Iga Swiatek  v Veronika Kudermetova  | H2H: Swiatek leads 3-0
Iga Swiatek has reached her favourite time of year after a disappointing hard court swing in America. After winning the title in Stuttgart, Swiatek has continued her clay court dominance in Madrid and now looks to cement her status as favourite for Roland Garros by winning the one clay court title that is missing from her collection. Standing in her way is 12th seed Veronika Kudermetova who produced a statement win over reigning finalistJessica Pegula in the last round and is looking to cause another upset in order to reach the final.
Standing in Swiatek’s way is Kudermetova who has produced a much needed run to the semi-finals after three consecutive first round exits in Miami, Charleston and Stuttgart.
Kudermetova’s balance of power as well as intelligent point construction makes her a dangerous threat on clay as she looks to cause another upset in Madrid.
After her win over Petra Martic, Swiatek says that she is playing better with each match and isn’t too concerned with the head-to-head against Kudermetova.
“I feel like I’m playing better and better every day,” Swiatek told the WTA website.
“This is pretty great, because I didn’t know if that was going to be possible at the beginning of the tournament. But I was patient and I was hoping to get that feeling, and today was for sure a good day.
“For me, it doesn’t really matter what our head-to-head is. I’m just going to focus on myself and what I want to do on court, tactically. It’s never easy to play a semifinal. In semifinals, there are players who’ve played already a great tournament…. I’ll just be ready.”
As for Kudermetova, there was nothing but pride felt after a big victory that could be the all important momentum swing heading into Roland Garros.
“I think first set I start to play really well,” Kudermetova told the WTA website.
“On the return I do a lot of winners. I play rallies, I move her. I feel also she was a little bit tired today. First set was pretty good for myself, but in the second set, I think Jessica start to play a little bit more aggressive.
“I was maybe a little bit tired, but to be honest, in the second set I started laughing, ‘Veronika, you want to kill yourself. Again, three-set battle.’ But before the final set, I say to myself, ‘Veronika, you need to try to do something, because if you will continue to play like this you will lose for sure.
“You need to start to play a little bit more aggressive.’ It was very important to break her in the first game.”
Swiatek will continue to use her high quality returning and insane movement around the court to dictate the tempo of the rallies and turn defence into attack.
Meanwhile Kudermetova will look to serve consistently well and be incredibly aggressive in order to not allow Swiatek into the rallies.
Kudermetova needs to get off to a good start in order to have any chance of winning this match as the slower night time conditions see Swiatek as firm favourite to reach her first Madrid final.
Prediction: Swiatek in straight sets.
Aryna Sabalenka  v Maria Sakkari  | H2H: Sabalenka leads 5-3
It’s been an incredible season for Aryna Sabalenka as she continues to prove her Grand Slam champion status. After winning the Australian Open, Sabalenka has proved that she belongs at the top and now the second seed looks to continue her consistent form as she aims for a second title in the Spanish capital. Standing in Sabalenka’s way is Maria Sakkari who has rejuvenated her form on her favourite surface and will be hoping that this only the start of a consistent rest of the season which can translate into trophies.
Next up for Sabalenka is Sakkari who has rejuvenated her form on her favourite surface on clay playing some consistently good tennis.
Now Sakkari is into her 20th semi-final in the last two and a half years on the WTA tour and will be determined to start translating semi-final runs into trophies.
Speaking after her win over Mayar Sherif, Sabalenka praised her fighting spirit and commented on her mental toughness.
“I just couldn’t adjust for her game, and I was really going crazy,” Sabalenka admitted to the WTA website.
“I’m really happy that I was able to stop myself, to take a little breath and just like start everything from the beginning. Good that I was keep fighting for every point no matter what the second set. And then in the third set I didn’t give her much chances to play her game.
“I think I’m really mentally strong. I had so many matches like that when I was down in the score or when I was down with the match points and I was coming back.”
As for Sakkari, she was pleased to come through a tough match against Irina-Camelia Begu and previewed her match against Sabalenka.
“Her gameplan was very different from any other that I faced the last few years on the tour,” Sakkari admitted to the WTA website.
“It’s not easy to face those moonballs because you want to hit the ball, but you cannot because the altitude does not help you. I’m glad it was a mental win today because tennis-wise it wasn’t as good as yesterday. I’ll give myself a chance to play better tennis in a couple of days.
“We all know she’s in top form right now. She’s the one that is playing the best tennis right now, better than anyone else. Obviously it’s not hard court, her favorite surface, but she won this tournament and she’s playing very good.
“I believe I can play good on clay court, I believe I can play good here. Let’s see how it goes. I’m very curious to see how different it will play compared to other times we’ve played each other.”
Sabalenka will look to continue to serve well and dominate the rallies through her forehand as she will hope for a better start to the match than her quarter-final.
Meanwhile Sakkari will look to be more aggressive than her quarter-final as she will look to force Sabalenka into errors.
This will be an entertaining match but Sabalenka’s play under pressure and confidence will see her into a second Madrid final.
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