French Open Women’s Semifinals Predictions: Sofia Kenin vs Petra Kvitova and Iga Swiatek vs Nadia Podoroska

Petra Kvitova Madrid Open Day 5

Thursday is women’s semifinals day at the French Open. Four women remain to vie for the crown here. Two women (Sofia Kenin and Petra Kvitova) have won a Major before. No one remaining has won the French Open before, so we’re guaranteed a first-time Roland Garros champion. Predicting the semifinals are Damian Kust, Andrew Watson, Harsh Bhoot, Vithun Illankovan, and myself (Yesh Ginsburg).

French Open Women’s Semifinals Predictions

Iga Swiatek vs Nadia Podoroska

Damian:
Despite noticing Podoroska’s improvements, I have to admit to being a bit of a disbeliever in her ability to possibly defeat a top player. But that’s out of the equation now, with her excellent-quality win over Elina Svitolina–an absolutely remarkable achievement. Both Podoroska and Swiatek play hyper-aggressive tennis and it’s going to take a bit of an adjustment from both, as pretty much every opponent faced along the way by either of them was a lot less proactive.

But can you really go against Iga Swiatek when she’s playing like that? There’s a reason neither of her matches went over 80 minutes so far. The Pole can struggle a lot with consistency but we haven’t really observed that yet in Paris. Her performances scream of mental and emotional maturity and she coped well with the position of a favorite against Martina Trevisan. At least for now, I think Swiatek’s peak is higher than her opponent’s. We’ll see if she can produce it.
Prediction: Swiatek in 3

Vithun:
Of these two unseeded players, Swiatek has more experienced of big matches, despite being younger in age. The Pole is also the higher ranked player and has been playing the better tennis thus far, having not lost more than five games in any of her matches. Therefore, I expect her to reach her first Grand Slam final with relative comfort.
Prediction: Swiatek in 2

Andrew:
So excited to watch this match. It is scarcely believable that the Argentine is at this stage but she very much deserves her place after some great clay court tennis this week. Although she started in the qualifiers it hasn’t seemed as though fatigue has yet become a factor and I don’t think that will play a part in this match. Podoroska’s main problem is going to be keeping the winners off the racket of the young Pole. The teenager has been nothing short of scintillating in Paris. The heat from her play has been keeping the gloom away from her matches but no-one has been able to match her so far. Having already thrashed a player in exceptional form in Simona Halep, and backed that up already since then it is difficult to see the cracks in her armor. Back the Pole to maintain her level and make the final.
Prediction: Swiatek in 2

Harsh:
Both players seek to reach their maiden Grand Slam final and fortunately so far, neither have displayed any nerves in the second week. Nadia Podoroska will do well to forget the number of times she was broken in her quarter-final match and would be focussing on the fact that she managed to get the win. However, the Argentine is unlikely to progress to the finals if her serving woes continue since Iga Swiatek possesses a solid serve. The Pole recovered from a slow start against Martina Trevisan to get the win in straight sets. It should be an entertaining contest but Swiatek looks like the favorite here. Expect Swiatek to dictate baseline rallies as she’s done all tournament to get to a well deserved Grand Slam final.
Prediction: Swiatek in 2

Yesh:
I fully admit that I have underestimated Podoroska this entire tournament. Even while admitting it I still picked against her consistently. I just don’t see her having the firepower to hang with the Pole, though. As long as Swiatek doesn’t get nervous, she should be able to crush this match.
Prediction: Swiatek in 2

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Sofia Kenin vs Petra Kvitova

Damian:
Just like Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova is yet to lose a set in this tournament. The Czech has been playing a great attacking game, hitting hard and fearlessly through some very good opponents. She is yet to face anyone of Sofia Kenin’s quality though and it will be a very big ask to maintain her style against someone who can counterpunch and turn defense into offense as well as the Australian Open champion.

But while Danielle Collins couldn’t bring Kenin down in their quarterfinal, she showed a couple of dents in her compatriot’s game that the Czech could take advantage of. Clay was always Kvitova’s worst surface, but she really thrives in the conditions here, which are a bit more rewarding to flatter hitters. While lacking consistency on the surface, she had some events (Madrid 2015 springs to mind) on the dirt in her prime where she displayed a level I’m not sure any current women’s player (or at least the ones remaining in the event) ever touched.
Prediction: Kvitova in 3

Andrew:
In direct contrast to the other semifinal, this one will provide us with a Grand Slam winner who will surely have the experience edge over their opponent in that final. Kvitová has certainly been the one who has made the more serene progress and her ability to hit through the court and conditions have been found to be very difficult to live with. Kenin has battled and fought hard to be in this position, but that may well put her at an advantage here. Kenin is the one who, if it turns into a fight, would be the player I would back in that situation. However, it is Kvitová who I think has the weaponry and better game for this situation and I would back her to come through.
Prediction: Kvitová in 2

Vithun:
This match could really go either way and both may be secretly viewing this as the final, given the lack of Grand Slam pedigree in the other semifinal. However, I feel Kvitova will reach her first French Open final for the following reasons. Despite clay not being known as Kvitova’s best surface, her clay pedigree is still better than that of Kenin who is in her first clay court semi-final at tour level. In addition, as Kvitova has not dropped a set she will be less fatigued than Kenin who has been taken the distance in all but one of her matches. Finally, Kvitova has a 2-0 H2H with Kenin and after all tennis is a sport of match-ups.
Prediction: Kvitova in 3

Harsh:
Petra Kvitova was her usual aggressive self in the quarterfinal, and except for the brief period in the early second set, she thoroughly dominated the match. She now faces Sofia Kenin, a player she’s beaten twice in two meetings. Kenin lost her way somewhat in the second set of her quarterfinal but ran away with the third set. There were a lot of positives for Kenin but she knows she’s unlikely to beat Kvitova from the baseline. The pressure lies on Kenin to mix her shots but that’s easier said than done against Kvitova, who has looked sublime throughout. Expect Kvitova to be aggressive on her returns and her heavier groundstrokes should just help her get the win.
Prediction: Kvitova in 3

Yesh:
Kenin has looked so good for much of this tournament, but she’s also been vulnerable at times. Kvitova has the game to hit her off the court, and the Czech has the confidence to not get nervous in big moments. Kenin likes moving on the clay better than Kvitova does, but I don’t think that will be enough to swing this match.
Prediction: Kvitova in 3

Main Photo from Getty.


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