QF #3: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs (3) Simona Halep
After a gruelling week in Toronto, Simona Halep has fought extremely hard to reach the quarter-final stage in Cincinnati. The Romanian will be aiming to reach her 7th semi-final of the year on Friday when she comes up against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter-final stage of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
There were question marks surrounding the fitness of Simona Halep heading into the Western & Southern Open. Simona played some gruelling matches in Toronto last week and was ultimately forced to retire during the deciding set in the Rogers Cup final against Bencic. Halep has defied any lingering issues this week, winning two extremely tough matches to reach the final 8.
Simona picked up a 7-5 5-7 6-4 victory over Kristina Mladenovic in the first round before recording a 4-6 6-4 6-2 win over Andrea Petkovic in the second round. The world number 3 won the final 6 games of the match, raising her game to an almighty height in the deciding set. After some disappointing results during the middle of the year, Halep seems to have regained her fighting spirit, one of her greatest assets.
Pavlyuchenkova’s season has been quite disappointing, but the Russian has made a promising start to her U.S Open series. Pavlyuchenkova reached the final in Washington and has backed up that effort with a quarter-final appearance in Cincinnati. The Russian notched up three set victories over Roberta Vinci and Yaroslova Shvedova before advancing to the final 8 courtesy of Azarenka retiring during their third round match.
Simona Halep holds a dominant 4-0 head to head record over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Romanian’s two most recent victories over Pavlyuchenkova have been quite emphatic, a 6-2 6-1 win in Moscow and a 6-3 6-3 win in Sofia, both in 2013. This is a good matchup for Simona, she does almost everything better than Pavlyuchenkova, it’s hard to think of a way that the Russian can hurt the Romanian. The biggest threat to Simona in this match will be fatigue.