Friday, 10 October 2014

Linz, Osaka, Tianjin SF: Rising stars mke SF debut

Linz schedule of play:

Osaka schedule of play:

Tianjin schedule of play:

Match focus:

Anna-Lena Friedsam vs. Karolina Pliskova

I cannot comment much on Anna-Lena's game as I have honestly never seen her play before. The young German rising star has had a dream run to her semi-final debut, and will be facing the in-form Karolina Pliskova. Judging by Pliskova's form in recent months, it's a tough task for the youngster to stage another upset. The fast indoor surface suits Pliskova's huge serve, so Friedsam will need to go for her own shots more. I believe Karolina will win this and reach yet another final, her 5th this year.

Pick: Pliskova in 2 sets

Zarina Diyas vs. Luksika Kumkhum

Both these players were nominated for the Rising Stars poll to play in a mini-exhibition in Singapore, and Diyas made it to the top 2 in the Asia Pacific region. However, judging by recent form, I would have to say Kumkhum does stand a chance. Luksika's all-or-nothing game has been reaping rewards for her, capturing a gold medal in Asian games doubles and a silver in singles. If she continues to hit the lines and play with courage, she can hit the slightly underpowered Diyas off the court. Zarina will really need to be patient and "push" to irritate the Thai. With her maturing game and rising ranking, I think Diyas will eventually find a way to overcome the rather one-dimensional game of Luksika.

Pick: Diyas in 3 sets

Zheng Saisai vs. Alison Riske

Zheng Saisai makes her semi-final debut as well, showing why she's one of the rising stars coming to Singapore. Against the hard-hitting Riske, I do think she has a good chance of reaching her maiden final. Riske plays a high-risk game as her names suggests, and Saisai has the game to neutralize the flat balls that Alison is sending to her. Zheng has been patient so far with her game, and I believe she has what it takes to outlast the American and reach her first WTA final, provided her nerves doesn't get to her.

Pick: Zheng in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Camila Giorgi, Samantha Stosur
Upset alert: Peng Shuai

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