In Hobart I don’t think anyone expected Zakopalova to be in the final. I certainly didn’t and have been going against her all week and will be doing so again today. Some people just never learn!
Standing in her way this time is Muguruza who is in her first WTA final. Like Zakopalova she hasn’t lost a set all week so something has to give tonight.
Zakopalova has lost her last 5 WTA finals and we have to go back to 2005 to find the last time she won a WTA title.
They have played just once before which was in 2012 on a hard court in Seoul. Zakopalova won in a third set tie break. Muguruza’s game has developed a great deal since then.
I think Muguruza may suffer a few early nerves and will probably fall behind in the opening set but once she finds her feet I feel she has a game that can take advantage of the errors that Zak is bound to produce.
Muguruza in 3 sets.
Update: Zak finally played like Zak. Muguruza won 6-4, 6-0.
In Auckland Lu has already played 4 matches. He withdrew last week and he may well be hurting. His injury hasn’t affected his play so far and he knocked out David Ferrer in straight sets last night. Ferrer won’t have been winning many cheap points on his serve so Lu will have to work a lot harder for his points against Isner.
The big American performed another Houdini act yesterday. Bautista Agut served for the match in the second set but choked it away and Isner was able to take the set in a tie break and finish the job in the third.
Lu has a good record in finals but they were all in Challenger events and also mostly in Asia. Isner lost his last 2 finals to Nadal and Del Potro although pushed things really close. He won his 4 finals prior to those.
Isner’s serve stays solid even when he is exhausted or under pressure and I think this will be enough to bring him through for the title.
Update: Isner won 7-6, 7-6.
The Sydney final sees Tomic trying to defend his only ATP title. Standing in his way is Del Potro who is using this event to prepare himself for the Australian Open.
Tomic had looked pretty good up until his semi final with Stakhovsky. He made a great start to the match but couldn’t hold onto the lead and lost the opening set in a tie break. He did fight back and a late break in the second leveled the match and he was able to hold his nerve in the third.
They have played once before and Del Potro was an easy winner but we should expect Tomic to fight in front of his home crowd to try to keep his title.
I think Del Potro will be too strong for the Aussie. I think Tomic will put up a good fight in the opening set but if it doesn’t go his way I’m not sure he has the mental strength to come back from a set down.
Update: Del Potro won 6-3, 6-1.