Cibulkova v Kanepi:
Cibulkova has been the surprise of the week for me. With her leg heavily bandaged I thought she would fall to Zvonareva but came back from a set down. Vesnina must have thought it was her week as she has played some awful tennis but Cibulkova brought back some sense of reality in their semi final with an embarrassingly easy win.
Kanepi has given us variety this week. Sometimes hitting the lines and looking like Superwoman and sometimes unable to get the simple returns in play. In her semi final with Safarova she was able to keep the errors down a little better than her opponent coming back from a set down.
The players start more or less even on the market which is understandable as choosing a winner is a bit of a coin toss. Potentially Kanepi has the game to take this and she does lead the head to heads 2-0. She will need he big groundstrakes to find the target consistently to get past Cibulkova this week.
Their most recent match which was this season was a 3 setter and I will be surprised if this one isn’t the same. I’ll be waiting to lay the first set winner.
Slight edge to Kanepi for me.
Update: Kanepi took the opening set and then followed the plan by losing the second.
Cibulkova won 3-6, 7-6, 7-5.
Tipsarevic v Troicki:
Troicki has scraped through all his matches this week. His serve has been working ok but he hasn’t been taking many chances while returning. In his semi final with Chardy it was just 1 break between them in each set. The quarter final was a 3 setter with 3 tie breaks.
Tipsarevic started the week badly losing the opening set to Kunitsyn but that seemed to spark him into life. He has looked impressive since then taking out in form Tursunov and Davydenko in straight sets.
Return of serve will be the difference today and Tipsarevic is streets ahead in that respect.
Update: Tipsarevic won 6-4, 6-2.
Azarenka v Niculescu:
Unless Azarenka retires I don’t see much hope for Niculescu.
In the semi final Niculescu was the weaker player in the first 2 sets but some simple errors at key moments from Keothavong kept handing chances back to her.
I don’t see Niculescu having anything to trouble Azarenka.
Update: Azarenka won 6-2, 6-2.
Monfils v Nieminen:
Both players have had scares this week. Monfils was a break down in his third set against Tomic but the Australian choked. Monfils was also a set down against Raonic but used his experience to break down the young Canadian.
Nieminen started the week well with a couple of straight sets wins including one against Wawrinka in the second round. His first set against Kamke was disappointing. Having broken the German’s serve at the first attempt he found a way to lose the first set. He finally found a way to break in the second set and that was enough to get the upper hand. he had a tough 3 setter with American Blake who had knocked out Del Potro earlier in the week.
They played last month and it was Monfils who came through in 2 very tight sets.
Monfils doesn’t have a good record in finals but hismental strength has gone up a notch in the last 12 months. I have to go with the Frenchman to get the win having seen that Kamke set from Nieminen.
This will be a good test of the “new” Monfils. 1.31 is too low though and i’ll be waiting for a higher entry point.
Update: Monfils won 7-5, 3-6, 6-2.