Semi final day in Quebec.
McHale handed me another third set defeat. I have been going against Hercog all week but finally accepted that she had found her form away from the clay. She cruised through the first set but then her serve began to fail. No one had broken her all week but suddenly McHale could almost break at will.
Erakovic weathered the storm that Tomljanovic blew in. Having started well and going a break ahead Erakovic was broken back as the match took on the same pattern as Tomljanovic’s match with Mattek Sands. As in that match she broke back and went on to take the set before losing set 2. Tomljanovic took the lead in the third set but Erakovic turned it around to win 7-5.
Their only previous meeting was at the Australian Open last year and McHale took that in 3 sets. A fair bit has happened since then. McHale was absent from the tour through illness and Erakovic has been finding more consistency.
Stats for the last 3 months all favour Erakovic but it is only very recently that McHale started to find her form again so it perhaps more realistic to look at stats for just this tournament. McHale matches up a little better but Erakovic still edges all the major statistics.
I am favouring Erakovic for this one but I think it will be very tight. She starts as slight underdog but I think she will play the big points slightly better.
Update: The first set was poor with 7 of the 10 games being breaks.
Erakovic took it at then raced to a 5-0 lead in set 2. She relaxed (understandably) and McHale pulled back 3 games before Erakovic served out the match.
Erakovic won 6-4, 6-3.
Bouchard has shown signs of not being 100% this week and has her thigh heavily bandaged. Of course when I tipped against her yesterday she was absolutely fine and Mladenovic might have done better if she had given her racquet to one of the ball girls.
Today Bouchard is favourite against Wildcard Safarova who has reached this stage without losing a set.
I thought Bouchard might get nervous with the weight of expectation from the home crowd but she seemed to thrive on it yesterday.The last 3 times she played a left hander she lost the match although they were all top players (Kerber, Makarova and Kvitova) and her other 2013 match against a left hander saw her beat Robson.
This week service stats favour Safarova but return stats are slightly in the Canadian’s favour. Bouchard has started quickly in all her previous matches. 3-0 against Mladenovic, 4-0 against Karantcheva and 4-0 against Arvidsson all put her in a strong position for the opening set and suggests that she is coming into her matches correctly prepared mentally.
The crowd will try to play their part but I don’t think it will be enough. I’ll take Safarova to win in 2 tight sets or in 3. Even though Mladenovic was poor last night she still put pressure on many of the Bouchard service games.
Update: Bouchard again made a great start and took a 4-1 lead. Safarova broke back but Bouchard took the set. After that Safarova used her experience to control the match though Bouchard fought hard.
Safarova won 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.