Who will advance from semi-final Saturday to Shenzhen showdown on Sunday?

Two of the four I expected in the semi-finals are here. It has been an epic week of tennis so far and it’s going to get better as the four remaining players all eye up the Billie Jean King trophy but who will be up against who?

Ash Barty v Karolina Pliskova

World number one against the world number two in the semi-finals.

Pliskova has surprised me, I loved watching her against Halep because we saw everything in her game. We saw lights out tennis at the beginning and at the end the bit in the middle was a bit of black out so finding that sustained consistency is a problem.

Ash Barty will bring a tougher test. She has more variety in her game so that does go in her advantage. The main shot I’m thinking about is that slice, it has to be utilised and if she can get it deep in the court Pliskova has problem.

However the Czech number one can bring issues to the court for Ash. The way she hits the ball from a nothing position on the court is quite frightening when she is firing off all cylinders.

Ash leads the head to head at 3-2 winning their only meeting this year during the final of Miami 7-6 6-3.

Elina Svitolina v Belinda Bencic

Belinda Bencic is up for the fight and a fight it will be against Elina Svitolina.

The defending champion is on an impressive nine match winning streak at the WTA Finals and is the only player to have won all three matches in the round robin without a set dropped.

Svitolina is hoping to be the latest player to defend the WTA Finals title after Serena in 2012/13 & 14.

Eli has played soo well. The court suits her and she has dug deep in all of her matches. I loved the fact she was still playing at 100% in what was essentially a dead rubber. She said she played like that as she was always taught to take opportunities and her grandmother would be disappointed if he didn’t try.

She has defeated Halep, Kenin and Pliskova coming into this. All different players with great skill but I like how she has figured it out. Kenin gave her nothing to work with early on playing a lot of sliced shots but figured it out and hung in there at difficult times.

Bencic will fight and I think she could cause an upset.

When she is giving a chance to step inside the baseline and pick the forehand or backhand she will find the corners of the court.

I said Elina has played different players but now she has to play one too who she has to keep off coming inside the baseline.

Belinda Bencic does lead their head to head at 2-1. The first meeting was five years ago on the Charleston clay which Belinda won but this year it has been one a piece. Bencic won 6-2 3-6 7-6 in the semi-finals of Dubai when she won the title at the beginning of the year and Svitolina won 6-2 6-4 in the last 16 at the Rogers Cup just before the US Open.

Prediction?

I’ve been surprised a lot this week and I think I will continue to be surprised.

I can see ways of all four being in the final but I will have to go with Ash Barty in two sets and even though I have loved watching Eli play something tells me Belinda Bencic isn’t done yet.

Screenshot 2019-06-08 at 16.57.29

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