Li and Sharapova are first up. Both played extremely well in their quartter finals. Li was underdog on Betfair but held her game together better than Azarenka . Sharapova started as favourite against Petkovic who many people fancied to win the match but no one expected a first set win of 6-0 for the Russian. If she can reproduce that firsts et form today then its hard to see anyone beating her.
They have played 3 times in the last 2 years and the head to head for that period is 2-1 to Li ( over all h2h is 5-2 Sharapova ) although Sharapovo won their only “recent” game on clay. I felt yesterday’s windy conditions would affect Sharapova more than Petkovic but in reality she just totally ignored the wind and kept going for the lines. Her aggressive style in that first set allowed her to hit through the wind.
I have to go with Sharapova today. If she came out strong in a quarter final she will be the same in a semi. She clearly wants this title and feels she has a great chance of achieving that goal. Li will need a drop in Sharapova’s intensity to give her a chance and she must take advantage when it happens. If she misses her chance this could be over in straight sets.
Bartoli v Schiavone: Their head to heads are 4-1 to Schiavone. They have never met on clay.
Schiavone made a terrible start to her quarter final against Pavlyuchenkova losing it 1-6. She managed to turn it around but that has to be a worry both for her and for anyone putting money on her. The crowd played its part in lifting her but today she faces French woman Bartoli. You have to expect the majority of the spectators to be shouting for Marion.
Bartoli has been pretty impressive in this tournament ( when was the last time you saw the words Bartoli and pretty used in the same sentence?? ). She is the first French woman to make the semi finals since Mary Pierce won the title in 2000. Bartoli has said it was her childhood dream to reach the final at Roland Garros and she has proved herself to be mentally fragile enough in the past for her to be thinking about that dream rather than the bloke on the other side of the net.
Schiavone will find a way to get the job done. She will win or die trying.