WTA Tour: BGL Luxembourg Open Semi-Finals Preview

Tennis player holds racquet
Damien Kayat previews the WTA Tour's BGL Luxembourg Open Semi-Finals.

WTA Tour
WTA International
BGL Luxembourg Open
Kockelscheuer Sport Centre- Hard Indoors
Semi-Finals – 19th October 2018

Belinda Bencic (9/10) vs Dayana Yastremska (9) (8/10)

21 year-old Swiss darling Belinda Bencic has really been beset by injury during her short career. She really burst onto the scene with that remarkable 2015 Rogers Cup victory, and four finals on hard-courts do reflect her considerable talent. But injury has blighted her career, including a foot injury that derailed her in March this year. It was a massive blow coming in the wake of her heroics alongside Roger Federer in the Hopman Cup. Quarterfinals in Washington and Connecticut have been the highlights on her comeback trail. But the talented Bencic came into this event on the back of dreadful form, losing five consecutive matches including Linz last week. But resounding victories over Kirsten Flipkens and Lapko seem to suggest that Bencic could be ready for a major resurgence. 

Bencic will be facing an intriguing test in 18 year-old Ukrainian sensation Dayana Yastremska. The young Ukrainian had an esteemed junior career, reaching the Junior Wimbledon Final in 2016. She has largely plied her trade on the ITA Tour this season, struggling to break through in the ultra-competitive ranks of the tour proper. But she reached three finals on that tour, which was perhaps a portent of things to come for Yastremska. She reached the final 16 in Connecticut, which was perhaps the first occasion when her massive potential was momentarily glimpsed. But few could have foreseen that amazing victory in Hong Kong last week. She followed up her first WTA Title with an opening round victory over Garbine Muguruza this week.

This will be the third meeting between these two, with the pair sharing the spoils with one win apiece. Dayana Yastremska probably holds the psychological edge, beating Bencic in straight sets in Connecticut earlier this year. Yastremska seems like great value at 8/10 in the wake of her title in Hong Kong.

Julia Goerges (1) (1/2) vs Eugenie Bouchard (13/8)

29 year-old German Julia Goerges has experienced a sensational late career surge which has seen her hover in and around the top 10 in the world consistently for the last year. Goerges has had an extremely consistent season that has yielded positive results on all surfaces. She reached the quarters in Qatar and the semi-finals in St Petersburg during the early season salvos, highlighting her capacity on hardcourts. She then reached the Charleston Final on clay before her remarkable run at Wimbledon. Even hard-core Goerges aficionados would not have anticipated a semi-final run on grass for the German, especially when you consider she had never reached a quarterfinal prior to SW19. Her late hardcourt season has been decent, with a semi-final run in Connecticut the highlight thus far.

The trials and tribulations of Eugenie Bouchard have an air of telenovela about them. The former top 5 player reached two Grand Slam Semi-Finals and a Grand Slam Final in 2014. But her form has stagnated, with the 2015 concussion she suffered at the US Open emblematic of her demise. In reality the off-court distractions that come with being a pin-up WTA Tour idol proved too much for Bouchard to handle. The 2012 Junior Wimbledon Champion has really struggled to get her game back on track, though a semi-final at the Swiss Open at least demonstrated her ability to go deep in events. But Bouchard’s fortunes may have turned this week when an inopportune injury to Petkovic forced her to abandon their quarterfinal match with a one set lead. This could be the break Bouchard needed, particularly after she demolished 3rd seed Suarez-Navarro in her opening match.

I was fairly surprised in discovering that this will only be the second time that these two have met. And it’s really hard to read much into that, considering that Bouchard beat Goerges at the 2014 French Open right in the middle of her golden run. Goerges has since been revitalized as a player and should be the overwhelming favourite this week. I just have a feeling that there may be some value in Bouchard at 13/8 this week, especially considering the nature of her victory over Suarez-Navarro. There was also something serendipitous in Petkovic’s withdrawal.

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Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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