Just four players remain in contention for the 2019 Upper Austria Ladies Linz title. The always unpredictable Jelena Ostapenko will take on the 2018 edition runner-up Ekaterina Alexandrova. 15-year-old Cori Gauff is going to play her first WTA semifinal against suddenly in-form Andrea Petkovic. Who will advance to the Sunday’s final?
WTA Linz Open Semifinal Predictions
Ekaterina Alexandrova vs Jelena Ostapenko
Head-to-head: Alexandrova 3-1 Ostapenko
Last year’s runner-up Ekaterina Alexandrova was a little slow getting into this tournament, but she’s finally played up to her potential against Kristina Mladenovic. The Russian lost her both WTA semifinals this season, in Budapest (lost to Alison Van Uytvanck) and Seoul (lost to Magda Linette).
One of the most impressive performers this whole week was Jelena Ostapenko. Wildly inconsistent in her results this season, the Latvian has finally managed to put it together for a few matches. Tamara Korpatsch, Alize Cornet, and Elena Rybakina were all handed straight-sets defeats (Cornet retired down 5-7 1-4).
I wouldn’t give much value to the head-to-head. Two of Alexandrova’s wins came via retirement and Ostapenko took their only indoor meeting. The Russian plays a forehand-oriented baseline game and does a very fine job making the opponents move. However, taking the initiative won’t be easy against this opponent. Ostapenko’s hyper-aggressive first-strike tennis forces the opponent to play in a certain way. The Latvian has been working with Marion Bartoli this week and although it’s obviously way too early to discuss the effects of that partnership, but Ostapenko could probably use someone she could look up to. I might be wrong here, but the Latvian seems very focused and expect her to deliver again.
Prediction: Ostapenko in 3
Cori Gauff vs Andrea Petkovic
Head-to-head: First meeting
It’s been a weird week for the 15-year-old Cori Gauff. The American seemed to be a lock to qualify, but failed at the very last stage of the competition to Tamara Korpatsch. She was the second player in the line for the lucky loser spot and due to withdrawals of Anastasia Sevastova and Maria Sakkari, she got a place in the main draw. Not playing that well against Stefanie Voegele and Kateryna Kozlova, not many favored her to go through Kiki Bertens. However, Gauff played a very clean match and managed to send the top seed home after a great performance.
In the last 52 weeks, Andrea Petkovic hasn’t been quite the player she once was. The former world no.9 is through to her first semifinal since the last edition of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz (lost to Ekaterina Alexandrova). Getting a bit of a new life here, she has been arguably the strongest player so far. Wins over Jil Teichmann, Julia Goerges and Viktoria Kuzmova saw her lose just 13 games combined.
Predicting young prodigies like Gauff is extremely difficult. A very raw game and a very raw mind, but on occasions, she can produce complete and concentrated performances. Anyone who’s ever done sports knows that facing a player twice your age puts a lot more pressure on you. If Petkovic can get this out of her mind, she should be able to make Gauff uncomfortable with her excellent baseline game. The German has a lot of variety of power and precision and one shouldn’t underestimate the value of experience.
Prediction: Petkovic in 3
Main Photo from Getty.