Tomorrow is the Ladies semi-finals day at the French Open and we should be in for some great action.
Timea Bacsinszky vs Jelena Ostapenko
First up will be the birthday girls – the 30th seed, Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland and the unseeded, Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, who have never played against each other.
Bacsinszky, who turns 28 tomorrow, has four WTA titles to her name. This is her second semi-final appearance at the French Open – the first one was in 2015. She has not advanced past the fourth round of any tournament leading up to this year’s French Open. She defeated Venus Williams and Kiki Mladenovic on her way to the semi-finals.
Ostapenko, who turns 20 tomorrow, is yet to win her first WTA title. This is her first semi-final appearance at a Grand Slam. Leading up to the French Open, she lost in the final of the Charleston Open in April. She defeated Samantha Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the semi-finals.
Experience should favour Bacsinszky, but Ostapenko has shown that she’s up for the big stage and in for the long run.
Karolina Pliskova vs Simona Halep
This ought to be the match of the day, and possibly the tournament, with both the Grand Slam title and the No. 1 position up for grabs.
It’s the second seed, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic against the third seed, Simona Halep, of Romania. They have already competed six times before – all on hard court surfaces with Halep leading 4-2.
Pliskova is 1.86 metres tall. Reminds me a lot of Venus Williams, with her dynamite serve, powerful returns and net success. She has eight WTA titles to her name. This is her first French Open semi-final. She lost in last year’s US Open final to Angelique Kerber. She has already won two titles this year.
Halep is 1.68 metres tall. She is more a baseline player, athletic and quick – will try and mow every shot down. She has fifteen WTA titles to her name and was a finalist at the French Open in 2014, losing to Maria Sharapova. She has won one title this year.
Halep went into the French Open as the favourite and with clay not being Pliskova’s preferred playing surface, combined with their respective performances leading up to the semi-finals, the diminutive Romanian should have the edge on her opponent.