The Monterrey draw has stood up well, and all top 4 seeds are into the semifinals. Surprisingly, the semifinals in Monterrey are making me more excited than the ones in Charleston! Previewing World No.1 Angelique Kerber against Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who are both bidding for their first final of the year.
(1) Angelique Kerber (No.1) vs (4) Carla Suarez Navarro (No.25)
Overview: Angelique Kerber has coped well after struggling in her first rounder in Monterrey. Coming into this week with only one semifinal appearance throughout the year (Dubai), she endured a 4-6 6-0 6-4 tussle to come up tops against Francesca Schiavone. It was much easier against Mandy Minella and Heather Watson, dropping just 12 games in the next two rounds. A much tougher test comes in the form of Carla Suarez Navarro, who has beaten her three times before.
After an injury muddled first quarter of the season which saw Suarez Navarro win only a single match, she has rebounded well in Monterrey. She has not dropped a set so far this week, first beating Alison Van Uytvanck 6-2 6-4, then dismantling countrywoman Sara Sorribes Tormo with the loss of just two games. It was even simpler in the next round, serving at 85% of first serves to beat Alize Cornet 6-1, 6-1(!) It was Suarez Navarro’s highest ranked win of the season so far.
Head to head: Kerber leads the rivalry 5-3, and won their previous encounter in last year’s Cincinnati in three sets. Kerber leads the HTH on hard courts, 4-1.
Thoughts: Both players’ level have been really good in Monterrey, and I give Kerber the edge for this match. Kerber seems to be playing more aggressive here, which is a good sign, while Suarez Navarro is still adapting to being in her first semifinal of the year. In fact, it’s the Spaniard’s first tournament passing the second round stage! Predicting this to be a really close one!
Prediction: Kerber to defeat Suarez Navarro in three sets