The semis are very open and every player has a realistic chance of lifting the trophy.
Azarenka v Kvitova
The stats from just this tournament point to a close match with Kvitova winning it. She has had to work harder to reach this stage but despite that she has dropped just 1 set which was to Pironkova in the quarter finals.
Azarenka has also dropped just 1 set but today she has to cope with the powerfu hitting of Kvitova which is the style of play she seems to have most problem with. Azarenka’s second serve could be the weak link that Kvitova will take advatage of.
They have never played a 3 set match but I expect this to be their first. Always a chance that Azarenka has problems with fitness/health especially if this turns into a 3 set battle. I am going for Kvitova to win in 3 sets.
Update: Kvitova easily took the opening set with Azarenka creating very few chances against serve. Kvitova lost some intensity at the start of the second set and Azarenka was able to break. She held on to take the set. The deciding set was all Kvitova and she won it and the match 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.
Sharapova v Lisicki
They have played just once before which was on a hard court in Miami in March and Sharapova won 6-2, 6-0. This is a very different Lisicki though and her serve has been excellent. When she was serving at 5-4 for the match against Bartoli it was her ground strokes that faltered. Her serve was sound enough. She used the drop shot frequently against Marion who isn’t known for her movement around court. That won’t be as effective against Sharapova.
Sharapova has been in this situation before. There is nothing new for her. Lisicki won’t have expected to reach this stage of the tournament and may take a little longer to settle into the match than her opponent.
I expect Sharapova’s experience to come through but I don’t see it being another easy win for her. Lisicki was fortunate in a way that her choke against Bartoli at 5-4 in the second set took her into a third set against a very tired opponent. If she gets her nose in front in this match any choke will mean her chance is gone.
I think 2 tight sets is the most likely way that this match will go with an outside chance of 3 but I see Sharapova going through to the final.
Update: Sharapova couldn’t serve to save her life in her opening service game and Lisiscki moved to 3-0. Shara sorted herself out after that and pulled the break back. She took the set . In the second set i thought Lisicki might put up more of a fight but it was Sharapova’s turn to take a 3-0 lead. She held on to take the match 6-4, 6-3.