By Ros Satar, in Stuttgart
- Laura Siegemund [WC] def. Karolina Pliskova  7-6(3) 5-7 6-3
- Simona Halep  def. Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-1
STUTTGART, GERMANY – Last year’s finalist Laura Siegemund sets up a re-match with Simona Halep, the seed she dispatched last year at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
Laura Siegemund [WC] def. Karolina Pliskova  7-6(3) 5-7 6-3
It was with more than some rueful recognition that No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova and predicted that if she did not stick to her game and keep Laura Siegemund from drop-shotting her to pieces. Lifted by a crowd denied the chance of seeing their champion Angelique Kerber get the job (and the car) for a third straight time, all their investment was on the feisty girl from literally round the corner.
Siegemund, who was once declared as the heiress apparent to Steffi Graf struggled with the pressure, but last year returned after studying Psychology with a thesis looking specifically at choking in pressure situations. It is fair to say the German brings her best tennis here – she made a run through the qualifying rounds, carrying that form into Madrid, winning the title in Bastad with good showings at Bucharest and the Olympics.
Her 2017 has been a different story – with the exception of Charleston, so to be comfortable in the surroundings here to kick-start her year on a surface she feels very comfortable with has been welcome.
She said: “I’m very proud of my performance. I think I played my best tennis this year maybe that I can play, again. I’m very focussed and until now very happy with my performances.
“I think I can play very aggressive and people maybe underestimate that sometime because I have fancy shots and drop shots here and there but I can play, I can put a lot of pressure on people. And that’s what my aim was today and it worked out. I did a good job.”
Simona Halep  def. Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-1
No. 4 seed Simona Halep wasted no time in re-asserting the same authority over Anastasija Sevastova as she did in their last encounter in Bucharest. There, Sevastova struggled to even get anything on the board. Here at least she started better, before the pair traded five breaks between them. It was Halep who got the all important advantage at the end before ploughing through her last service game to seal the set.
Halep started with the same determination she had in Bucharest jumping out to a 4-0 advantage and Sevastova never really got a chance to try and get back into contention, as Halep roared into her second semi-finals in Stuttgart. Maybe because of her faltering start to the season, Halep has managed to be one of the more fresher players out there, as she explained.
“I moved great actually before Indian Wells, I didn’t feel any pain anymore. So, I was able to train very hard. I worked very hard two months already. So, I’m feeling great on court, I feel light and I feel that I can reach all the balls.”
Last year Siegemund laid waste to the seeded Halep in one of the early shocks as she came in to the main draw match tight from qualification. It is not something Halep has forgotten.
“Three games? Yes, I won three games. It’s going to be very tough. I expect the crowd to be very loud for her. I expect that she is going to play a great match. She hits a lot of drop shots so I have to recover and to work on my sprints a little bit. But, I’m here, it’s my second semi-finals, I have nothing to lose and I just want to be as aggressive as I have been these two days.”
Halep and Siegemund are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 6:30pm (5:30pm BST).
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