We take a look at the Monterrey Open Selected Quarterfinals Matches between Sara Sorribes Tormo and Anna Schmiedlova as well as Ann Li against Zheng Saisai.
WTA Tour 2021
Club Sonoma (Outdoor Hardcourt)
Selected Quarterfinals- 19th March
Sara Sorribes Tormo (7) (47/100) vs Anna Schmiedlova (33/20)
The Monterrey Open isn’t exactly blessed with stellar talent this year. The 7th seed from Spain, Sara Sorribest Tormo, has reached the quarterfinal of this event courtesy of a Kavan walkover. Not counting this match, Sorribes Tormo is on a six-match winning streak in Mexico. Last week she won her maiden WTA title at the Guadalajara Open, beating Eugenie Bouchard in the process. It’s fairly amazing progress considering her performances in Mexico in 2020: she lost in both these events in the opening round. All in all, 2020 was pretty much a wash for the Spaniard. She had one sole quarterfinal in Prague to boast of. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of her season was a victory over Naomi Osaka in Fed Cup qualifying- but you never know how seriously the elite players take those matches. This is actually her 3rd quarterfinal of the season (she also reached the last 8 of the Abu Dhabi Open). She is a nuggety customer who will look to capitalize on this run of form.
Her opponent in the next round will be 26-year-old Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. She came from a set down to defeat Italian Jasmine Paolini. It was a crazy match in that it featured 12 service breaks. This is usually a strong feature when you go slightly lower in the WTA rankings: service becomes more of a lottery. The Slovak is actually a former top 30 player in the world, with three WTA Titles to her name. But things have certainly changed in recent years. 2020 was pretty much disastrous for Schmiedlova. Funnily enough, her best performance of the year was also a quarterfinal in Prague (exactly like Sorribes Tormo). She is coming off a quarterfinal last week in Guadajajara and will need her serve to be more reliable in this match.
Sara Sorribes Tormo won their one and only encounter on clay in 2019. And I don’t see any reason why this trend will change. Sorribes Tormo is very much in the mould of a lightweight Arancha Sanchez Vicario. She will fight to the last point and should challenge the Slovakian on every service game. Straight sets at 21/20 to the Spaniard.
Ann Li (8) (4/9) vs Zheng Saisai (3) (13/8)
This is the more marquee matchup of the two. Ann Li is yet another is that veritable conveyor belt of young American talent. The 20-year-old was actually a runner-up at the Junior Wimbledon Championships in 2017. But 2021 is starting to look promising for the American. She had a tremendous run at the Grampians Trophy, ultimately having to share the trophy with Anett Kontaveit due to scheduling issues ahead of the Aussie Open. She picked up the massive scalp of Aussie Open Finalist Jennifer Brady in the process. She then had a decent 3rd round showing at the Aussie Open. She is yet to drop a set this week, playing in a characteristically aggressive American manner. She will be looking to improve her year-to-date win-loss record to 8-1 in this match, the only defat being the Sabalenka thrashing at the Aussie Open.
27-year-old Chinese player Zheng Saisai is an accomplished veteran in both singles and doubles action. Not blessed with any glaring weapon, she uses her courtcraft and determination to grind players down. She has two WTA Finals to her name. The one that has essentially carried her in the rankings was that unbelievable Silicon Valley Classic win. As it was a Premier Level event, it carried over many points that have perhaps obscured some of her poor form over the past two years. She only played 11 matches last year due to the global pandemic. But her form in 2021 has been atrocious. She was 0-6 going into this event. Straight sets victories over Gracheva and Zhu may have stopped the rot, but I don’t know how much further she can go this week.
This will be the first encounter between these two. I foresee a comfortable Ann Li victory. You can’t deny Zheng’s work-rate, but ultimately show won’t have the power from the back of the court to contain this up-and-coming American. Straight sets is the only sensible option here at 11/10.