WTA Tokyo: Semi Final Predictions


WTA Tokyo: Will Bencic continue to boss Wozniacki?

The semi finals have been decided at the 2015 Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan. Caroline Wozniacki will play Belinda Bencic and Agnieszka Radwanska will play Dominika Cibulkova, the only unseeded player to reach the quarter finals. Did I predict this? Find out here!

Here’s a look at the semi finals and my predictions as to who will reach the final.


(6/1) Caroline Wozniacki vs (15/8) Belinda Bencic

Wozniacki moved into her 7th semi final of the year behind a 62 26 63 win against (9/5) Angelique Kerber in the quarter finals. The 25 year old Dane played with uncharacteristic aggression throughout, using her trademark backhand to eventually batter Kerber into submission. The 2010 champion and last year’s finalist now moves into her 4th semi final here in her last 6 attempts.

Bencic handled a tough first set before cruising to a 76(1) 61 victory over (8/3) Garbine Muguruza in the quarter finals. The Swiss absorbed her opponent’s pace, Muguruza failing to contain her unforced errors and clearly lacking confidence in the tiebreak.  The 18 year old had advanced beyond the 2nd round here for the first time, escaping Samantha Stosur 67(5) 63 64 and now finds herself into her 4th semi final of the year, all of which have occurred since the French Open.

Bencic dominates Wozniacki 3-1 in their head to head, winning all 3 times the pair have met this year. 2 of these meetings were on hard court, the last coming just over a month ago in Toronto, where Bencic won 75 75.

This match will be filled with long, tiring rallies as neither player possesses a knockout punch. Bencic is technically sounder off of both wings and has better touch, with an added ability to flatten out the ball. However, Wozniacki is the better mover and I don’t think she’s been physically at her best in any of her matches against Bencic this year.

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As Bencic is currently in 12th place on the Road to Singapore and Wozniacki is 14th, both players will be keen to guarantee themselves at least 305 points by reaching the final. Given Bencic’s recent good form and head to head against Wozniacki, I give her the edge.

Prediction: Belinda Bencic

(13/7) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (48/-) Dominika Cibulkova

Radwanska continues on the path back to the top 10 in reaching her 5th semi final of the year and 1st since Wimbledon. The 26 year old Pole continued her unbeaten record against (11/4) Karolina Pliskova in the quarter finals, handling her opponents big serve and dangerously carefree attitude to win 75 62. Having never failed to reach the quarter finals, the 2011 champion moves into her 3rd semi final here.

Cibulkova keeps playing like her former top 10 self as she rebounds from an Achilles injury earlier this year. The Slovak remained undefeated against (10/6) Carla Suarez Navarro in the 2nd round, out powering her 64 64 before emulating her US Open victory against (12/2) Ana Ivanovic, 76(5) 63 in the quarter finals. Cibulkova handled the tension of the match far better than the defending champion, who seemed anxious and hampered by a thigh strain. The 26 year old, who at best reached the quarter finals here last year, now finds herself into her 1st semi final of the year.

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Radwanska has a slight 5-3 edge against Cibulkova, including a 63 64 win in the 3rd round here in 2013. However, aside from that defeat, Cibulkova has won 3 of their past 4 meetings including their last 2. These both came early in 2014 when Cibulkova thrashed Radwanska 61 62 in the Australian Open semis and then saved 3 match points to edge her 36 76(5) 63 in the quarter finals of Miami.

Cibulkova will certainly set the pace in this match, making the lions share of winners and errors. Radwanska must try and absorb what’s thrown at her and get on the front foot whenever possible.

Now 11th on the Road to Singapore, Radwanska will be especially keen for the win but Cibulkova has nothing to lose on her comeback trail and will be dangerous.

Prediction: Dominika Cibulkova

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