developing a fascinating rivalry on the tour even if it’s one-sided for now! I’m bummed to have missed their last three matches live which have all gone the distance. Garcia came from a set and a break down to secure her first top 20 win of the year, 6-7(4) 6-4 6-2 in two hours and 16 minutes.
Semi-finalist #3 Kontaveit
It was wonderful to see Anett Kontaveit and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova put on a show on Friday evening. I loved the commitment from both players in what was a great contest. Kontaveit won, 7-5 6-7(6) 6-4 to reach her first semi-final since Gstaad last year. I thought Kontaveit’s hitting was a touch more potent and she remained bold in the big moments.
Semi-finalist #4 Ka. Pliskova
Today’s crowd had a real treat as the fourth and final match was another entertaining tussle that went the distance. Pliskova snapped her streak of four straight quarter-final losses with a 5-7 7-5 6-4 win over Jelena Ostapenko. Even with Ostapenko hampered by a leg injury, this was one of Pliskova’s best performances of the year. The Czech player served really well and dug in deep to stay afloat against Ostapenko’s consistently dangerous groundstroke game.
I think both players came out with big positives. Even with the disagreement at the end with the umpire and not shaking her hand, I feel Ostapenko is maturing on court and she seemed to stay mostly focused and engaged. Again, a quality match. Ostapenko went off court with a stuffed moose… it’s time to go to bed 🤣🤣🤣.
In a first meeting for two and a half years, Garcia and Vandeweghe will play their first match against each other at a tournament other than Wuhan. Both are enjoying their best weeks and into a first semi-final of 2018. I think it’s hard to separate the pair as both are aggressive and well suited to the conditions. If I had to make a pick, i’d go for Garcia, having had to fight hard and win all three of her matches in three sets. Confidence is rising and rising. I’ll go for Garcia in three again.
A first career match-up between the pair. If Pliskova can overcome Ostapenko then I kind of feel she should be able to get past Kontaveit? New match, new day so who knows. I’m rooting for Anett 😴😴😴.