World number 7 Maria SAKKARI of Greece taking on HALEP in the quarters. Maria goes into this one safely through to the WTA Finals in Mexico so I was really looking into whether she has enough motivation to go all the way in Moscow. She answered that emphatically. Both players had great opening service games with the Sakkari forehand getting the ball rolling in the opening game.Before long the former world number one HALEP was a break down at 3-1. She went for the break back in this game, watch now 15-40 two break points for Simona. Maria did well to go down the T to stay away from the Simona forehand which is her potent weapon just like herself. Check out play at 4-1(adv Sakkari) with Simona in trouble of going a double break down. Sakkari similar to Simona is relatively speaking weaker on her backhand especially when receiving on the advantage court. Whenever HALEP showed signs of a comeback, Maria quickly snuffed it out with those big forehand groundstroke winners. Simona did well to get to 5-4 ,a position to serve to stay in the set. But she couldn’t cope with the quickness of Sakkari. The shanked forehand to hand the set to her opponent by Simona summed up the frustrating set for the Romanian.
Sakkari does go deep in tournaments but she only has one title to her name in Morocco won this year. Definitely her final frontier is conquering the mental block preventing her from going the distance in the big shows. But in this one her forehand was virtually unplayable. HALEP just couldn’t stay away from hitting to Maria’s forehand. Check out opening game 15-0. On serve Simona wasn’t exactly the queen of aces just like her previous match(just one) but served at 72% first serve which is safe. She however looked good making the volleys at the net.Check out 1-0 first point second set. Serve was short and lacked pace with too much spin. The icing was the break Sakkari got in the game, check out the monster forehand down the line at break point. I will say it again, the FOREHAND winners flowed like a river for the Greek number one. Again like the first set Simona showed why she ascended to the top of the women’s game by getting herself back on serve in the match at 5-4. But with the pressure of serving to stay in the match she buckled. No surprises which shot won Sakkari the match.