After a succession of upsets on quarterfinals day, the semifinal line-up at the WTA Thailand Open is something of a surprise and features none of the top four seeds in Hua Hin. But every player in the last four has more than earned their place with some excellent tennis and there should be more excitement in store. But who will book their place in Sunday’s showpiece final?
Thailand Open Semifinal Predictions
Magda Linette vs Patricia Maria Tig
Head-to-head: Linette 1-0 Tig
Magda Linette has played some of the best tennis of her career over the last six months, highlighted by her triumph at the New York Open last season just prior to the final Grand Slam of the year. And she has continued that form at the Thailand Open, scoring back-to-back straight-sets wins over Kateryna Bondarenko and Peng Shuai to reach the last eight. There, she battled past the Chinese young gun Wang Xiyu from a set down to win 2-6 6-3 6-3 and reach the semifinals.
But Patricia Maria Tig has scored some standout results of her own lately, not least her comprehensive 6-4 6-2 win over fourth seed Zheng Saisai in the quarterfinals. Both women will surely see this as a great chance to reach a final and potentially win a title, with there looking to be little between this pair. Linette did win their only previous meeting, which came in 2012 on the clay in Dobrich. But where Tig may be able to carve out a decisive advantage in Hua Hin is by returning aggressively and targeting Linette’s second serve.
The Pole struggled to defend her second delivery against Wang, losing 55% of the points she played behind it. That does not bode well for her chances against Tig, who punished Zheng’s second serve ruthlessly, winning 61% of the points against it, whilst defending her own well, losing just 22% of the points behind it. As a result, she saved 10 break points she faced and converted half of then 10 she forced. A similar returning performance should see her into the final.
Prediction: Tig in 3
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Nao Hibino vs Leonie Kung
Head-to-head: first meeting
Nao Hibino arrives into the Thailand Open semifinals fresh from the best win of her career in the quarterfinals. The eighth seed delivered a scintillating display to thrash top seed and world #4 Elina Svitolina and will surely be full of confidence. But her opponent, Leonie Kung, also has plenty of reasons to feel good about her game. The 19-year-old Swiss was a virtual unknown when she stepped on to court in Hua Hin for the first round of qualifying, but she has swiftly changed that.
She stormed into main draw and then through to the quarterfinals without dropping a set, picking up wins over Yanin Wisitwarapron and Fang Ying Xun in the qualifying, before beating Patcharin Cheapchandej and Zhu Lin to reach the last eight. There edged out third seed and US Open quarterfinalist Wang Qiang in a three-set epic. However, that may well have taken a lot out of her, mentally and physically, and the in-form Hibino should be well placed to capitalise.
Prediction: Hibino in 2
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