Hradecká vs. Bammer
Hradecká‘s game is quite rude, no finesse just a brutal force. Her serve is one of the hardest ones on the tour, flat one ranges between 190-200 km/h. Her record at the tournaments is 205 km/h. The problem is the difference between quality of her 1st and 2nd serve. The latter doesn‘t stand out in any way. While Roddick for example produces fast 1st but also 2nd serves, Hradecká only the former.
Her return is mediocre, somewhat resembling Šafářová‘s, bad anticipation, reflexes, late start to the ball, which during this match often meant she was reduced to hit a moonball return in order to get it in. Hard to say whether the reason for that was Bammer‘s lefty serve or whether Lucie returns like that even against right-handers. Probably a bit from both.
Groundies both two-handed, when she is later to play her a forehand she can hit a one-hander quite well. Both groundstrokes are very hard, played with not much topspin over the net. I couldn‘t really decide which one was better, probably forehand but not by much.
Footwork and generally movement looked abysmal, especially in 1st set, several balls she hit way in front of her body when attempting crosscourt attacks, mainly backhands. Other times she made contact with the ball when it was at her shoulder level. Some of her misses reminded of Vaidišová's ones.
She has enough weapons but needs to improve her return big time and also move better. Based on this match these are two weakest elements in her game.
Bammer didn't show anything remarkable (well, she rarely does). Even though Hradecká won only point on return Bam Bam still found a way how to mess up the whole opening set, almost. There were points when had she been more aggressive she would have won them. But instead she was quite lucky to win the set 7-5. One example of her generosity, when she served for it leading 5-4 she was very generous and hit two consecutive doublefaults at deuce to get broken. In the last game Hradecká tried to attack Bammer's 2nd serves but again took them too late close to her shoulder level and missed.
In the next set Hradecká improved her returns. they were still weak but at least she managed to get them in, which was enough since Bammer played passively and didn't do anything to benefit from short returns.
The Austrian struggled with her ball toss, that's why she produced so many DF's. Except two specific doubles she made in 10th game, when Hradecká forced her to doublefault twice in a row by stepping inside the baseline close to the service box and then running back to the baseline (like Bartoli sometimes does). Some servers get nervous when their opponents do this and are more prone to doublefaulting - Bammer is one of them as it seemed. Hradecká eventually took the 2nd set 7-5. Lucie's movement was much much better then and her timing also improved, she wasn't making errors if she could help it.
In the 3rd set Hradecká started on serve, but I wasn't very confident, thinking her level would drop again, which is not unusual for players of her calibre.
Bammer probably realized that Lucie's return had improved a little bit (as I wrote most of the time Lucie managed to get them in in the 2nd set, whilst in the 1st set she missed majority of her returns). So instead of continuing with kick serve she began using flat serve to change something. Another variant would be that she wasn't happy with those tossing issues I mentioned earlier. Kicker requires to toss the ball over your head, which Bammer had clear issues with and often had to catch the ball and toss again. Toss for a flat serve wasn't causing her as many problems so she continued mostly with that. It comes down to the fact that Bammer's ball toss is too high and therefore prone to inconsistency.
Anyway, I thought it was a good change as Hradecká started making more return errors than in the previous set.
6th game was crucial imo, Hradecká made an unforced errors and Bammer levelled the score at 3-3. For some reason that error totally disrupted Lucie's concentration, In next two games she was clearly impatient, going for winners immediately and missing. She fought back to make the score 5-5 but lost in the end, again 5-7.
Benešová vs. Diyas
Despite that Diyaz and Benešová are in the same club Iveta doesn't know her that much according to a short interview with her from thursday.
Diyas is a baseline who doesn't have a figure to play a big offensive game. Serve is not that bad, at least speed wise (and it won't get much faster, she's prorbably close to her limit - about 175 km/h), but I think she could work on placement and spins. Most of her serves didn't exactly paint the lines and Iveta took advanatage of it, her returns were excellent.
Diyas herself showed some good returning against Kvitová, but today it looked worse (lefty serve again?) and with time less and less aggressive as she missed quite often at the beginning of the match.
Benešová played one of her better matches for sure, she was varying her serve, returning very accurately, keeping solid depth of her groundies and for once she didn't always hit the ball at her opponent when she was at the net.
Diyas made many errors when she tried to change direction of her shots or hit a winner. Easy one for Benešová.
Schiavone vs. K. Bondarenko
First I gotta say that I didn't pay as much attention to this match as it deserved.
Fran seems to be in form, she plays a colorful game, topspins, dropshots, both things very dangerous on clay, moves very well and fights for every point. Her serve, mostly slice variant, is solid and gets the job done against these players. It would be a surprise if she didn't capture this title, but everything can happen.
Kateryna played with a strapped thigh, which I believe limited her movement a bit. She made quite many errors, even from her backhand.
Instead of Baczinsky vs. Suarez-Navaro I watched doubles semifinals, so no report from this match, sorry.
Reports from semifinals and final most likely on Sunday.