The first Volvo Car Open semi-final sees Russia’s Daria Kasatkina play Germany’s Laura Siegemund for a place in the final. Both Kasatkina and Siegemund have both produced some startling clay court results. Of course, Siegemund made the final of the tournament in Stuttgart last year and has flown onto the tennis radar at a relatively late time in her career, while Kasatkina has been a tough proposition on the clay from a very early age.
A former Roland Garros junior champion the Russian has had a tough time in 2017 in backing up a breakout 2016 season, but it was never in doubt that she would find her range and her form on her beloved clay. It is a compelling match-up, which could go either way.
Kasatkina has to target Siegemund’s forehand with her heavy, loopy shots from the baseline. The German is much more comfortable and much more dangerous on the backhand side and can trade from that wing all day long. If Kasatkina can find a way to eliminate Siegemund’s backhand from the match then I can only see the Russian winning this semi-final.
Prediction: Kasatkina in three sets
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs Jelena Ostapenko H2H: Ostapenko leads 1-0
In a very different match-up to the first semi-final, 2017 Australian Open semi-finalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroniwill take on Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko. When you look at the game styles of both players they love to strike a flat ball from the baseline and look to be aggressive from the first strike onwards.
The green clay of Charleston is considerably different to the usual red clay. It plays slightly faster to the clay of Roland Garros which explains why two players that usually prefer fast conditions are showing some semblance of form at the Volvo Car Open this week.
A win for Lucic-Baroni would put her in the World’s Top 20 for the first time in her career, which further explains how much this match means for the Croatian, who continues to improve even at the age of 35.
Ostapenko leads the head-to-head narrowly with a win over the Croatian in Auckland earlier this year. The Latvian hit a total of 40 winners against Caroline Wozniacki in yesterday’s quarter-final with most of the winners coming from her forehand side. The Latvian goes in as slight favourite in this match-up.
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