Wuhan SF #2: (5) Garbine Muguruza vs (6) Angelique Kerber
The blockbuster semi-final of the day at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open sees Garbine Muguruza take on Angelique Kerber, the winner of this semi-final will be the strong favourite to claim the title on Saturday. Garbine and Angelique have built up quite a rivalry in 2015, Angelique won their first meeting in Sydney but Garbine won when it mattered most, claiming victories at Roland Garros and Wimbledon over the German.
Garbine Muguruza is having a wonderful week in Wuhan, recapturing the form that saw her reach her first career Grand Slam final earlier this year at Wimbledon. Garbine has been close to unplayable this week when she has been at her best, the Spaniard started the week with a commanding 6-2 6-0 victory over Sloane Stephens before winning 11 of the last 12 games to defeat Ana Ivanovic 4-6 6-1 6-0. Garbine’s third set against Ivanovic was almost flawless, committing just 1 unforced error whilst blasting Ivanovic off the court in a scintillating performance.
Garbine Muguruza booked her spot in the final 4 with a commanding 6-2 6-2 victory over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. It was another superb performance by the Spaniard who never let the Slovakian settle into the match. Garbine Muguruza is now almost certain to reach her first ever WTA Finals campaign in Singapore, Garbine currently sits in 5th place in the live race and will also reach the top 5 in the rankings for the very first time when the new rankings come out next week.
Angelique Kerber is also very close to securing her spot at the upcoming WTA Finals in Singapore, Angie is up to 7th in the live race standings and can confirm her place at the season finale by claiming her fifth title of the year this week in Wuhan. Angie’s progression through the draw this week hasn’t been quite as impressive as Garbine’s, but she has done what she had needed to do. Angie started the week with a three set victory over Jelena Jankovic before defeating Camila Giorgi and CoCo Vandeweghe in straight sets.
Angie and Garbine have one of the most competitive rivalries on tour, the two seem to bring out the best in each other. Angelique Kerber holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Muguruza, however the Spaniard has won 2 of their 3 meetings in 2015 including their two most recent matches. Garbine came from a set down to defeat Angie at Roland Garros before defeating the German 7-6 1-6 6-2 in a memorable match at Wimbledon. Importantly, Kerber has won all three of their previous encounters on a hard court.
This is a really tough match to call, this is one of the most event match-ups on tour. Garbine does have the firepower to hurt Angie, however the medium pace hard courts in Wuhan probably help Angie in this match-up. Kerber will still be hurting from her previous two losses to Garbine and will be desperate for revenge on Friday evening. Furthermore, Angie’s form has been far more consistent than Garbine’s over the last couple of months so I’m going to side with her.