Saturday, February 15, 2014

Kerber and Halep to meet in Doha final

It was no surprise that Angelique Kerber made it out of the Doha semifinals today; she has fought unusually hard this week to get to the last round. Against Jelena Jankovic, Kerber was her most athletic self, engaging in long rallies that involved fast and sometimes complex movement. I expected a good match from these two, and--for some of the time--I got it. Kerber's 6-1 victory in the first set doesn't really reflect the quality of the set, but then, neither does her 7-6 victory in the second set. That's because, in the latter half of the second set, Jankovic lost her focus and became more interested in fighting with her coach than in beating Kerber. Or so it seemed. And so it seems on so many occasions.

Luck is part of any sport, and Kerber had some rather dramatic luck to end the match. At match point, in a rally she looked likely to lose, the German star struck a ball that hit the netcord and bounced softly over.

I expected great tennis from the second semifinal, and I wasn't disappointed. Down 2-5 in the first set, Simona Halep came to life when her opponent, Agnieszka Radwanska, suddenly lost her way at 30-all. The moment of the match turned at that moment. Halep won the first set 7-5 and the second set 6-2. Both players hit some stunning shots, but it was Halep who was consistently aggressive and more consistently accurate.

This was a stressful week for me as a fan, watching my favorites play against each other. First it was JJ and Kvitova, then it was Radwanska and Halep. The final promises to be one worth watching. Halep likes to move her opponents around the court, and this week, Kerber has shown herself to be capable of tracking balls in all sorts of places.

In doubles, top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci were defeated in the semifinals by 3rd seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik. Peschke and Srebotnik will play 2nd seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai. Hsieh and Peng defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Nadia Petrova in the semifinals.

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