The Collector Swedish Open is being played on clay in Bastad this week. In the first semi final match, home player and 8th seed Johanna Larsson took on the Italian Flavia Pennetta, now ranked at 103. Larsson had three very easy straight sets wins on her way to the semis, while Pennetta had a tough three setter in her first round against the up and coming Mariana Duque-Marino; another difficult three setter against 2nd seed Simona Halep, who had to retire trailing 0-2 in the decider; and then another easy straight setter in the quarters. Pennetta seemed to have the measure of Larsson at the beginning of this match, as she took the first set 6-2 with ease. The Italian went up a break in the second set too, but the home fans seemed to lift the Swede and she took the second set 6-3. She then took the decider 6-4 to book her place in the final.
“The crowd was unbelievable – I wish there were more weeks in Bastad during the year” the Swede said after this hard fought match which lasted one hour and forty four minutes.
Top seed Serena Williams, who played in the second semi on Saturday afternoon, had little difficulty on her route, losing just ten games in her first three straight set matches. Her opponent, 3rd seed Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic, lost eleven games in her three straight set matches to reach the semis. Going into this match, Serena lead the head to head stat 3-1 with Zakopalova’s win on clay, but they had not met since 2009. In her dominating fashion, Serena took the first set to love and then continued the trend by taking the first two games of the second. Zakopalova then got two games in a row but Serena went to 4-2. The wily Czech then got another two games to level at 4-4 before Serena took the next two to wrap up the set at 6-4 and the match in an hour and seven minutes for her 50th victory of the 2013 season.
“I was hardly making mistakes in the first set” Serena said of the match and will try to take that into the final.