Stanford SF #1 Varvara Lepchenko vs (4) Karolina Pliskova
The first semi-final at the 2015 Bank of the West Classic in Stanford sees the unseeded American: Varvara Lepchenko take on the fourth seeded Karolina Pliskova. Varvara and Karolina have had contrasting seasons, this will be Lepchenko’s second semi-final of the year, whilst Pliskova will be competing in her sixth semi-final of the year.
Varvara Lepchenko reached her second consecutive semi-final in Stanford with an impressive 6-7 6-2 6-3 victory over Mona Barthel. Lepchenko looked to be struggling physically and it seemed doubtful that she would be able to come back from a set down. However the American dug deep, producing some inspiring tennis to get the better of a determined Mona Barthel in a tick under two and half hours.
Karolina Pliskova’s route to the semi-finals has been far more straightforward. Pliskova moved relatively comfortably through to the final four with straight set victories over Kimiko Date-Krumm and Ajla Tomljanovic. Pliskova’s serve has unsurprisingly been her biggest weapon, the Czech hasn’t been broken yet this week, saving all nine break points she has faced.
Pliskova will enter this match full of confidence. Karolina has a perfect 2-0 head to head record over Lepchenko. Their most recent encounter came in the Seoul Final last year, Pliskova prevailed in a tight one, 6-3 6-7 6-2.
All signs point to a Pliskova victory on Saturday. Karolina will be the fresher of the two, having only played two matches this week (both ending in straight sets). Whilst Lepchenko has already played 2 gruelling three setters and looked to be struggling physically throughout her quarter-final victory. Pliskova is more consistent and more reliable and should come through this one.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Varvara Lepchenko, 2 sets