Stefanie Voegele is having a good season. She was aggressive and creative in beating Caroline Wozniacki in Charleston, and suddenly, she has beaten Sloane Stephens twice in a row. Today, Voegele beat 2nd seed Stephens 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the Luxembourg quarterfinals; a week ago, she beat the world number 12 in Linz, also in the quarterfinals. In both matches, Voegele won five straight games in the final set to get the victory.
What's going on with Sloane Stephens? Well, first, Voegele has finally started to put all of that long-time-coming potential together. But the other side of the equation is that Stephens just doesn't seem to have any spark. She goes for big, showy shots, but then backs away when consistency is called for, and the errors add up quickly. In other words, she doesn't appear to want to work the points.
Even Stephens' negativity lacks fire. I admit to sometimes "enjoying" an Angelique Kerber tantrum or a Victoria Azarenka meltdown. But Kerber and Azarenka have a passion that fuels their on-court antics; with Stephens, there just seems to be a lack of emotional energy.
Oh, and a commentator inadvertently referred to Stephens as "Williams." I'll let that speak for itself.
Stephens, by the way, is now officially an alternate in the WTA Championships, which begin next week in Istanbul.
Voegele's opponent in the semifinals will be Annika Beck, who saved a match point and beat Katarzyna Piter (I think we'll see more of her) 6-3, 6-7, 7-6. It took Beck 3 hours and 12 minutes to pull that off.
In the other semifinal match, Caroline Wozniacki will play Sabine Lisicki. In the quarterfinals, Wozniacki defeated Bojana Jovanovski, and Lisicki defeated Karin Knapp.
The Luxembourg draw was an interesting one, and there has been a lot of exciting competition. It's a nice end-of-season treat to see the likes of Voegele, Beck and Jovanovski doing so well.
In Moscow, Sam Stosur beat Ana Ivanovic, and will play Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals. Kuznetsova defeated number 2 seed (number 1 seed Angelique Kerber withdrew from the tournament) Roberta Vinci. In the other semifinal, Simona Halep will face off against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Halep and Pavlyuchenkova beat Alisa Kleybanova (making a nice comeback) and Daniela Hantuchova, respectively.
Pavlyuchenkova lost in the Moscow first round seven years in a row, so her fortunes have changed considerably. Pavlyuchenkova lost to Halep recently in Tokyo.
Both top-seeded doubles teams were upset today in Moscow. Kristina Barrois and Laura Thorpe beat number 1 seeds Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik 6-2, 3-6, 10-8. Polona Hercog and Lisa Raymond defeated 2nd seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Katarzyna Piter 7-6, 6-7, 10-8.