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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Qualies are done. Two hot 18 year olds, Oksana Selekhmeteva who has done well at the ITF level and Zheng Qinwen are into the MD. Wonder how far they will go.
Pera. Krunic, Tsurenko are capable of beating higher ranked players. Pera in particular with her rank at 98, is extremely irritated and upset, and should be ready. She beat a very capable Lapko 61 64
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Eighteen year old qualifier Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia battled Kudermetova to the end, 4-6 in the third. She likes the big stage, a cute graceful lefty with a powerful FH and all the strokes. She is not to the level of Kostyuk and other 18 year old phenoms but she has the potential. Her ranking jumped from 600s a few months ago to around 250 now.

Petkovic was the surprise of the day dealing with Ostapenko comfortably, leading 2-0 in the third when Ostapenko retired. It might be fatigue from IW plus the jetlag.

Kontaveit was awesome, she and a very capable Siniakova duked it out trading shots but Kontaveit was better, hitting many more winners. Match was lot tougher than the 63 63 scoreline. Siniakova has all the tools, she is used to winning in doubles including grand slams, but she comes up short against players that she could prevail. But today that was not the case, Kontaveit won the match. If Kontaveit does not get tired, she should be in the mix with Sabalenka, Halep and Muguruza.

For Pera fans this was a good day. She and Krunic exchanged shots with pace and venom playing front foot tennis. It was a high quality match. For a pocket edition Krunic has an amazing first serve getting out of situations and getting free points. But today Pera was ON, her easy power on tap and the balls hitting the right side of the lines. There was no blowing of chances and she took it in two sets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oct 20 Day 3 of MD:
Sabalenka suffered that heart breaking loss to Leylah, the effects are probably still lingering. She got Covid 19, was stuck in a hotel at IW in quarantine while watching others play. She won today that was the main relief. Tomljanovic is playing well, she has the serve and traded blows with Sabalenka and stayed with her for the most part, varying the pace to disrupt. It was a very competitive match. Sabalenka played an outstanding TB to take the first set. But her performance was not one of her better ones. She would break but then not be able confirm the break with a hold. She could not put sustaining pressure on Tomljanovic second serve. I am a fan and would love to see her win the title but I am not counting on it.

Muguruza had her own problems with Martincova. Martincova has improved greatly this year, she was #120 at the beginning of the year now #51. Both players' shots were crisp, both playing front foot tennis, many absorbing rallies with each dragging the other all over the court when they had control. It was tight all the way to the end when Muguruza was serving 5-3. She was relieved to put away this pesky improved player.

Pera was equal to Pavs in power and placement, the first set 62 score did not reflect the quality of the match. Pera' FH let her down in key moments particularly when she lost her serve twice. In the second set, both players showed their prowess, putting away shots to win points. But Pavs was more consistent particularly in key moments. Pera is a complete player with power and finesse and all the strokes and can dominate top players when she is on, but she has not been able to translate her skills into a better winning record. Pavs, this is her tournament, into the finals three times, she also has the skills and may be it is her year this time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oct 21, Day 4
Sakkari was surprisingly defeated by Golubic in the 2nd round at IW. Having a Bye did not help. She faced a similar situation with Kalinskaya, who was match tough thru qualies and a first round win. However, Sakkari was on and she had too much game for Kalinskaya. She won comfortably, 6-2,1-0 retired.
Kontaveit continued her winning ways. She dominated Petkovic particularly in the first set. She moved Petkovic around, taking short and some good length balls and driving them off FH and BH to the sideline or deep to the baseline with her trademark power to neutralize Petkovic. Petkovic can play as she showed in her match against Ostapenko but Kontaveit did not allow her any opening. The second set was more competitive but Kontaveit closed out the match in a routine manner 61 64.
This was vintage Halep. She was serving well and she varied the pace and spin of her first serve so much that she got a free point or an advantageous position. She was taking the second serve from Kudermetova eary and blasting down the line. She was consistent as always in her rallies, a few can punch through her with power, Sabalenka one of them, but Kudermetova could not. When she got a softer or short ball, Halep hit a winner with good pace and position. Kudermetova can hit winners and she did hit some winners behind her first serves but it was not enough. Plus she was not playing with confidence, especially after getting rid of her coach. This is not the player that won the Charleston 500K without losing a set, winning over good players including Paula Badosa.
Marketa was following her big win over Rybakina. She had no problems with Tsurenko, who in a good while has not won two matches in the WTA. She just did not have the game today to deal with Marketa's craft and power.
My prediction: Kontaveit will come out of the bottom half and meet Sabalenka from the top half. Kontaveit has two titles in the recent months, she is pounding the ball as hard as Sabalenka on her winning shots, while using less but very good pace in her rallies playing with safety and consistency. She did lose to Ons at IW, partly because she was tired and the earlier exit did give her time for Moscow. Sabalenka will remember her loss to Leylah for a while and has learnt from it. Sabalenka is 4-0 vs Kontaveit. That is a dominating record. But what we have is a rejuvenated Kontaveit who is hitting hard enough to get past Sabalenka while staying consistent. She should take crown. I think the title will continue to elude Pavs; Halep will most likely go down to Sakkari.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Oct 22 Day 5
Marketa vs Pavs: I only saw the later part of the second set. Marketa’s drop shots were on par with Ons, and her serve was on. She has excellent tactical judgement and on BP she won an exciting rally that either player could have won and Marketa hung tough. Pavs played well in patches she was affected by her injury but played thru the pain. Overall, Marketa was too tough and tenacious. She is now thru to SF. She reached SF in IW and Chicago 500 and in the Olympics

Alexandrova vs Sabalenka: When she wins the first set Alexandrova wins most matches. On her day Alexandrova is tough to get by. Today she was on. Alexandrova plays well in indoor HC, most of her semi finals have come in indoor HC tournaments. Fast and furious action with front foot tennis and both players getting early advantage on points. Sabalenka got broken early when she had not settled and could not break back, Alexandrova serving too well. Alexandrova returned three serves right on the line and then aggressively finished the point. Sabalenka was a spectator on some of her seves, something not often said. Impressive first set by Alexandrova.

A slow start to the second set by Alexandrova and Sabalenka broke early. Alexandrova is a flat ball striker and her balls stay low. She was hitting the lines today. She does not have a big margin for safety but when she is on she is almost unplayable. She broke back. In a key game, at 4-4, from 0-40 Alexandrova hit 5 winners to take the game. The next game Alexandrova broke to take the match.

It was a good win for the home country who had just seen Pavs go down in the previous match. With this form she will be dangerous to future opponents, especially with the home support.

Kontaveit vs Muguruza: I thought Kontaveit’’s win over Sakkari at the Ostrava finals was a huge statement, but today’s performance dwarfed that. She won 90% of points behind the first serve and 80% of points behind the second serve. On Muguruza’s serves, her free swinging returns deep to the baseline took time away and Muguruza was always a tad slow to respond. Muguruza was often a spectator during points. Her defense was punctuated by the sharpness of her movement where she turned the rally around often to win the pont. She hit 22 winners while allowing only 10 errors.

Overall, Kontaveit gave an emphatic performance taking down world #5 giving up only 2 games. Phenomenal.

Sakkari vs Halep: Sakkari’s offense won the first set at 6-4. She had 10 BPs and converted 2 of them. A 5-2 lead was whittled away by Halep but she faltered at 4-5. She was visibly upset and the racket bore the brunt of her anger. Sakkari’s FH was on display, her footwork immaculate and she was able to go either direction with it.

In the second set, Sakkari played an immaculate game breaking Halep on her first serve. Halep seemed a little dispirited by the way she lost the first set after making a comeback. Her errors made it easy for Sakkari to hold. This set was a repeat of the first; Sakkari was off to a 5-1 lead. Halep with nothing to lose was swinging away and Sakkari was tight. Halep made a comeback but the set ended 6-4. This was a masterful effort by Sakkari; she faces Alexandrova who is playing excellent tennis. Either can win, It will be a good match and I give the edge to Alexandrova due to the Home support.

My revised Prediction:
Yesterday I expected Sabalenka and Kontaveit to meet and the latter to lift the title. My revised prediction is for Alexandrova and Kontaveit to meet and Kontaveit stil my prediction to lift the title. Alexandrova and Sakkari will play a tough match, Alexandrova has home support which could be the difference. Kontaveit has too much game, Marketa's cleverness and flexibility will not be enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oct 23 Day 6:

Kontaviet vs Vondrousova

Kontaveit continued her onslaught. It was power against craft for the most part. Vondrousova got off to a good start with good play including her trademark drop shot to break Kontaveit. Kontaveit broke back taking control of the points early, driving to the corners and with the next shot hitting to space. Her returns of serve had pace and depth and got a soft or short (or not that short) ball that Kontaveit put away. She hit DL winners, CC winners, Volley winners and even the occasional drop shot winners. Vondrousova was bombarded.
Vondrousova did fight back, especially in the second set, with good serving and winning the rallies after those serves. She hit her DS several times successfully, her FH was potent but not as much as usual. In the end it was routine 63 64 win for Kontaveit. She is thru to her 3 final in 2 months.

Sakkari vs Alexandrova:
I did not see the match. It is a pity that Sakkari had to retire in the first while trailing 1-4.

So now it is Kontaveit vs Alexandrova in the final. They are both playing exceptionally well, Alexandrova has the benefit of home court. She is hitting the ball every bit as well as Kontaveit. But if Kontaveit plays her game and does not lapse into errors like she did against Ons at IW, (where she was tired), this is her final.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oct 24 Day 7

Kontaveit vs Alexandrova:

Both players played superlative tennis. In the first set Kontaveit’s first serve % was only 50% versus 76% for Alexandrova. Her serve is under more pressure. Alexandrova's first serves were going and she was winning 85% of those. Either they were not returned or Alexandrova put away the +1 shot. She was holding comfortably. She was hitting so many shots within inches of the baseline, Kontaveit was unable to bring forth her own aggression. Kontaveit was playing as well as she has in earlier matches but she was being dominated by Alexandrova's pace, her length and width, taking time away, hitting 6-7 shots of imperious quality until Alexandrova got a tad easier shot that she put away. Kontaveit did attack and win points on the second serve but there were not many of these. So first set to Alexandra, and she led 4-0 in the second.

Alexandrova's left hip started bothering her. In the next service game, there were two BPs, 2nd serves that Kontaveit returned well but Alexandrova dispatched these with BH DL winners, which was simply awesome. But Kontaveit showed why she won two titles in two months, took what she was given and broke Alexandrova. Alexandrova's game dropped a smidgen; her shots were good but not inches from the line or corner and Kontaveit could deal with those. Kontaveit took advantage of the lull to win the last 6 games and the second set. What a recovery.

In the third set Alexandrova desperately clung on to her serve, rare errors from Kontaveit helping. Alexandrova was still able to sting but not as well. Kontaveit saved a BP and held.

Crowd was very loud now in support of Alexandrova. Must have helped her. Alexandrova served for the match and a close game with many winners by both but Kontaveit broke and leveled the set. She then held for a 6-5 lead. Kontaveit now with a spring in her step. In the last game, a fierce FH CC from Alexandrova for a winner, followed by Kontaveit responding with an equally fierce FH DL winner. A DF then an FH from the net went long and Kontaveit won.

It was a pity that one had to lose. Just a few games before the end of the match Alexandrova had 32 winners and Kontaveit 31 winners and they both had the same errors. Devastation for Alexandrova, she was up a set and 4-0, then the hip problem caused the dip in the second set. But what a comeback by Kontaveit.
 
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