2018 Stuttgart WTA Semifinal Previews: Vandeweghe vs Garcia, Pliskova vs Kontaveit

It’s semifinals Saturday in Stuttgart after a bruising quarterfinals day which saw three of the four matches on Centre Court decided in three-set epics. In the end, we have two surprising semifinal match-ups for us in Vandeweghe-Garcia and Pliskova-Kontaveit. It’s going to be a very fun day in Stuttgart so let’s get on with the previews…

1. CoCo Vandeweghe (No.16) vs [6] Caroline Garcia (No.7)

Vandeweghe progressed to her first semifinal of the year courtesy of a 6-4 6-1 win over the current World No.1 Simona Halep. I am the first to admit that I’m not a fan of CoCo but her performances this week have been really impressive. She’s mentioned a ton of times that she isn’t a fan of the clay, but on the court she doesn’t seem like she does so, as she’s able to slide round the courts pretty well.

Garcia’s progression to the semifinals has been completely different from Vandeweghe – while the American only dropped one set enroute, Garcia was pushed to three sets in all of her victories against Maria Sharapova, Marta Kostyuk and Elina Svitolina. Garcia’s level has been up and down in all matches but her ability to find the shots when needed paid off in the end.

Thoughts: This definitely wasn’t the semifinal anyone was expecting (my predictions this week have been a mess!) – both players have barely gotten any quality wins this season, and Vandeweghe has never produced any good results on the dirt in the past. This week would have definitely given both players a confidence boost. In terms of a winner, I’m stumped – I wonder if fatigue will start to set in for Garcia after three tough three-set matches, but I’m not convinced either Vandeweghe will be able to sustain her level she had all week. I’ll go for Garcia in three…

Final Prediction: Caroline Garcia d. CoCo Vandeweghe in three sets

2. [5] Karolina Pliskova (No.6) vs Anett Kontaveit (No.31)

After an unspectacular start to the season, you can truly say Pliskova is finally back, especially her serve. Pliskova has hit a combined 35 aces this week in wins over clay court specialist Kiki Bertens, Veronika Kudermetova and Jelena Ostapenko. When the serve’s there for Pliskova, it definitely gives her a huge confidence boost as the free-flowing tennis starts to appear as well. Her movement on the clay this week has leaved me impressed as well, as showcased in her win over Ostapenko. Pliskova was completely outhit throughout that whole match but her serve was there for her the whole time (68% first serve percentage and 14 aces).

Kontaveit needed two hours and 55 minutes to outmaneuver Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5 6-7(6) 7-4, to secure her place into her first semifinal of the year. This was a fiery and hard-hitting encounter and it was refreshing to see them give their all. It was pretty topsy-turvy too as Kontaveit was unable to serve out the first set at 5-4, while Pavlyuchenkova needed five set points in the second set to force the match into a decider. Pavlyuchenkova did well to mix up the rhythm, but Kontaveit’s hitting was just too much for the Russian who lost serve in the final game after the Estonian failed to serve the match out.

Thoughts: It’s going to be a big-hitting encounter… I have more faith in Pliskova with her big serve and Kontaveit’s serving-out-matches nerves. This match-up will also require Pliskova’s footwork to be at full speed; I think she’ll be able to do it this time too.

Final Prediction: Karolina Pliskova d. Anett Kontaveit in two sets

Stuttgart predictions can be found at the top of the page or by clicking the link here! Thank you for reading!

 

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