Friday, 25 April 2014

Stuttgart, Marrakech SF: There's no stopping Sharapova now

Maria Sharapova vs. Sara Errani

Every time Sharapova meets Errani, she will destroy the diminutive Italian. Even at her most vulnerable state now, I don't think this will change. Sara only benefited from a retirement from Carla, who unfortunately injured herself. The Italian plays her best tennis on clay, but her best just doesn't match up to Sharapova.

Pick: Sharapova in 2 sets

Jelena Jankovic vs. Ana Ivanovic

What was supposed to be a first round match became a semi-final, after Cibulkova withdrew from the event. Ana and Jelena have a long history and their matches have always been entertaining. I do not expect anything different here. Jankovic does seem to have a problem playing Ana though, as she gets too defensive and hopes that Ivanovic will implode. Conversely, Ana seems to raise her level when playing her countrywoman. Given how hard Ivanovic fought this week, I will give the edge to Ana. She is showing signs of her 2008 form and if she continues like this, she can be a dark horse for Roland Garros.

Pick: Ivanovic in 3 sets

Daniela Hantuchova vs. Romina Oprandi

Daniela didn't have to hit a single ball in her quarter-final against Peng, Looks like the Chinese will never win a singles title. The top seed will face the wily Oprandi, whose game works the best on clay. Romina has been plagued with injuries throughout her career, which is a pity as her game is fun to watch with plenty of variety. Daniela has won their only match on clay in 2011, so I believe Hantuchova has the advantage. She just has to be aggressive and not engage in gruelling rallies with the Italian.

Pick: Hantuchova in 2 sets

Maria-Teresa Torro Flor vs. Garbine Muguruza

Anyone who has watched Maria-Teresa Torro Flor play before will agree that she has a monstrous forehand. The problem with it is that it only lands in half of the time. She doesn't have the discipline to know when to pull the trigger. Looks like she's beginning to get that under control now as she advances to her first semi-final of her career. Her opponent will be daunting though, as Muguruza seeks her second title of the year. Garbine has been on a losing streak after choking her lead in Florianopolis, but has rebounded nicely here. If she keeps her game in check, I don't see why she cannot make her 3rd final of the year.

Pick: Muguruza in 2 sets

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