Doha Saturday: Sudden Death Semis
Published October 29, 2010 12:00
Preview - Semifinals
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(3) Kim Clijsters (BEL #4) vs. (5) Samantha Stosur (AUS #7)
Head-to-Head: Clijsters leads 4-0
If experience counts for anything, Clijsters is sitting pretty compared to the other three semifinalists in Doha. Back at the WTA Championships for the first time since 2006, the 27-year-old is through to the last four for the fifth time in her seven career appearances, and gunning for a third final (having won the other two played, in 2002 and 2003). Considering the uncertainty caused by her foot wound layoff, the US Open champion has been impressive this week - the only real worries being her double fault count and Friday loss to Zvonareva, having twice been up a break in both sets. While the head-to-head also looks good for the Belgian, Stosur finally won a set off her in their last meeting, the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows. At times this week, the Aussie has looked very much like the player who was on the verge of great things on clay last spring. This is a clutch match for her, and it will come down to belief.
Hot Stats: Clijsters is projected to finish the year ranked No.3. Should she win today, Stosur will become the first Australian to reach the final of this event since Goolagong Cawley in 1978.
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #1) vs. (2) Vera Zvonareva (RUS #2)
Head-to-Head: Tied at 3-3
For the second time in three years, Zvonareva has been the queen of the round robin in Doha, arriving in the semis with a perfect 3-0 record against her group rivals. Indeed, the 2008 runner-up hasn't even dropped a set. Wozniacki has been in pretty good form too, though her two set loss to Stosur lowered her stocks a little. Overall, the fate of this encounter probably lies with Zvonareva, who has a backhand to match Wozniacki's, arguably a better forehand, and is more comfortable forcing the issue. Normally, Wozniacki might be given the mental edge, what with her never-say-die attitude and ability to keep getting balls back. But, Zvonareva's come-from-behind straight sets defeat of Clijsters on Friday was ominous. As rivals, these two have been taking turns at winning, with Wozniacki prevailing in three at Beijing last time. Does that mean this is Vera's moment?
Hot Stats: Zvonareva, playing her seventh semi of the season, hasn't lost at this stage of a tournament all year. Wozniacki, playing her 200th hardcourt match today, owns 2010's best winning percentage in matches that go the distance - 85.7%.
- Adam Lincoln