WTA Melbourne Summer Set 1 Semifinal Predictions Including Naomi Osaka vs Veronika Kudermetova

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The hottest ticket in town will be inside Rod Laver Arena on Saturday as two former number ones are on a collision course at the WTA Melbourne Summer Set 1. Both Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep will need to overcome some tough hurdles to reach Sunday’s final. Who will advance? We also have predictions for the other WTA Melbourne Summer Set semifinal featuring Ann Li.

WTA Melbourne Summer Set 1 Semifinal Predictions

Simona Halep vs Qinwen Zheng

Head-to-head: first meeting

It may be an embryonic tennis season, but Chinese teenager Qinwen Zheng has emerged as this week’s success story. Zheng is playing in just her fourth WTA main draw, but she has demonstrated a veteran’s know-how to get to this stage. She scaled the qualifying rounds with victories over Jule Niemeier and Bernarda Pera. Her quarterfinal win over Ana Konjuh was the most impressive of the lot. She overturned a 1-5 deficit in the second-set tiebreak to win 7-6 7-6 in just over two hours.

Simona Halep, meanwhile, was pushed to the limits by an inspired Viktorija Golubic in the other quarterfinal. The Swiss sixth seed dropped the first set against the run of play but mounted a spirited fightback in the second from a break deficit. There were break points galore in the decider. And Golubic crucially, spurned four of them at 4-3, missing out the opportunity to nudge ahead. That proved decisive in the grand scheme of things as momentum swayed Halep’s way.

Halep should be the overwhelming favorite to win Saturday’s contest. Zheng is an aggressive ball striker with explosive power off that forehand. Her backhand is equally just as impressive. But having accumulated over 10 hours of non-stop tennis this week, fatigue could be an issue for the 19-year-old. Halep should be the fresher of the two.
Prediction: Halep in 2

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Naomi Osaka vs Veronika Kudermetova

Head-to-head: first meeting

Naomi Osaka swept past Andrea Petkovic in routine fashion on Friday, despite relinquishing her massive lead. Osaka led by a set and break before the World No. 75 hauled herself into the match with two successive breaks of serve. Ultimately though, Petkovic was unable to withstand a barrage of winners and aces coming off the Japanese’s racket and Osaka regained control.

By dint of her unblemished record on these parts, Osaka will look to maintain her excellent record. She is unbeaten in her last 13 matches at Melbourne Park. It would take a monumental effort to halt that run. Veronika Kudermetova has seamlessly adapted to these court conditions which play slightly faster. But the Russian continues to exhibit some serious lapses in concentration for the third match running. That doesn’t bode well, especially when she takes on a rejuvenated Osaka who seems to have shaken off her early cobwebs.
Prediction: Osaka in 2

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