Damien Kayat previews the WTA Tour Silicon Valley Classic between Aryna Sabalenka vs Daria Kasatkina as well as Shelby Rogers and Amanda Anisimova taking place on 5 & 6 August 2022.
2022 WTA Tour
Silicon Valley Classic
San Jose State University (Outdoor Hardcourt)
Selected Quarterfinals- 5th- 6th August
Aryna Sabalenka (4) (66/100) vs Daria Kasatkina (7) (23/20)
This should be a fascinating clash between the last two beaten finalists of this event. A recent World No.2, Aryna Sabalenka hasn’t enjoyed the most fruitful of campaigns. Her opening-round match pretty much summed up the year for Sabalenka (especially on hardcourts).
She needed three gruelling sets to overcome Caroline Dolehide- a player who has never been ranked inside the top 100 in the world. To be fair, the Belarusian hasn’t played since June due to Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes. But the result took her win-loss record for the season to 20-14.
As I alluded to earlier, the usually decisive Sabalenka has really struggled on her beloved hardcourts (her record this year has been a pedestrian 7-7). This is pretty abject when you consider that nine of her ten career WTA finals have come on hard surfaces.
Her usually dynamic serve hasn’t been as authoritative this year and we have seen plenty of double-faults off her racquet. Strangely, the hard-hitting Sabalenka played her most consistent tennis on clay, reaching the final in Stuttgart and the semi-finals in Rome.
That’s just the kind of peculiar year it has been for one of the nearly-woman of the female game. But the 2021 US Open semi-finalist reached the final here in 2019 and she could use this event as a springboard for some late-season success.
Daria Kasatkina seems to be riding a feel-good wave this week. She has received overwhelming support from the tennis community after recently coming out . She has looked excellent this week, taking down Wimbledon champ Elena Rybakina before an utter demolition of American Taylor Townsend.
She is currently experiencing her most consistent season on tour, reaching four semi-finals leading into the Silicon Valley Classic. That included two huge back-to-back semi-finals at Rome and Roland Garros. The Russian has been solid on hardcourts this season (her victory over Townsend took her hardcourt record to 12-7).
She currently sits 6th in the Porsche WTA Race to the Finals Leaderboard and she will need a solid end to the season to guarantee her maiden WTA Finals berth. She was a beaten finalist here last year and she should be brimming with confidence going into this quarterfinal.
Verdict: Kasatkina to win in straight sets at 49/20- Sabalenka currently holds a commanding 3-1 head-to-head advantage over Kasatkina. Furthermore, the Belarusian has won their last three matches. But I think that the Russian could have the edge this week.
Sabalenka’s serve has been erratic this year while Kasatkina remains one of the best returners in the game. Also, Sabalenka’s movement looked slightly dodgy in her victory against Dolehide.
Shelby Rogers (29/20) vs Amanda Anisimova (53/100)
What more can I say about Shelby Rogers? The American has just continued to deliver this week, overcoming a pretty intimidating draw in the process.
Her first-round victory against Bianca Andreescu had some mitigating factors. The woefully unlucky Canadian seemed to be struggling with a back injury, forcing her to take an MRI to assess the severity.
But Rogers was professional in her duties and used her undoubted power to put the Canadian away. And she looked even more impressive against top seed Maria Sakkari, hitting 16 winners and committing just eight unforced errors in an impressive display of controlled aggression.
As I anticipated, Rogers seems to be turning her season around on these North-American hardcourts. She is yet to be broken this week and she will need to continue that strong serving display against returner extraordinaire Amanda Anisimova.
There are few players on tour who have been as consistent this year as Amanda Anisimova.
She won a title in Melbourne to start the year and she has flirted with contention ever since. And she just overcame a major psychological hurdle by beating Karolina Pliskova.
Pliskova has previously held a 4-0 head-to-head record against the American. And things seemed to be heading down a familiar route after the Czech took the first set. But the gritty American rallied back to trounce the Czech in the latter parts of the match.
It actually reminded me of how Swiatek demolished Pliskova in last year’s Rome final. In any event, it took Anisimova’s 2022 record to an impressive 31-11. She is one of only four players to achieve 30 or more wins on tour this season.
Her performance against Pliskova truly embodied all her best attributes. She was a constant threat on Pliskova’s serve and her double-handed backhand was a thing to behold.
Verdict: Rogers to win in three at 46/10- Rogers holds a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over Anisimova. This match should feature some truly brutal baseline exchanges.
Rogers’ serve has been exceptional this week while Anisimova has been brilliant on return. Pliskova capitulated somewhat against Anisimova and I don’t expect that from the plucky Rogers.
Rogers knows that this is her time of the year to shine and I can see her pulling through a tight encounter.