The last four standing at the WTA Qatar Open in Doha are set to square off in two blockbuster semifinal matches. Who will move on?
WTA Doha Semifinal Predictions
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Aryna Sabalenka
Head to head: Kuznetsova 1-1 Sabalenka
Svetlana Kuznetsova has reached the semifinals in Doha. While it was solid performance, she can thank Belinda Bencic for her inconsistency and underperforming serve. It looked like the Swiss would turn around the second set when she stormed back from a 1-4 deficit. Not to be, the Russian would not give up another break of service. Kuznetsova will need to up her first serve percentage against Ayna Sabalenka.
In her maiden Qatar Open, Sabalenka has certainly performed well. The Belarusian isn’t seeing the early round exits which plagued her 2019 season. In fact, this is Sabalenka’s second semifinal of 2020. Zheng proved to be a stern test in today’s quarterfinal clash. The Chinese took the first set, and nearly upset the #9 seed in the second set tiebreak. But, when Sabalenka is hitting with clean, controlled shots, her power is tough for nearly everyone. Throw in a couple of clever dropshots, and Zheng could find no answer. Sabalenka should reach her 10th career final in Doha.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 3
Ashleigh Barty vs Petra Kvitova
Head to head: Barty 4-4 Kvitova
Expect an exciting match of contrasting styles when Ashleigh Barty and Petra Kvitova clash for a spot in the Qatar Open final. Kvitova will look to end points with her flat groundstrokes and aggressive shotmaking. Barty will use her versatile shot selection and guile to trouble the Czech.
The Czech’s run to the semifinals hasn’t been straightforward – pushed to a decider by Suarez Navarro in the second round (first round bye), and by Ostapenko in the third round. While Kvitova had a straight sets quarterfinal win, Ons Jabeur was no easy pass. The thigh heavily taped on the Tunisian didn’t seem to hamper her play. Jabeur wasn’t without opportunities, forcing Kvitova to twice come from a break down in the second set.
Against two-time Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, Barty started strong. The Aussie didn’t face a break point through the first set, and dropped just a single game. The second set went to Muguruza who cut down the unforced errors and seemed to better anticipate the Barty slice. After breaking Muguruza early in the first set, Barty took control of the set sealing the victory and setting up a semifinal clash with the #8 seed.
Where Kvitova has battled through her matches, Barty has had a much easier path. It’s never an easy match when these two square off. With Barty’s variety and easier path, I expect the top seed will secure her bid for the final.
Prediction: Barty in 3
Main Photo from Getty.