Stosur in action in Hobart semifinal
It is semifinals day at the Hobart International and all eyes will be on whether Australian top seed Samantha Stosur can continue her winning run and earn a finals spot.
Stosur has not reached a singles final in her home country since 2005, when she reached back-to-back finals in Sydney and the Gold Coast.
The road to the semi-finals has been anything but smooth for the world no.17, scraping past her first two opponents in final set tiebreakers. Her quarter-final against eighth seed Bojana Jovanovski yesterday was better, with Stosur dropping just five games.
Standing in her way of a finals spot is 31 year-old Czech Klara Zakopalova, the tournament’s seventh seed.
Zakopalova has not dropped a set en-route to the semi-final and is playing with a lot of confidence.
Stosur has beaten the world no. 37 three times in their four meetings, including twice in the first round of the Australian Open, but that does not mean the top seed is taking the match-up lightly.
“It is nice to know in the back of your mind that you’ve had good success against a player but tomorrow is a new day, it won’t automatically happen again. I don’t think it necessarily means too much,” Stosur said after her win yesterday.
Zakopalova, whose only win against the Australian was on clay in 2005, admitted it would be tough for her to face Stosur in front of her home fans.
“It’s a big advantage for her. I know how good she is playing so I have to prepare myself for a very tough match,” she said after her quarter-final win against American Alison Riske.
The two players will also go head-to-head in the first round of the Australian Open next week. The draw was announced this morning and pitted Stosur against Zakopalova in the opening round of the tournament for the third time in eight years.
Stosur’s match follows the opening match on centre court, a doubles semi-final between Spanish combination Lara Arruabarrena and Silvia Soler-Espinosa and second seeds Lisa Raymond of America and Shuai Zhang of China.
The second singles semi-final between Spanish qualifiers Estrella Cabeza Candela and Garbine Muguruza will be played this afternoon, starting not before 5.30pm.
The two players have been surprise packets of the draw and won a lot of new fans in Hobart this week. Both are competing in their first main draw at Hobart, both having failed to qualify in their only previous visit to the tournament. Both will also be playing in just their second career WTA semi-final and aiming to reach a final for the first time.
Cabeza Candela’s run to the semi-finals has even surprised her. The world no.114 had expected to be competing in Australian Open qualifying in Melbourne right now, hoping just to play a few matches in Hobart before attempting to qualify for the grand slam tournament. Now with six straight wins under her belt, Cabeza Candela is excited to still be in Hobart and competing in just her second career WTA semi-final.
Cabeza Candela has won two of their three previous matches, but Muguruza won their most recent meeting last year.
Muguruza also has a good record in Hobart, having won her only WTA doubles title here last year.
The final match of the day is the second doubles semi-final which sees Zakopalova return to court to partner Romanian Monica Niculescu against Slovak Republic’s Janette Husarova and Taiwan’s Yung-Jan Chan.