The final four women at the WTA Gippsland Trophy have been determined. There was a cloud of uncertainty surrounding proceedings on Thursday, causing all quarterfinal matches to be postponed. Tennis Australia, in consultation with WTA, have introduced a new scoring system in order to shorten matches and beat Sunday’s deadline of completing all warm-up events.
Who will advance into Sunday’s final?
WTA Gippsland Trophy Semifinal Predictions
Ekaterina Alexandrova vs Kaia Kanepi
Head-to-head: first meeting at Tour level (Alexandrova leads 1-0 at ITF)
Ekaterina Alexandrova demolished top seed Simona Halep 6-2 6-1 in exactly an hour in their quarterfinal match. The Romanian was visibly hampered by a back injury. She led 2-0 briefly, but only won one more game after that. A barrage of measured gorund strokes came off Alexandrova’s racket, as she converted five of ten break point chances. The Russian set up a meeting against World No.94 Kaia Kanepi.
The Estonian benefitted from an extra day of rest following Karolina Muchova’s withdrawal due to an abdominal injury. But that may not necessarily be a good thing especially when you consider that players jetting in to Melbourne were subjected to a mandatory two-week quarantine. The new scoring system makes this a potential lottery if it goes into a 10-point third set tiebreak. But based on Alexandrova’s excellent win on Friday, she has wind in her sails.
Prediction: Alexandrova in 3
Naomi Osaka vs Elise Mertens
Head-to-head: Osaka 2-1 Mertens
Naomi Osaka produced quite possibly her best performance of the week. She planted 22 winners to just 11 unforced errors (and won 79% of first serve points) to beat Irina-Camelia Begu 7-5 6-1. Excluding the Cincinnati Masters, Osaka hasn’t lost a completed match since a Fed Cup singles defeat to Sorribes Tormo last February. I expect her to keep up that unblemished record against Mertens. The Belgian nearly made a melee of her quarterfinal win over Svitolina, surrendering a second set in which she led 5-2. That doesn’t bode well especially against the second seed who is hitting top form at the right time.
Prediction: Osaka in 2
Main Photo from Getty.