Apia International, Sydney ?? Semi-final #1 Preview
(2) ?? Agnieszka Radwanska vs ?? Barbora Strycova
Thursday’s first semi-final at the Apia International in Sydney features 2013 champion Agnieszka Radwanska and an in form Barbora Strycova. Radwanska has at times seemed rusty in the first couple of weeks of the season but finally seems to be hitting some form, whilst Barbora Strycova has been in great form this week but her ability to bounce back from a brutal quarter-final win over Caroline Wozniacki is very questionable. Also in the Pole’s favour is the commanding 6-0 head-to-head record she holds over Strycova.
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Apia International, Sydney ?? Semi-final #2 Preview
(6) ?? Johanna Konta vs (wc) ?? Eugenie Bouchard
Johanna Konta and Eugenie Bouchard have both rocketed through to the semi-final stage at the Apia International in Sydney, both have reached the final four in Sydney without dropping a set. Konta and Bouchard both play very similarly which should make for an interesting encounter, it was Bouchard who was victorious in their only previous match at Wimbledon last year and the Canadian’s current form suggests she could replicate that result In Sydney.
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Apia International, Sydney Quarter-Final #4
(2) ?? Agnieszka Radwanska vs (Q) ?? Ying-Ying Duan
Agnieszka Radwanska and Ying-Ying Duan will go head to head for the second time in as many weeks when they battle for a spot in the semi-finals at the Apia International in Sydney. Duan came extremely close to upsetting Radwanska in the first round in Shenzhen last week, Duan held a commanding lead in the final set and had several match points but Radwanska managed to fend them off and escape with the victory. The Polish second seed will be aiming for a more convincing win on this occasion as she searches for a second Apia International title.
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Apia International, Sydney Quarter-Final #1
Daria Kasatkina vs (6) Johanna Konta
Daria Kasatkina and Johanna Konta will meet for the first occasion on Wednesday when they meet at the quarter-final stage of the Apia International in Sydney. Kasatkina and Konta both rocketed up the rankings in 2017 and will both enter this clash full of confidence after meaningful straight set victories on Tuesday.
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Apia International, Sydney Quarter-Final #2
(wc) Eugenie Bouchard vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Eugenie Bouchard and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova are two ladies that have failed to live up to their expectations in the last few seasons. Both will be looking to reignite their careers in 2017 and both have made a positive start to achieving this goal at the Apia International in Sydney. Wednesday’s quarter-final will be the first ever meeting between Bouchard and Pavlyuchenkova and it promises to be a fascinating one.
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Apia International, Sydney Quarter-Final #3
(10) Caroline Wozniacki vs Barbora Strycova
Caroline Wozniacki and Barbora Strycova will meet on the seventh occasion when they collide at the quarter-final stage of the Apia International in Sydney. This is always an interesting match-up between two ladies that give very little away, it will be tough to win a points out there. Wozniacki and Strycova both enter this match in good form and will see this match as a very winnable one.
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Apia International, Sydney R2 Preview
(3) ?? Dominika Cibulkova vs (wc) ?? Eugenie Bouchard
Dominika Cibulkova and Eugenie Bouchard will go head-to-head for a fifth time on Tuesday when they meet at the second round stage at the Apia International in Sydney. Eugenie Bouchard currently holds a 3-1 record over Cibulkova but the pair have had contrasting results of last with Cibulkova clearly entering the Australian summer with greater form and a higher level of confidence and reliability in her game.
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Apia International, Sydney R2 Preview
(1) ?? Angelique Kerber vs ?? Daria Kasatkina
Angelique Kerber begins her Apia International campaign on Tuesday with a tricky second round clash against Daria Kasatkina. The top seeded German received a bye into the second round having arrived in Sydney on the back of a disappointing quarter-final loss to Elina Svitolina in Brisbane. It is important for Kerber to get wins under her belt this week in Sydney as she aims to be as prepared as possible to defend her title at Melbourne Park next week.
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Sydney SF #2: (8) Belinda Bencic vs (Q) Monica Puig
Monica Puig’s fairy tale run in Sydney continues on Thursday night where she comes up against Belinda Bencic in the second semi-final at the Apia international. This will be the first every meeting between the pair and should be a highly competitive match between two in form players on the rise.
Belinda Bencic has had a strange week in Sydney, the Swiss rising-star has been very inconsistent throughout her matches but importantly she has played pretty well at the important moments. Bencic started the week with a nervy three set victory over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni before defeating former champion Tsvetana Pironkova in straight sets. Bencic’s biggest test came at the quarter-final stage where she claimed a 6-0 2-6 6-4 win over Ekaterina Makarova. There were some anxious moments at the end of the match for Bencic, Makarova threatened to break and serve for the match in the eighth game but Bencic held her nerve before breaking Makarova to love in the very next game. Bencic had trouble closing out the match but her ability to save 11 of 14 break points was the difference in the end.
Monica Puig is having an outstanding week in Sydney, reaching her first ever premier level semi-final. Puig has had a long week, winning 3 matches to advance through the qualifying draw before recording victories over Magdalena Rybarikova, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Sam Stosur. Puig’s most impressive performance came at the quarter-final stage where she defeated Sam Stosur 6-4 6-4. Monica Puig’s service numbers were extremely impressive, the Porta Rican fired 14 aces past Stosur, including 5 second serve aces. Puig was able to save both of the break points she faced with big serves down the tee.
Bencic will rightfully start a clear favourite here and I believe she should find a way to get the job done. Puig has played some great tennis this week but she is very inexperienced in situations like this and does have a bit of a reputation for not handling pressure well. Belinda Bencic is now quite experienced in matches like this and is not daunted by the occasion. Bencic will probably be too solid and consistent for Puig from the baseline and should win this in a close one.
Prediction: Belinda Bencic to defeat Monica Puig in 3 sets
Sydney SF #1: (1) Simona Halep vs Svetlana Kuznetsova
Thursday’s first semi-final of the day at the Apia International in Sydney sees the top seeded Simona Halep come up against a resurgent Svetlana Kuznetsova. Simona Halep’s injury interrupted Australian Open preparation seems to finally be back on track. The Romanian looked much stronger in her quarter-final victory over Karolina Pliskova but will face a much more physical test on Thursday when she comes up against a determined Svetlana Kuznetsova on the Ken Rosewall Arena.
Svetlana Kuznetsova is having a great week in Sydney. The Russian veteran’s level has progressively improved. Svetlana easily accounted for Tammi Patterson in the first round before coming from a set down to defeat Sabine Lisicki. It was during her quarter-final clash that Svetlana produced her most impressive display to defeat Sara Errani 7-6 6-0. Kuznetsova trailed 1-5 in the first set before finding some of her best form to win 12 of the last 14 games against an opponent that doesn’t give anything away cheaply. Svetlana is full of momentum heading into her next match.
Simona Halep seems to be progressively finding form in Sydney. Halep started the week with uncertainty surrounding her participation in the event and struggled with an achilles injury during her 6-4 2-6 6-1 victory over Caroline Garcia. Simona moved much better in her second match where she defeated Karolina Pliksova 6-4 7-5, Simona was at her defensive best for periods of the match as Karolina threw absolutely everything at her. In the end Simona was just too solid for a sometimes erratic Pliskova.
The head-to-head record between Simona and Svetlana is split at 3 wins apiece, suggesting that this is a very even match-up. Simona won the most recent clash between the pair, a 6-2 6-2 victory over a fatigued Kuznetsova at the quarte-final stage of Roland Garros in 2014. Svetlana defeated Simona 7-5 7-6 a couple of weeks earlier in Stuttgart. The two haven’t played on a surface other than clay since 2011.
This will be a really tough match for Halep, it will certainly test out her fitness. Simona’s first two opponents didn’t want to engage in long rallies and gifted Simona many free points, that will not be the case here against Kuznetsova. This is a tough match to call given the lingering uncertainty surrounding Halep’s injury problems. Injury problems aside, Simona should be too good for Svetlana, the Romanian can do most things better than Svetlana.
Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2 sets