Saturday 19 October 2013

Samantha Stosur vs Simona Halep (Kremlin Cup Final)

If Samantha Stosur produced a clean performance to down Svetlana Kuznetsova, Simona Halep produced a master-class to crush Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the final of  Kremlin Cup. Halp raced to a 4-0 lead in both sets and while Pavlyuchenkova managed to get one break back in the first set after holding at 4-1, that was all she could do. The second set followed the pattern of the first set with the only difference that Pavlyuchenkova could not break Halep's serve. Halep won the match 62 61.

Samantha Stosur will be bidding to win her 6th career title and 3rd of the year, while Halep will be looking to win her 5th title of the season in as many finals this year. Halep will be going for her 5th career title as well.

Stosur leads the head to head 3-1, however, Halep has won their most recent encounter. The only time the pair met this year was in Cincinnati where Halep won in 3 sets 64 46 62.

Both Halep and Stosur have yet to drop a set. Another interesting fact is that whoever wins the title will be the first woman from her country to win the Kremlin Cup in the 20 years history of the tournament.

Halep will make her top 15 debut courtesy of her final run here and will set a new career high ranking. 

Both players are looking in fine form and this could turn into a mental battle and we all know that that is one department where Stosur is not strong enough.

Both players have their plus, Stosur is on a 9 match winning streak and will be looking to win back to back titles at consecutive tournaments for the first time in her career. She leads Halep 3-1 in the pair's head to head. Halep on the other hand is 4-0 in the finals this year, and has won the pair's only meeting this year on hard courts. She has lost only 7 games on her way to the final.

Who will win the title, Stosur or Halep? The player who keeps her head clean will have an advantage.

Pick: Stosur in 3 sets. (Although my mind is telling me Halep may have something to say in straight sets ;) )

Stosur tops Kuznetsova to reach Moscow finals

Samantha Stosur continued her season ending strong run with a straight sets victory over Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. Stosur defeated Kuznetsova 62 64.

Kuznetsova failed to hold her serve in the first set as the first 6 games saw 5 breaks of serve. Kuznetsova broke Stosur to get the back on serve when Stosur served at 3-1, but that was the last game Kuznetsova won in the first set as Stosur won the next 3 games to win the set.

The second set started with a hold by Stosur followed by first hold of the match for Kuznetsova. Stosur mixed things up and raced to build a 5-1 lead and just when the match seemed over Kuznetsova caught fire and Stosur got tight as Kuznetsova won the next 3 games to bring the set back to serve, but once there Stosur stepped up and Kuznetsova faltered and Stosur broke Kuznetsova to win the match and book a place in the championship match of Kremlin Cup for the second straight year.

It was a poor performance by Kuznetsova, who made a horrible attempt at an easy smash which landed on her side of the court in the final game of the match, and though Kuznetsova saved a match point she hit a forehand long on the second match point to hand Stosur her 3rd win over Kuznetsova in as many matches in this season.

Samantha Stosur will play the winner of Simpna Halep and Anastasia Pavyluchenkova, who are currently playing their match with Halep up a break in the first set.

Kremlin Cup Semi-Finals - 2013

Samantha Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova asre set to battle it out in the first semi-final, while Simon Halep and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will be fighting for a spot in the championship match in the second semi-final.

Stosur vs Kuznetsova
Stosur and Kuznetsova are tied in their head to head at 3 each, with Stosur winning their last 2 matches played in 2013. Stosur and Kuznetsova have also made it to the doubles semi-finals as a team, both are accomplished doubles payers as well.

Stosur Kuznetsova match will be a battle between former U.S Open champions, Stosur 2011 and Kuznetsova 2004. This is the second semi-final appearance at Kremlin Cup by both players, Stosur finished runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki last year here in 3 sets. Kuznetsova, however has never made it beyond the semi-finals, her only semi-final appearance came in 2007 when she fell at the hands of Serena Williams.

Kuznetsova should be favoured given her form but Stosur is on a 8 match winning streak and would like to build on that. It will all depend on which Kuznetsova shows up in the match. The match will start in about half an hour.

Pick: Kuznetsova in 3 sets.

Halep vs Pavlyuchenkova

Simona Halep and Pavlyuchenkova will meet for the the third time with Halep winning both of their previous encounters. This has been a breakthrough season for Halep, who has won 4 titles this year, second only to Serena Williams.

This is Halep's second appearance at the Kremlin Cup, she fell in the second round here last year. Pavlyuchenkova is making her 6th appearance, and this year marks the first time that she has made it out of the first round here.

Both are talented players and have held the top spot in their juniors days. This should be a good and entertaining match given the shot making abilities of both players.

Both Halep and Pavlyuchenkova have yet to lose a set. I want Pavlyuchenkova to win this one, but I have a feeling Halep will be all over Pavlyuchenkova and will book a spot in the championship match.

Pick: Halep in straight sets.

Who do you think will win?