The pressure and the stakes rose in the Coachella Valley for the women’s singles semi finals with all 4 players never having performed so well at Indian Wells. All 4 players were looking to make their first final and give themselves a chance to win won of the biggest and most prestigious tournaments of the year, Indian Wells.
The WTA Tour has been blessed with the younger players in Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska facing off in one semi final and a pair of 25 year olds in Jelena Jankovic and Samantha Stosur, adding further to their already impressive careers.
The 1st semi final was between Jankovic and Stosur with the more determined and focused player being able to really hone in to neutralise the power shots of her opponent. Jankovic won 6-2 6-4 to extend her unbeaten run to 3-0 against Stosur and is yet to drop a set against the Australian who will make her debut in the World Top 10 rankings on Monday. Only 2 other Australian women have achieved a Top 10 ranking in the past 30 years, with one of those also representing Yugoslavia for a part of her career.
After the match Jankovic said, “I thought the key to today’s match was my return. Samantha has an unbelievable serve, one of the best serves in women’s game, and I was able to return a lot of her first serves. I was putting a lot of pressure on her second serve. So I think that was the key, because I was able to break her quite a few times and then it made everything easier for me. I think she felt a little bit uncomfortable, because she really relies on that shot. It’s her biggest weapon.”
The 2nd semi final was between Radwanska and Wozniacki of Denmark with the latter moving to 2-1 up in their head to head battles after prevailing 6-2 6-3. Pictured above is Radwanska moments after making contact with the ball on her forehand ground stroke. The 21 year old from Poland played a competitive match with close friend Wozniacki with many extended rallies but was unable to make the most of any of her opportunities except on one occasion. The match was much closer than the score line indicates, with the real difference being that Wozniacki won 5 of 10 break points against the Radwanska serve and saved 7 of the 8 break points she faced on her own serve.
After the match Wozniacki said, “I thought that I played a really good match. I played consistent and tried to be aggressive, but there was a fine line between playing over aggressively and too passively. We know each other so well. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Agnieszka is a great fighter. She doesn’t give up. I knew that I had to fight till the last point to win this match.”
The Indian Wells Women’s Singles Final will be played on 21 March at 12 noon California (local) time on Stadium 1 with No.6 seed Jankovic versus No.2 seed Wozniacki. On paper it looks like another win for the former World No.1 to extend her head to head record against the comparatively inexperienced 19 year old. However, all 3 matches have been on the biggest stages with Jankovic prevailing by running away with the 3rd set both at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships and the 2008 US Open. The most recent match was at the 2009 WTA Tour Finals in Doha where Jankovic recorded an easy 6-2 6-2 win.
Often new player to the tour run out of gas in the final set against their higher ranked opponents and the last match Wozniacki lost to Jankovic was the day after she suffered severe cramping and surprised people by even playing that match in the WTA Tour Finals. Last year the Danish player played in a WTA Tour high 8 finals whereas Jankovic played in 3.
Both players play a very consistent style of play and are happy to use their ground strokes and extend the rallies. This in itself should make for great entertainment for the spectators. Jankovic has the definite edge in how well she covers the court and her court movement despite being 6 years senior to her opponent. It is critical for Wozniacki to take the initiative by trying to dictate the points so that Jankovic does more of the running because this match up will be a battle of who can get their opponent on the defensive and then be able to find ways to close out the point without over hitting.
OCA’s prediction to win the 2010 Indian Wells Women’s Singles Final is Wozniacki (it is pronounced woz-nee-ACK-ee!).
Stay tuned to this tennis website for further information and results at Indian Wells for both the men and women’s events. Click this link for more details -> Indian Wells 2010: March 12-21.
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