Thursday, 18 July 2013

Bastaad, Bad Gastein QF: Larsson to bolster local hopes

Bastaad schedule:

Klara Zakopalova vs. Richel Hogenkamp
Johanna Larsson vs. Mathilde Johansson
Serena Williams vs. Lourdes Dominguez Lino
Flavia Pennetta vs. Virginie Razzano

Bad Gastein:

Karin Knapp vs. Annika Beck
Arantxa Rus vs. Yvonne Meusburger
Patricia Mayr-Achleitner vs. Elina Svitolina
Lisa-Maria Moser vs. Andrea Hlavackova

Match focus:

Johanna Larsson vs. Mathilde Johansson

Local girl Johanna Larsson will be looking to reach her first semi-final in a while in her own country in Sweden. Even though clay is not her best surface, she manages to win her matches to reach the last 8. Johansson is the better clay court player, but Johanna can make use of the crowd's support to get into Mathilde's head. The Frenchwoman is well known for her mental fragility anyway. If Larsson hangs on, she has a good chance of reaching the last 4.

Pick: Larsson in 3 sets

Flavia Pennetta vs. Virginie Razzano

Seems like Flavia Pennetta can only win via her opponent's retirement. She is lucky that Simona injured her back and had to retire as she was already down a set. She will face the equally experienced Razzano for a place in the last 4. Pennetta needs to grab this rare chance to reach her first final since Hobart in 2012 with the open draw. She will be the favourite against Razzano, whose game is prone to errors. Flavia just needs to be consistent and wait for the errors to leak.

Pick: Pennetta in 2 sets

Karin Knapp vs. Annika Beck

Annika Beck looked shaky in her last match and will be thoroughly tested against Karin Knapp. The Italian is playing herself to form, and will be looking to advance to her first semi-final since... 2008? Knapp has the tools to beat the youngster, but she cannot rush things as Beck will absorb everything and make her hit the extra ball. That said, Beck must be feeling tired after her tussle the day before, so I think an upset is possible here.

Pick: Knapp in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Serena Williams, Klara Zakopalova, Yvonne Meusburger
Upset alert: Annika Beck

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