The last 8 matches of the Volvo Car Open in Charleston was settled on Friday. It was fun day of tennis with a couple of interesting matches and thus the last 4 line-up has been settled. Read on for previews for a Bertens vs Keys and Goerges vs Sevastova…
1.  Kiki Bertens (No.27) vs  Madison Keys (No.14)
Bertens fought off a hip tweak and a late comeback from Alize Cornet to seal her spot in the semifinals, 6-2 7-5. The scoreline and final match stats do not show justice to how fun a match this was! Both players are true clay court specialists and that resulted in many long and fun rallies. However, there was always a sense that Bertens was in charge of most of the longer rallies as she was constantly turning defense into offense with her stellar movement and more powerful first serve. Cornet landed 77% of first serves in play in the first set but the serve rarely exceeded 90 mph and was broken in all five of her service games.
Bertens broke Cornet’s serve in the second set but it was this stunning backhand winner linked above that really changed the momentum of the set. Cornet looked much more focused, and was really starting to get under the skin of Bertens with some fabulous winners. However Bertens did really well to hold serve continually under pressure, but before serving for the match at 5-4 she took a medical timeout for a hip tweak. It could really have been the turning point of the match but Bertens continued her positive play amidst the injury, and capitalised on some erratic play by the Frenchwoman in the final game to book her spot in her first semifinal of 2018. Both players are ones to look out for during this clay court swing.
Keys is also in her first semifinal of the year as she posted victories over Lara Arruabarrena (6-1 3-6 6-3) , Camila Giorgi (6-4 6-3) and Bernanda Pera (6-2 6-7(5) 7-5). The win against Pera seemed like a typical Keys match where she encountered a second set blip before coming to win in three sets. Keys even had two match points in the second set tiebreak but refocused well in the end. This week has been largely unconvincing for Keys but wins and wins and her confidence will definitely be growing after every match.
Thoughts: Bertens beat Keys 7-6, 6-3 in their previous match on the clay of Paris and I’m expecting a very similar scoreline here. Bertens has the power to deal with Keys’ groundstrokes, and she is the more solid player, especially on this surface. Her defense was spectacular against Cornet and if the hip’s not affecting her, I think she will be able to cause a lot of problems for Keys.
Final Prediction: Kiki Bertens d. Madison Keys in two sets
2.  Julia Goerges (No.13) vs  Anastasija Sevastova (No.16)
Goerges has found back her form which saw her ride a 15-match winning streak at the end of last year to this year, beating defending champion Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-3. Kasatkina made a bright start to the match by hitting three winners in her first service game and breaking serve, however it was downhill from then on as she reverted to passive play and was way far behind the baseline. Credit to Goerges though as her serve was on fire and was maintaining tons of depth on her groundies. Goerges fired down 9 aces, won 84% of first serve points, and was mostly consistent, just like how she was in January.
Sevastova was her typical consistent self as she dismantled Kristyna Pliskova, 6-4 6-0. Looking at the stats, I was surprised Pliskova only won 64% of first serve points, far apart from her match against Vesnina where she won 88%. Sevastova didn’t even face a single break point and broke Pliskova’s serve four times. Impressive.
Thoughts: I was pretty sold on Goerges’ performance – very solid, very good on serve so I’m not going for my original draw pick in Sevastova. Goerges leads the head to head 4-3.
Final Prediction: Julia Goerges d. Anastasija Sevastova in three sets
Charleston predictions can be found at the top of the page or by clicking the link here! Thank you for reading!