Friday 22nd February 2013

A few interesting matches today. Not least is the all Italian Semi Final in Dubai.

Errani and Vinci are doubles partners. Not just doubles partners but they are the number 1 ranked pair in the world. They obviously know each other’s games really well. Both have improved their singles ranking over the last 12 to 18 months with Errani being ranked 7 to Vinci’s 17.

Errani leads the head to heads 4-2 and has won their last 4 meetings. I think today will be Vinci’s turn though as for me she has been the more impressive this week.

Errani has had 2 three set matches this week against Goerges and Petrova. Her serve isn’t a powerful one but she has used it well for the big points. She has regained her confidence that had taken a real knock over recent weeks. Vinci has helped her with this and has been at courtside for many of her matches.

Errani’s strength is her consistency and she doesn’t usually make a lot of simple errors.

Vinci has beaten Kuznetsova, Kerber and Stosur in straight sets this week. Her serve has been strong and we have even seen her hitting backhand topspin drives instead of her trademark slice. She has also been supremely consistent and despite the head to head I feel she is playing the better tennis this week.

The players are price very evenly priced  on Betfair with Errani slight favourite at 1.96. This won’t be a short match and we can expect some long rallies but I think Vinci will have the cooler head when the pressure is on. I will be waiting for  Errani to take a lead before laying her at 1.60 or better.

Update: Vinci didn’t play the tennis that had got her to the semi final. Her serve was very poor throughout the whole match. She seems less able to deal with playing her close friend than Errani.

Errani won 6-3, 6-3.


The other Semi Final will be between Kvitova and Wozniacki.

Kvitova has won their last 3 matches with the most recent 2 being decided in 3 sets. She over powered Radwanska yesterday with some impressive hitting. Rad hasn’t been in the best of form this week and the defending champion at times in that match could just stand exasperated as another Kvitova rocket flew past her.  Kvitova seemed to be going for controlled power in the early part of the match and managed to keep the unforced errors in check. As her confidence grew though she started to unleash that power and Radwanska had no reply.

Wozniacki came up against an inspired Bartoli in their quarter final. Their opening set was full of breaks of serve but it was Bartoli who took the set. In set 2 Wozniacki was in full control  and lost just 1 game. In the third Woz had a strong lead that Bartoli almost recovered but in the end Wozniacki took it 6-4.

I think in this one Kvitova will feel she has to hit the ball harder than she had to do against Radwanska. Wozniacki is a superb defender and will keep getting the ball back. Wozniacki has shown signs of trying to be more attacking especially on the back hand and I expect this to be a very tight match. If Kvitova plays at her very best then she can win this but Wozniacki seems to be playing better without the weight of world number 1 on her shoulders.  She looks fitter than she has for a long time and is my pick to reach the final.

Update: There’s not many players can live with Kvitova in that sort of form! Everything worked for her and it was a great display of powerful hitting.

Kvitova won 6-3, 6-4.

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