(Q) Tsvetana Pironkova vs (2) Petra Kvitova
Defending champion Tsvetana Pironkova will face by her toughest challenge of the week when she takes on Petra Kvitova in the second Semi-Final of the Apia Sydney International. This will be a rematch of last years semi-final where Tsvetana Pironkova notched up her first win over the Czech in a stunning upset.
Tsvetana Pironkova progressed through to the Semi-Finals after a comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Tsvetana played better than Barbora at critical stages during the opening set and ran away with the match during the second as Strycova lost her cool.
Having been denied a wildcard entry and being forced to qualify despite being the defending champion , the Bulgarian has now won a stunning 14 consecutive matches at the Sydney International. Tsvetana will now need to overcome a determined Petra Kvitova if her fairytale run in continue.
Petra's route to Semi-Finals was less straightforward. Petra was forced to overcame an inspired performance from Jarmila Gajdosova, coming from a set down to eventually prevail 4-6 6-3 6-4. Jarmila played incredible tennis at times throughout the match, matching Kvitova from the baseline. However Kvitova was able to click into an extra gear when she needed to.
Gajdosova had a break point to serve for the match late in the third set but Petra stepped up to serve her way out of trouble. Petra then broke to love and served out the match comfortably to set up a rematch of last year's semi-final with Tsvetana Pironkova. After the match Petra mentioned that she remembers last year's semi-final loss to the Bulgarian and she is desperate for revenge on Thursday evening.
Petra has a 3-1 head to head record over Tsvetana. Their most recent encounter was last year's semi-final in Sydney where Pironkova prevailed 6-4 6-3 on route to winning the first WTA title of her career.
Petra will be well aware of the threat Tsvetana poses and should therefore be fully focused from the outset. It will take an almighty effort for Pironkova to defeat a determined Petra Kvitova, I don't think she is up to it.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova to defeat Tsvetana Pironkova in straight sets