And then there were four. The semifinalists for the WTA Grampians Trophy have been confirmed after some great tennis on Saturday in Melbourne. Although all of the WTA warm-up events featured withdrawals, the Grampians Trophy still featured three high-quality matches yesterday. However, due to the delay in the schedule caused by the brief period of quarantine, the final will not be held, with the finalists set to receive finalist points and finalist prize money.
WTA Grampians Trophy Semifinal Predictions
Jennifer Brady vs Ann Li
Head-to-head: first meeting
An all-American showdown lies in store in the second semi-final of the Grampians Trophy. Jennifer Brady takes on Ann Li and will be bidding for her second WTA title in six months. Brady is yet to drop a set in Melbourne and came through a tight match against an in form Barbora Krejcikova in the quarterfinals to book her place in the semis. The American thundered down 14 aces in the match and saved all five break points she faced. However, she failed to take advantage of her own break point chances, converting just 1 of 12 in the match.
Brady never really looked in trouble though and eventually put the Czech away in just under two hours. Brady’s serve-forehand combination has been red hot to start the year and she will hope it stays that way as she looks to make her first finals appearance of the year.
Ann Li caused yet another upset in her second round match against Sorana Cirstea. After upsetting Kudermetova in the second round, Li dropped just four games as she put Cirstea away in just over an hour. The Romanian had just come off a convincing win against world #12 Belinda Bencic and was certainly the favourite going into the match.
However, Li was far more solid on serve than Cirstea, facing only one break point the entire match. The American produced some spectacular tennis, including this winner early on in the second set. Li was the better player on the day and deserves her spot in what is her first semifinal on the WTA Tour.
This should be a good contest. Both players are playing great tennis and are full of confidence. Some great shot-making by both throughout the tournament means we should be in store for a highly entertaining semifinal clash here. Ann Li has shown that she isn’t afraid of the big stage in dispatching Cirstea to reach her first semifinal. However, Brady is a big step up in quality and it is not clear if Li has what it takes to play at that level just yet. If Li brings her best it will be close, but Brady looks nearly unbeatable at the moment and should get the job done here.
Prediction: Brady in 2
Maria Sakkari vs Anett Kontaveit
Head-to-head: Sakkari 4-3 Kontaveit
Maria Sakkari has made the semifinals at three tournaments on the bounce. The Greek is yet to drop a set as she bids for her second WTA title. She comfortably dispatched an in-form Angelique Kerber for the loss of just six games in the quarterfinals. She managed this despite a 52% first serve rate and 7 double faults in the match.
Sakkari’s serve is a big weapon for her. The fact that she is winning comfortably without it shows just how confident she is in her game and, after a strong 2020, she looks set to do big things in 2021. A win here would certainly be a great start. However, standing in her way is a tough opponent in Anett Kontaveit.
Kontaveit made the semifinals without having to play a shot in anger after Victoria Azarenka pulled out of their quarterfinal matchup. Ordinarily rest would be a good thing in what is a dense tour schedule for tennis players. However, the players in this tournament were in hard quarantine for two weeks prior to the tournament.
They are short of practice and match fitness and Kontaveit would likely have preferred to have another match under her belt. Nonetheless, the Estonian is in a great position to try and win her first title since 2017. It is somewhat surprising that player of Kontaveit’s quality only has one title to her name. She will surely be looking to change that in Melbourne by lifting the Grampians Trophy.
The Greek started playing aggressive, front-foot tennis in 2020 that will make her a real threat on the tour this year. Kontaveit is a tricky opponent with effortless power who can hit anyone off the court on her day. However, Sakkari is a brilliant mover and will make Kontaveit play enough shots to draw errors from the Estonian’s racket. She also leads the head-to-head 4-3. This might be close, but expect Sakkari to make the final.
Prediction: Sakkari in 2
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