Dubai SF #2: Barbora Strycova vs Caroline Garcia
Barbora Strycova and Caroline Garcia will do battle in Friday’s second semi-final of the day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Strycova and Garcia have both defied the odds to reach the semi-final stage and with the draw now wide open, both ladies will see this as a rare opportunity to reach a big premier level final. The winner of this match will see themselves reach their first ever premier level final, clearly a lot is on the line in this crucial match.
Barbora Strycova’s early season form was quite good, the Czech’s decent form is finally translating into victories. Strycova started her Dubai campaign with a reasonably comfortable straight set win over Tsvetana Pironkova before winning 12 of the last 13 games against Julia Goerges to claim a 2-6 6-3 6-1 win. Barbora’s best result of the tournament thus far came at the quarter-final stage where she recorded a surprise 7-6 6-3 win over Ana Ivanovic. Strycova played very clever tennis and was able to disrupt Ivanovic’s rhythm by mixing up her play very nicely from the baseline. Strycova will be confident heading into her semi-final clash with Garcia given she defeated the Frenchwoman just last month at the Australian Open.
Caroline Garcia’s promising early season form is also starting to translate into results, Garcia is having a great week in Dubai where she has reached her first ever premier level semi-final. Garcia’s week started with a straight set win over Anna Schmiedlova before requiring three sets to defeat the third seeded Carla Suarez Navarro. Garcia confirmed her spot in the semi-finals with a convincing 6-3 6-4 win over Andrea Petkovic. The French rising star was able to control her aggression really well in her win over Petkovic and also served very well throughout the match. Garcia is now on a 5 match winning streak; her last loss was to Strycova at the Australian Open.
Barbora Strycova holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Caroline Garcia and has won the last 3 matches between the pair. All 3 of Strycova’s victories were in straight sets, including a 6-2 6-4 victory at the Australian Open last month. Garcia was unable to control her aggression in that match and is clearly troubled by Strycova’s unorthodox game.
I think Strycova is likely to once again get the better of Garcia. This is not a good match-up for Garcia who struggles to hit through Strycova. Garcia has shown great resilience this week and is more than capable of winning this match if she remains focused and patient for the majority of the match, I don’t think that will happen and therefore the more experienced Strycova will make the most of this opportunity.