Kirilenko v Hantuchova:
Hantuchova is yet to lose a set as she looks to defend her title. Today she faces her toughest opponent in 26th ranked Kirilenko. Kirilenko is back after retiring at the Oz Open. She has improved as the week has gone on and for most of the first 2 sets in her semi final she made fewer errors than we expect to see from the Russian.
Hantuchova has looked vulnerable in each match since the second round. She has managed to turn around the first set each time but I think today she loses her first set of the week.
Hantuchova leads the head to heads 4-2. Kirilenko won their last match although it was back in 2008 and she started as slight favourite.
I expect Kirilenko to make the best start and will probably take the opening set. I think we see 3 sets today and its tough to pick the winner. I give a slight edge to Hantuchova.
Update: Kirilenko won the first break in the opening game. She almost held on to the end but was broken when serving for the set. They went to a tie break which Kirilenko won. Hantuchova took the lead in the second set and was able to hold serve until it was 1 set all.
Hantuchova won a late break to lead 5-3 and she was able to serve out the match.
Hantuchova won 6-7, 6-3, 6-3.
Kerber v Bartoli:
Kerber had a tough Semi with Wickmayer coming back from a set down to win 6-4 in the third. That will have taken a lot out of her, not only physically but mentally. Having lost the opening set she looked like she was close to meltdown while her coach was talking to her. However she came out swinging in the second set and controlled it from start to finish. Whether it was due to nerves or whether it was down to Wickmayer playing some excellent tennis, Kerbers’s ground strokes weren’t quite as effective as in previous rounds.
Bartoli again came back from 2-5 down to win a set. This time it was the opening set and Zakopalova was rattled by the come-back to the extent that she couldn’t win a game in the second set.
Bartoli is in front of her home crowd so it would mean even more to be able to take the title as she has never won this event.
She needs to take the first set as I feel Kerber will be the more nervous of the two players. Losing that opening set could put more pressure on the German than she can handle in a final.
I think if Bartoli takes the opening set it will be over in two. Kerber needs the opening set to have a chance but even if she does take it I think Bartoli will come through.