French Open Women’s Semi-Finals preview

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By Jake Davies

  • Garbiñe Muguruza and Samantha Stosur do battle in the first Women’s semi-final
  • Serena Williams and Kiki Bertens meet for the second time at Grand Slam level.
PARIS, FRANCE: The Roland Garros women’s semi-finals takes place on Day 13 of the second Grand Slam of the year

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Garbine Muguruza [4] vs Samantha Stosur [23] – H2H: Stosur leads 1-0

The head to head looks particularly close and this match could be the close, competitive three setter that many will be longing for. The only previous meeting between the two saw Stosur win in a tight three set match in the Mutua Madrid Open on the red clay, in 2014.

Muguruza and Stosur both have clay court pedigree and definitely understand the dimensions of a clay court. Muguruza grew up on the Spanish clay during her younger years, while Stosur made the French Open final in 2010 losing to Francesca Schiavone in the final.

The Australian had a fruitful clay court season. In Prague she made the final losing to last year’s French Open finalist Lucie Safarova. Her most satisfying run came in Madrid, where she made the semi-finals before falling to Simona Halep. It can also be argued that Muguruza is enjoying a purple patch of success. A semi-final run in Rome was enough to suggest that the Spaniard was slowly returning to the same form that served her so well in the latter stages of 2015.

This will be a close match and should feature many momentum shifts. Stosur will be searching for her final great achievement under the guidance of coach Dave Taylor, who has already announced this will be his final tournament coaching Stosur. Unlike Stosur, Muguruza has yet to taste grand slam success and will be yearning for her first grand slam title with Sam Sumyk.

Muguruza’s strongest shot is her backhand down the line, but an interesting talking point will be whether she can attack the Stosur backhand, which is by the far the weakest shot in the Stosur game.

Prediction: Muguruza in three sets.

Serena Williams [1] vs Kiki Bertens – H2H: Williams leads 1-0

Williams will compete in the fifth Roland Garros semi-final of her career. The least successful grand slam by Williams’s very high standards, but she will still hold the cards to her success in a match against Bertens in the semi-final on Friday?

Her opponent is relatively unknown at this stage of a major. Bertens is a dangerous player that has a tendency to win a string of matches in succession when high on confidence. A confident Bertens will cause problems for most players and she has demonstrated that with her win over Angelique Kerber in the first round of the French Open.

Williams leads the head to head 1-0. The only meeting came in the US Open of last year, in which Williams won in straight sets. Bertens will strike the ball with a lot more velocity and depth than Williams quarter-final opponent Yulia Putintseva, who forced the World No.1 to rally from a set down. The 21-time Grand Slam champion did not play her best tennis in her quarter-final but managed to find the win from somewhere, like all great champions do.

Prediction: Williams in three sets.