Saturday 7 April 2012

Charleston 2012 - Semi-Finals Preview (The Family Circle Cup 2012)

Charleston kicked off with a stellar field. The most notable was the presence of the Williamses, reigning U.S Open Champion, Stosur, top 10 players, Bartoli and Zvonareva and former no.1, Jankovic. But only 4 players remain standing still, 3 of whom have made it to their first semi-final of the year, the only player having reached a SF or better this year is Stosur (Doha R-up). All 4 players remaining in the draw have yet to win a title this year, so we will have a first time winner of 2012 at Charleston. Let us have a quick look at the semi-final encounters.

1- Safarova (9) vs Hercog (14)

This is Hercog's first Semi-final at a premier level tournament, and en-route she got her first victory over a top 10 player, defeating Marion Bartoli in the 3rd round. Safarova made it to her first semi-final of the season and she too defeated a top 10 player, Vera Zvonareva, to make it to the semi-finals. Let us have a look at the summary of each player's performance this year:

Description  Safarova     Hercog     
Match Record this year     11-8    9-12
Overall H2H        1      1
Clay Courts H2H        0      1

In the pair's only previous encounter on clay, Hercog came out on top, defeating Safarova handily in the second round of Roland Garros 2010, 61 62. Both players are through to their first semi-finals of the season and both will be looking to make it to the final. Safarova can hit big and deep and can defeat anyone on a given day. Given the current form of both players in this tournament, it must be an interesting match to watch. I doubt, Hercog will have enough in her tank to stop Safarova.

2- Stosur (2) vs Serena (5)
In what must be a mouth watering clash, U.S Open Champion, Stosur, faces 13 time grand slam champion, Serena Williams. This will be a re-match of the last year's U.S Open, where Stosur famously upset Serena to win her maiden Slam (though Serena got her revenge in the pair's meeting in the 4th round at Miami this year, defeating Stosur in straight sets), or is it will be more appropriate to say that it will be a re-match of their QF clash at 2010's Roland Garros, where Stosur saved a match point to defeat Serena (due to surface similarity, since Charleston and Roland Garros are played on red dirt). 

Description  Stosur     Serena      
Match Record this year     14-7   13-2
Overall H2H        3      5
Clay Courts H2H        1      0

Both Stosur and Serena are former Charleston champions, 2010 and 2008 respectively, which means that we will have at least one former champion in the final to fight for the trophy. Both players will come into the match with revenge on their minds. Serena will be trying to avenge Venus's loss at the hands of Stosur, while Stosur will be trying to avenge her straight set loss at the hands of Serena in the 4th round of Miami this year.

Stosur is aiming to become only the 8th player in tennis history to defeat both Williams sisters at the same tournament, having defeated Venus in the QF. Clijsters is the only player to have beaten the Willimses twice at the same tournament (2002 Tour Championships and 2009 U.S Open). Whoever, emerges out of this match will be the default favourite to win the title. Serena will be highly motivated to win this en-counter. But if Stosur can bring her A game, it will be a tough call.

Who are you rooting for? Stay tuned. Enjoy the battle on the red dirt and keep us posted about your views.

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