This is James of Moo’s Tennis Blog taking over from Marija just for today. Stuttgart has delivered up some fantastic tennis this week and I am sure you all enjoyed Jimmie’s excellent coverage of the event here on Women’s Tennis Blog. Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic will battle it out on Sunday to win the 2014 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
The first of Saturday’s semi-finals in Stuttgart saw Maria Sharapova continue her utter domination over Sara Errani with a 6-1 6-2 victory in just 59 minutes. Sharapova is now 5-0 in the head-to-head and has won ten straight sets against the Italian. Errani struggled on serve throughout the match, winning just 10 of 35 points on serve as Sharapova powered her way to a 12th consecutive victory in Stuttgart.
Sharapova has never lost a match in Stuttgart having won both the 2012 and 2013 editions of the tournament. After battling with Lucie Safarova for over three hours in an excellent first round match, the Russian world number 9 has improved match-on-match and ensured that she will retain her position in the top ten when the rankings are released on Monday.
In the second semi-final in Stuttgart, the hotly anticipated all-Serbian affair, it was Ana Ivanovic who edged out Jelena Jankovic in two tight and entertaining sets, 6-3 7-5. Jankovic saved three match points in the final game, but was unable to prolong the match any longer as Ivanovic continued her excellent form in 2014. Winning titles in Auckland and Monterrey, Ivanovic has posted a 23-5 W-L record in 2014, winning 9 of 12 three set matches and coming from a set behind to win on 6 occasions.
Sharapova and Ivanovic met in the quarter-finals of Stuttgart last year with Sharapova winning in three sets, 7-5 4-6 6-4. Ivanovic was going toe-to-toe with Sharapova in that match, but collapsed mentally towards the end of the third set. Sharapova has won 7 of their 9 previous matches with Ivanovic’s only completed win coming all the way back in 2007 on the clay courts of Roland Garros.
Sharapova will be the favourite to win her third Stuttgart title, having never lost at this tournament and holding such a dominant lead in the head-to-head. However, Ivanovic has been playing some of her most consistently clean tennis since topping the WTA rankings in 2008. Mentally, she has looked much stronger this year and despite that one-sided head-to-head, this should be a keenly contested final.