Thursday, June 07, 2012

2012 FRENCH OPEN: Women's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the Women's Semifinals at the 2012 Roland Garros. This year I previously predicted 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals correctly and predicted 4 of 4 men's quarterfinals correctly. Last year I correctly predicted 1 of 2 men's semifinals and 1 of 2 women's semifinals.

Samantha Stosur AUS (6) vsSara Errani ITA (21).  The  only quarterfinal prediction that I got wrong was the match-up between Errani and surging lefty Angelique Kerber. I expected that since Kerber had won a major quarterfinal before and Errani had not, experience would decide the match instead of tennis. But what happened was that Kerber was very nervous and Errani was able to hold her nerve and calmly dismiss her higher ranked opponent in straight sets 6-3 7-6(2). Nothing succeeds like success and Errani has been on a tear all year long, winning 8 titles (3 singles and 5 doubles) on the WTA Tour. The other quarterfinal in this half of the draw was Stosur versus the little giant-killer Dominika Cibulkova. I expected this match to be pretty close, but instead it ended up being a blowout by Stosur 6-4 6-1. The career head-to-head between these two players is a decided advantage to the Australian, with 5 wins in as many meetings, including their last meeting which was on clay in Rome just a few weeks ago. Stosur has been one of the best players on clay of the last couple years, and reaching her 2nd Roland Garros final in 3 years will confirm and cement that status. PREDICTION: Stosur in 2 sets.

Maria Sharapova RUS (2) vs.  Petra Kvitova CZE (4) These two "Big Babes" have already played each other in one major final and a major semifinal in the last 3 majors (2011 Wimbledon final won by Kvitova and the 2012 Australian Open semifinal won by Sharapova) and are quickly forming a rivalry which  is beginning to dominate the top of women's tennis. In this tournament the two have pretty similar stats, with both serving 10 aces over 5 rounds but with Sharapova having 23 double faults to Kvitova's 20. Also, the two are very close in the number of winners hit, with Sharapova hitting 126 but Kvitova hitting 131. Sharapova has only hit111 unforced errors (+15) while Kvitova has hit 123 (+8). Additionally, Kvitova has played two 3-set matches while Sharapova has only played one.  This analysis of the numbers would suggest that Sharapova is playing better tennis, against higher ranked opponents. Head-to-head Sharapova leads 3 to 2 including a win on clay in Stuttgart in April. The stars appear to be aligning to assist Sharapova in returning to the top of the rankings and complete the career grand slam. PREDICTIONSharapova in 3 sets.

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