The semifinal line-up is set at the WTA Viking International in Eastbourne! A tournament full of upsets has ended up with the final four players all unseeded, though all of them are there in their own right and potential dark horses for Wimbledon. As always here at LWOT, we will be offering our predictions for the matches. Now let’s see who is going to be competing for the title on Saturday.
WTA Eastbourne Semifinal Predictions
Camila Giorgi vs Anett Kontaveit
Head-to-head: first meeting
Camila Giorgi is a well-known threat on fast surfaces, and she proved that to still be true in 2021 as she took out the top seed Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinals 7-6 0-6 6-4. Before that, the Italian scored four more wins in Eastbourne–over Magda Linette, Ajla Tomljanovic, Karolina Pliskova, and Shelby Rogers, reaching the semifinals as a qualifier. This is the first time she has reached a semifinal since the tour restart in Palermo back in August 2020. Giorgi, the tour leader in double faults per match, next faces Anett Kontaveit.
Kontaveit’s run has been a little less impressive compared to Giorgi. She beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets, Bianca Andreescu in straight sets, and finally the qualifier Viktorija Golubic, coming back from Golubic serving for the match. The Estonian has had a mediocre year by her standards, but is coming into her own on grass, winning three matches in a row since January. Though Kontaveit is considered a favorite and is a very good counterpuncher, I believe Giorgi is having a moment in Eastbourne–and when she is on her game, the Italian is virtually unbeatable.
Prediction: Giorgi in 3
Jelena Ostapenko vs Elena Rybakina
Head-to-head: Ostapenko 1-0 Rybakina
Though her greatest achievement is and will likely always be the 2017 French Open title, grass is the surface that suits Ostapenko’s game–most as evidenced by her 2018 Wimbledon semifinal run and the 2014 Wimbledon Girls’ title. The Latvian, playing in Eastbourne on a wild card, has put together a formidable run. Ostapenko began by allowing French Open finalist Pavlyuchenkova only four games before coming back from a set down against both Birmingham finalists–Ons Jabeur and Daria Kasatkina–in back-to-back matches. As she showed in Paris four years ago, Ostapenko is unplayable on her day, even more so than Giorgi.
Coming up for Ostapenko is No. 21 Elena Rybakina. The young Kazakh has been touted as one of the players hurt the most by the COVID pandemic. She went 21-5 in 2020 before the tour pause. Rybakina has been struggling to return to that level, though she grabbed the spotlight at the French Open by ousting Serena Williams. In Eastbourne, the 22-year-old was taken to three sets by Harriet Dart in the first round before defeating the second seed Elina Svitolina in straight sets. In the quarterfinals, Rybakina defeated lucky loser Anastasija Sevastova in a two-and-a-half-hour battle, 2-6 7-6 7-6, saving two match points in the second set. I believe Ostapenko will avenge her countrywoman and advance to the final past Rybakina.
Prediction: Ostapenko in 2
Main Photo from Getty.