Thursday, 22 May 2014

Strasbourg, Nurnberg SF: First time winner in Strasbourg

Christina McHale vs. Silvia Soler-Espinosa

With the Germans crashing out one after another yesterday, it is anyone's battle in Strasbourg now. McHale had been in a final once, in Acapulco this year, and lost narrowly to Cibulkova. She will most probably be in her 2nd final this year against Soler-Espinosa. The Spaniard had to play from qualifying to the semi-finals, and will no doubt be tired. Christina will not be as generous as Giorgi with her unforced errors, so she will be the hot favourite to reach the finals.

Pick: McHale in 2 sets

Madison Keys vs. Monica Puig

I was expecting an all German clash here, but Keys and Puig succeeded in upsetting their more accomplished opponents. Keys was down a break against Goerges in the third set, when she claimed the next 6 games to win the match. Looks like she's on a roll here on the red clay. Puig proved me wrong by staying strong mentally to upset Petkovic. It remains to be seen if she can replicate that performance here. In terms of mental toughness, I will still favour Keys. She has more experience in winning close matches and it's time that she reached her first tour final.

Pick: Keys in 2 sets

Karolina Pliskova vs. Elina Svitolina

With her impressive upset over Angelique Kerber, it is safe to say Pliskova is riding high on confidence. She will be bringing that forward into this match against Svitolina. These 2 have met once before, with Pliskova winning in 2 comfortable sets in 2011. I think the Czech will replicate that success as Elina had been on a 4 match losing streak prior to this event.

Pick: Pliskova in 2 sets

Karin Knapp vs. Eugenie Bouchard

Knapp snapped out of her losing ways with 3 good wins this tournament. She will now face the hot favourite, Eugenie Bouchard for her first tour final. Bouchard takes the ball very early, and will snatch time away from Knapp's long loopy strokes. Even though this is clay, Bouchard's flat strokes will cause some trouble as Karin's movement is not stellar. Eugenie should be heartened with her close win yesterday, and will carry that momentum towards this semi-finals.

Pick: Bouchard in 2 sets

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