Petra Kvitova can move one step closer to a third Madrid title on Friday night when she takes on fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova in the semi finals. Former champions Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova both surprisingly lost in the quarter finals, leaving Kvitova as the only champion left in the final four. The winner will fancy their chances in the final with either Caroline Garcia or Kiki Bertens awaiting. It will be the first time these two have played since 2015, where Kvitova won in Sydney. Ranked outside the top 20 at that point, Pliskova has shown a marked improvement.
Pliskova has not let up this month, following her Stuttgart title with a run to the semi finals here. She hit 20 winners in an impressive victory over Simona Halep, only her second victory in eight attempts against the Romanian. While Roland Garros semi finalist Pliskova is no slouch on clay herself, it came as somewhat of a shock to see her so comfortable against another top clay player in Halep. “I was feeling very well in the rallies what we played, even from my backhand side,” a delighted Pliskova said afterwards. “My forehand was working. I think I played one of my best matches this year for sure, and for sure on clay in my life.”
Kvitova showed few signs of tiredness in her crushing victory over Daria Kastkina, needing just 65 minutes to close out the 6-4 6-0 win. It was a dominant serving day for her, dropping just four points behind her first serve. She did drop serve once up 5-3 in the first but bounced back to break for the set and took full control from there. “The whole day I was saving energy, so I was a little bit worried before the match that I would need some more time to be in the rhythm and move well and everything,” Kvitova said post-match. “Even from the beginning I was pretty ready, so it was a good sign.”
Prediction – Petra Kvitova in three sets