2018 Qatar Total Open Quarterfinal Preview: Caroline Wozniacki vs Angelique Kerber

It’s a blockbuster quarterfinal lineup at the Premier 5 event in Doha, and I’ve picked the best out of the lot, Caroline Wozniacki vs Angelique Kerber for a match preview. Both players have had outstanding seasons; who will come through in this Polish Sister rivalry? Read on for the preview…

Doha Quarterfinals

[1] Caroline Wozniacki (No.1) vs [8] Angelique Kerber (No.9)

Wozniacki’s route to this stage

R1: BYE

R2: d. Carina Witthoeft, 6-2 6-0

R3: d. Monica Niculescu, 7-5 6-1

Most of the Grand Slam champions in the last year has struggled in 2018 – talk about Jelena Ostapenko, Garbine Muguruza and Sloane Stephens. They have not pushed on after winning their maiden Slams (exception of Muguruza), mostly dropping matches under the stressful media pressure and packed pressures. However one player who has been able to push on after winning their maiden Slam is Caroline Wozniacki. Obviously she is a veteran and is experienced in all aspects of the game, but it is highly encouraging to see her play aggressive tennis after the Australian Open. Since winning the AO, Wozniacki has reached the quarterfinals of St.Petersburg, and has now progressed to another quarterfinal in Doha this week. The Dane breezed past Carina Witthoeft and Monica Niculescu in straight sets, but will now face a way tougher challenge in 2-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber.

 

 

Kerber’s route to this stage

R1: BYE

R2: d. Samantha Stosur, 6-4 6-1

R3: d. [10] Johanna Konta, 1-6 6-1 6-3

It feels like I’ve been writing about Angie Kerber on the blog once again, and it’s true, because the German has been going deep so frequently into tournaments this year! After a well-documented year full of struggles, Kerber has turned up the screw in 2018, amassing a 15-1 win-loss record thus far, with a final appearance in the Hopman Cup, a title in Sydney, and the semifinals in the Australian Open, losing out in the best match of the year thus far to Simona Halep. Kerber has brought her form to the Middle East, and has started her Qatar Total Open campaign breezily, blasting past Samantha Stosur in straights. Kerber was her usual consistent self there, and Stosur was mistiming too many forehands and missing too many balls to put up a decent fight. Against Johanna Konta, Angie experienced a lull in the first set, but rebounded nicely to take the next two sets and complete the comeback. Angie will need to need to be consistent throughout the whole match tomorrow, when facing the No.1 Wozniacki.

 

Head to head: Kerber leads the head to head 8-5. The pair hasn’t met since 2016, where Kerber defeated Wozniacki in straight sets to progress to the US Open final. On hard courts, the rivalry is tied at 5 wins apiece.

Stat: Both of these players are at at the top of the win-list this year. Wozniacki leads the win list with 14 wins to 2 losses, while Kerber has 11 wins to 1 loss.

Final thoughts: Trying to take my biased hat off (see incident where Wozniacki complained about Niculescu’s grunt) I think this will be a relatively close match. Both players are mainly counter-punchers and will look to try to be the more aggressive player. If both players are at their peak aggressive mode I think it will be Kerber who succeeds – she has the slightly more firepower than Wozniacki and possesses all the angles as a left-handed player. Her serve has also been widely improved from 2017; if she is able to succeed in all these areas, I think she will record a ninth win against Wozniacki today.

Prediction: Angelique Kerber d. Caroline Wozniacki in three sets

Doha predictions are here! Thank you for reading!

 

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