Sorana Cirstea and Barbora Krejcikova will face off on Saturday in the WTA Strasbourg final.
Cirstea has been quite excellent on clay this Spring. The Romanian won the title at Istanbul last month (def. Mertens in the final), then lost a close match with Pegula in Madrid, and now here she is in another final. Cirstea got past Venus Williams, Zhang and Linette to reach this stage. She was particularly strong in the second part of the semifinal with Linette – after falling behind a set and a break, Cirstea found her rhythm and was spectacular in claiming a 3-6 6-4 6-2 win.
Krejcikova entered Strasbourg in pretty good form. She only had a 3-3 record on clay prior to this tournament, but was on the back of a good showing in Rome, where she reached the third round, where she gave eventual champion Iva Swiatek a huge challenge – that was impressive. This week Krejcikova defeated Dodin, Garcia, Alexandrova and Niemeier, a reasonably difficult draw, and she lost two sets along the way.
The H2H is tied at 1-1, Cirstea winning the last meeting in 2020. Both players are enjoying the clay courts in Strasbourg.
Cirstea is really putting together a consistent run of results, and she will be looking to capture a second title in one month. If she plays like in the second half of the match against Linette, it’s hard to bet against her. Cirstea was superb, attacking the lines without making too many unforced errors (in fact, very few). She got into the zone at the right time and she will hope that it continues in the final.
Krejcikova is theoretically the more stable player, she’s better ranked and looked good on clay this season herself. She hasn’t impressed me in this tournament though, even if she navigated a tricky draw. She wasn’t great in her semifinal against the 216th ranked Niemeier. The German had full control in the first set, eventually Krejcikova stepped it up a bit and used her experience to edge a tight three setter, but at no point did she look fantastic. She didn’t decisively take over the match.
If Cirstea is at her best, picking up where she left off against Linette, I feel she will win this match. Watching Krejcikova against Niemeier, I don’t think she can resist an in form Cirstea. She looked vulnerable against the German big hitter in the semis, and now she will have to face another power player – Cirstea being, however, vastly superior to Niemeier.
The Romanian is worth a shot here. She’s in top form, she’s confident, and last month in Istanbul she proved she can hold her nerve and play her best in a final (against a tough opponent like Mertens, nonetheless). She also showed she can handle a varied game like Krejcikova will surely try to employ. Prediction: Sorana Cirstea – Barbora Krejcikova 6-3 7-6.