Category Archives: Antwerp

Andrea Petkovic vs Carla Suarez Navarro Preview, Antwerp Final

(3) Andrea Petkovic vs (5) Carla Suarez Navarro

Who could have picked this final? Andrea Petkovic and Carla Suarez Navarro have a rare chance to claim a premier level title on sunday when do battle in the final of the 2015 BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games in Antwerp. Both Petko and Carla have been extremely impressive this week, we can expect to see high quality final between these two fighters.

Carla Suarez Navarro reached her first premier level final with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory over Karolina Pliskova. Carla was in total control of the match from start to finish, making the most of her opportunities as Pliskova failed to get going. Karolina’s first serve abandoned her and she was made to pay, broken five times by the Spaniard. Without her serve, Pliskova proved to be no match for Carla who remained solid throughout the match, cruising to victory.

Carla played well under pressure as she has done all week. Carla has twice come from a set down this week, showing the fighting qualities she is famous for. The conditions in Antwerp really suit Carla, she has time to construct her shots and is able to frustrate her opponents. The Spaniard should fancy her chances in Sunday’s final.

 

Andrea’s incredible week continued on Saturday. The German was forced to work much harder for her semifinal victory but she was up to the task, claiming a 7-6 7-6 victory over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in well over 2 hours of gruelling tennis.

Andrea’s composure under pressure was the difference in this match, Strycova made some shocking decisions in critical moments, especially towards the end of the second set tiebreak. After saving eight match points in her second round match against Alison Van Uytvanck the German now has a chance to make history by claiming the title on Sunday.

 

The head to head record between Carla and Petko is split at 2-2. Interestingly, all four matches have been relatively one sided, straight set matches. Their most recent encounter took place late last year in Sofia, it was Carla who triumphed 6-0 6-4 in their first meeting since 2011.

Andrea keeps defying the odds this week, however I think her run will end on Sunday. The German admitted she was feeling tired after her quarter-final victory over Cibulkova, Carla is the type of opponent that can expose this, the Spaniard will make Petko work for every single point. Carla has been playing so well this, she now has a wonderful opportunity to claim the biggest title of her career.

Prediction: Suarez Navarro to defeat Andrea Petkovic in 3 sets

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova vs Andrea Petkovic, Antwerp SF Preview

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova vs (3) Andrea Petkovic

Saturday’s second semifinal in Antwerp sees surprise semifinalist: Barbora Zahlavova Strycova take on Andrea Petkovic for a spot in sundays final at the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games.

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova has sailed through the draw in Antwerp, winning all three of her matches in straight sets. Strycova has dropped just 14 games in 6 sets and will come into this semi-final full of confidence. Strycova dismantled a wayward Alize Cornet 6-4 6-2 in the second round before thumping Mona Barthel 6-2 6-2 in the quarter-finals.

The slow indoor conditions seem to be playing into the hands of the crafty Czech, who will certainly fancy her chances on Saturday when she comes up against Andrea Petkovic.

 

Andrea Petkovic’s stunning form continued on Friday as she defeated Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 6-0. After saving eight match points in her second round victory over Alison Van Uytvanck, the German really has nothing to lose. Petkovic made the most of her second chance with a solid victory over Domi.

Petkovic squandered eight set points in the opening set before finally closing out the set in a first set tiebreaker. Domi then called a medical timeout at the end of the opening set to have her ankle strapped, the Slovak never recovered. Domi’s movement was clearly hampered in the second set as her resistance wavered, Petko took full advantage to cruise into the semifinals.

 

Petko has a 2-1 head to head record over Strycova. The German has won their two most recent encounters, both in straight sets. Their last meeting took place in Linz back in 2012, Petkovic prevailing 7-6 6-2.

Petkovic has had an incredible week, two marathon victories in the Fed Cup and now reaching the semifinals in Antwerp. Petko showed no signs of fatigue in her victory over Domi however Strycova is bound to be the fresher of the two and that could be the biggest difference in such a close matchup. Strycova has played so well this week and I fancy she will continue her good run on Saturday with a hard fought victory over the German.

Prediction: Barbora Strycova to defeat Andrea Petkovic in 3 sets

Karolina Pliskova vs Carla Suarez Navarro, Antwerp SF Preview

(8) Karolina Pliskova vs (5) Carla Suarez Navarro

Saturday's first semifinal at the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games sees Karolina Pliskova take on Carla Suarez Navarro. Both Pliskova and Carla recorded comprehensive straight set victories on Friday to sneak one still closer to the title in Antwerp.

Karolina Pliskova advanced to the semifinals with an impressive 7-6 6-3 victory over compatriot, Lucie Safarova. Karolina was not at her best but her composure on the big points was the main difference in this match. Despite having a first serve percentage of just 51% in the opening set, Karolina managed to keep things on serve and force a tiebreaker.

It was Karolina who showed superior composure in the tiebreak, she gave very little away as Lucie faltered, double faulting to give Karolina a crucial lead. With the first set under her belt, Karolina seemed to loosen up in the second set, capturing an early break to gain complete control of the match. Pliskova clinically closed out the match, she never once looked threatened.

Carla Suarez Navarro has battled her way through to the semifinals in Antwerp. The Spaniard was forced to come from a set down in her opening two matches, before comfortably beating Francesca Schiavone 6-3 6-2. A victory here would mean a lot to Carla, reaching a rare final at an indoor event.

 

The head to head record is split at one win apiece, both matches required a third set. Karolina won their most recent encounter which took place a month ago in Sydney. Pliskova came from a set down before cruising to a 4-6 6-4 6-0 victory.

The slower conditions on Centre Court favour Carla, however Pliskova has the ability to really hit through the court with her thundering groundstrokes. Pliskova should have the edge in this match, her power will be too much for Carla too handle.

Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Suarez Navarro in 2 sets

Karolina Pliskova vs Lucie Safarova, Antwerp QF Preview

Antwerp QF: (8) Karolina Pliskova vs (4) Lucie Safarova

Friday’s most intriguing quarter-final match-up from the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games in Antwerp sees two of the tours biggest improvers over the last 12 months, Karolina Pliskova and Lucie Safarova do battle. Both ladies recorded comprehensive second round victories and will come into this match full of confidence. An extremely tight contest is to be expected.

Karolina Pliskova continues to rise up the WTA pecking order. Pliskova arrived in Antwerp on a high after guiding the Czech Republic to a commanding 4-0 victory over Canada to send the defending champions into the semi-finals of the Fed Cup. Karolina won both of her singles matches in straight sets, making the most of her opportunity to represent her nation.

Karolina kick-started her Antwerp campaign in style on Thursday, comfortably defeating Annika Beck 6-3 6-3. The zippy Court 1 really suits Karolina’s power game, the Czech blasting Beck off the court with her ever reliable serve and superior groundstrokes. Karoline will face a much tougher test on Friday when she comes up against her compatriot, Lucie Safarova.

After receiving a bye through to the second round, Lucie recorded her first main draw victory of the season by thumping Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-1 in a little over an hour. An impressive victory given how well Mladenovic has been playing lately.

Lucie now has a very real opportunity to crack the top 10 for the very first time in her career if she can claim the title this week in Antwerp. A major incentive for Lucie to go on and win the title this week, however she will have her work cut out against Pliskova on Friday.

 

This will be the first career meeting between Lucie and Karolina at a tour level event. These two know each other very well and are currently in a battle for second spot in the Czech Fed Cup team. Lucie has been chosen to play alongside Petra over the past few years however with Karolina continuing to improve that could change in the near future.

This promises to be a very close battle, there is very little to split the two. Lucie should be the fresher of the two given she did not partake in the Czech Republic’s Fed Cup tie in Canada. However I’m still going to side with Karolina on this occasion.

Karolina showed earlier this year that she is not daunted by playing her more experienced compatriots, pushing Petra Kvitova all the way in a tight final at the Sydney International. This could go either way.

Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Lucie Safarova in 3 sets

Lucie Safarova vs Kristina Mladenovic, Antwerp R2 Preview

(4) Lucie Safarova vs Kristina Mladenovic

Lucie Safarova’s quest for her first main draw victory of 2015 continues on Thursday when she takes on a red-hot Kristina Mladenovic in the second round at Antwerp. Mladenovic is full of confidence after guiding France to a famous come from behind victory over Italy in the Fed Cup, leading her nation to the semi-finals.

Lucie Safarova has shown glimpses of brilliance this year. Lucie played playing extremely well at the Hopman Cup, coming agonisingly close to her first career victory over Serena Williams in the match of the tournament. However Lucie would go on to suffer back to back first round losses, first in Sydney and then at the Australian Open where she succumbed to Yaroslava Shvedova 6-8 in the third.

Despite suffering an extremely disappointing first round loss in Melbourne, Lucie could consider the tournament a success after claiming her first Grand Slam title alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the doubles. Lucie will be looking to convert her patchy form into victories in Antwerp this week.

 

Kristina Mladenovic’s start to the season was lacklustre, however her courageous effort to guide France to victory over Italy in the Fed Cup could be a turning point. France fell behind 0-2 to Italy after day 1, before Amelie Mauresmo made a brave decision to play Kristina Mladenovic instead of Alize Cornet in the third rubber against Sara Errani. The decision paid off as Mladenovic won in straight sets to keep the tie alive. Kristina Mladenovic then teamed up with Caroline Garcia to thump Errani and Vinci 6-1 6-2 in the deciding doubles rubber to send France through to the semi-finals.

Kristina Mladenovic advanced to the second round courtesy of a comfortable victory over Silvia Soler Espinosa. Mladenovic led 6-2 1-0 before the Spaniard retired.

 

Mladenovic won the only previous encounter between these two, a hard fought 2-6 6-3 6-3 victory in Washington last year. This promises to be another close match, Mladenovic has the advantage of already playing a match on the Centre Court. Breaks of serve will be extremely valuable in this match, it’s Safarova who has the more reliable serve. It’s hard to see Lucie going 0-3 to start the season, she is playing too well for that to happen.

Prediction: Lucie Safarova to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in 3 sets