The last four players in contention for the Swedish Open 2014 title face off on Saturday in Bastad.
My best bet was a relatively comfortable winner on Friday, as Jana Cepelova overcame a very slow start to ease past Yulia Putintseva in straight sets, while two of the other three quarter-finals also went the way I had expected.
The Chanelle Scheepers/Lara Arruabarrena clash did indeed go past the overs mark in a three set battle, while Silvia Soler-Espinosa did prove too strong for Alexandra Panova.
I called the Mona Barthel/Kaia Kanepi clash wrong, but overall it was a pleasing and profitable day’s WTA betting.
We start at around 12:00 UK time on Saturday in Bastad with Cepelova taking on Scheepers.
Jana Cepelova vs Chanelle Scheepers
Both of today’s Bastad semis are fist meetings, so as in the quarters yesterday there’s no previous to go on, and both matches are tough to confidently call winners in.
Cepelova is into just her second tour level semi final and she has a 100 percent record at the moment after edging Belinda Bencic 9-7 in a final set tie break in Charleston in March this year.
Scheepers has played four previously and won only one, which was Guangzhou back in 2011 on hard courts and she hasn’t won a set in her last three, the most recent of which was in Bogota in quicker clay conditions in April.
The South African went on to win that Guangzhou title in 2011, but this is a big match for these two and with the way that each likes to play it is likely to be a cagey affair.
Cepelova likes to use plenty of variety and angles and sneaks in to the net, which did for Putintseva yesterday, while Scheepers isn’t blessed with the most power either, so also has an all-court game.
It could well make for a bit of a chess game out there today and when one considers the likely nerves as well it has the hallmarks of a tight one if they both play their best.
Scheepers doesn’t tempt me at 1.74, but the over 21.5 total games at 1.88 appeals greatly here and more than the match odds on either player.
Mona Barthel vs Silvia Soler-Espinosa
It’s often a thankless task attempting to predict a match involving Barthel, such is the wildly erratic nature of her performances and she showed that again yesterday when playing her best match of the week to dispose of Kanepi.
Mona’s previous match was a three set struggle against world number 236 Gabriela Dabrowski in which she won just three more points than the Canadian and the next day she shows her best form.
All very typical for Barthel and this match-up today is all about her really, as we know we’re very likely to get some solid clay court stuff from SSE and the winner here depends on how often Barthel finds the lines.
Typically, she sometimes has in semi-finals and sometimes hasn’t, with a 3-4 record in tour level semis and this is her first on clay since here in Bastad two years ago.
She was a straight sets loser that day, but she won her last two on indoor hard in Paris and outdoor hard in Hobart in January 2013 when she was in great form.
Mona has never made a tour level final on clay and she looks short enough at 1.68.
SSE, meanwhile, is into her third semi final at tour level, with a 1-1 record at the moment and if I was forced into betting on this contest I would probably side with the far more reliable Spaniard.
She’s been playing some excellent tennis this week and will take advantage if Barthel has a poor day, which she often does, making the 2.12 a viable choice, but with Mona involved it’s not much more than guesswork.
Back over 21.5 total games in Cepelova/Scheepers at 1.88