Monday, June 04, 2018

2018 FRENCH OPEN: Women's Quarterfinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the women's quarterfinals at the 2018 French Open. Last year I correctly predicted 2 of 4 women's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 4 of 4 men's quarterfinalsThis year I have also predicted the men's quarterfinals.

Simona Halep (ROU) [1] vs. Angelique Kerber [12] (GER). These two have faced each other 8 times and split the meetings evenly. Kerber has won the one match they played on clay while Halep won their last meeting in a major (the 2018 Australian Open semifinal). This is basically a pick 'em match. PREDICTION: Halep.

Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) [3] vs. Maria Sharapova (RUS) [28]. After getting past Serena Williams for the first time in over a decade due to the 23-time major champion's withdrawal in the 4th round, Sharapova's reward is a match with one of the hottest players in the tournament, the #3 seed who is yet to drop a set. Surprisingly, Sharapova has never lost to  Muguruza in 3 matches, but none of their meetings have come since Muguruza broke through and became a major champion herself by beating Serena here two years ago. The two have a very similar style but Muguruza is younger and more athletic. I'd put my money on youth versus experience in this match up.  PREDICTION: Muguruza.

Madison Keys (USA) [13] vs. Venus Williams (USA) [5] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ).  I was in the stands when Venus Williams lost her first round match on the first day. That opened up this section of the draw and the surprise is that the diminutive (but hard-hitting) Putintseva is who was able to take advantage of the opening and reach her first major quarterfinal. Keys has been slipping through the draw under the radar but with her powerful groundstrokes and serve she is a threat on any surface, although one would expect clay would be where her game would be the least effective. However she has not lost a set in 4 rounds. I doubt that will change in this match and so she should reach her first French Open semifinal.  PREDICTIONKeys

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [2] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) [14] vs. Sloane Stephens (USA) [10]. Many tennis watchers are entranced by Kasatkina's game, which is reminiscent of that of Martina Hingis in its versatility and virtuosity. She basically dismantled and befuddled the #2 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the round before to reach her first major quarterfinal at age 20. Stephens is the reigning U.S. Open champion but has not really been talked about much as a potential winner here. But her game is well-suited to clay. Interestingly, these two have played twice before and each came away with a win with Stephens having won their (green) clay court meeting while Kasatkina won their meeting on hard courts this year. Stephens has much more experience at this level, so I give her the edge here but Kasatkina seems unfazed by big stages so I think it will come down to who is the better player on the day, and there's no question in my mind the American is the better athlete. PREDICTION: Stephens. 

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