Only one semifinal match is set ahead of Saturday at the 2022 WTA Slovenia Open. The quarterfinal between Jasmine Paolini and Katerina Siniakova has been rained off, which leaves Anna-Lena Friedsam without an opponent just yet. However, Elena Rybakina takes on Ana Bogdan in the other final four matchup. Who do you think will make the final?
Elena Rybakina vs Ana Bogdan
Head-to-head: First meeting
Maiden Grand Slam champions tend to have a bit of a hangover after their first crown at that level. Whether or not Elena Rybakina had one is a debatable question. The Kazakh had 4 wins and 3 losses in the lead-up to the US Open, but the defeats came to extremely worthy opposition (Daria Kasatkina, Cori Gauff, Madison Keys). It was only later that Rybakina’s form dipped slightly. In New York, she went out to Clara Burel in the opening round, before struggling massively against Laura Siegemund in the opening round here.
Meanwhile, Ana Bogdan was on fire just before the US Open, reaching a WTA 250 final in Warsaw and taking the title at a WTA 125K event in Iasi. The Romanian had to compete in the qualifying draw for the US Open, suffering a surprising exit at the hands of Fernanda Contreras Gomez. Anyway, there’s no denying that Bogdan has done incredibly well to get to the semifinals, beating opponents as dangerous as Ajla Tomljanovic (US Open quarterfinalist) or Beatriz Haddad Maia (Toronto runner-up).
However, the Romanian will likely struggle to contest this one on her own terms. While she’s got solid pace from the ground, the 29-year-old doesn’t have the sort of power to stand up to Rybakina. If the Kazakh’s hitting well, she’ll be the one doing the dictating and deciding the outcome of the match. Bogdan definitely won’t go away easily though and moves well enough to make her play one ball too many a lot. It’s a tricky matchup and an opportunity for the freshly-crowned Wimbledon champion to prove she’s back to her best.
Prediction: Rybakina in 3
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