Iga Swiatek of Poland serves the ball to Madison Brengle, during the Miami Open tennis tournament, Sunday, March 27, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
- The top-three seeds have reached the Stuttgart Open semifinals, along with unseeded Liudmila Samsonova
- World No. 1 Iga Swiatek is on a 21-match winning streak. Will it end Saturday?
- Read on as we break down the matchups, the Stuttgart Open odds and make predictions
The top three seeds – but not the top three tournament favorites – have made it to the final four at the Stuttgart Open.
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek was the overwhelming pick before the start of the event, with No. 2 Paula Badosa trailing her.
Sabalenka vs Badosa Odds
| Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)||+1.5 (-139)||-115||O 21.5 (-111)|
| Paula Badosa (ESP)||-1.5 (-104)||-111||U 21.5 (+100)|
Odds as of April 22 at BetMGM
Aryna Sabalenka wasn’t a big factor at the start of the week. But she was pushed to close to her best in her opener against Canadian Bianca Andreescu.
As for unseeded Liudmila Samsonova, ranked No. 31 in the world, she wasn’t even a speck on the radar.
Sabalenka Rounding into Form
The 23-year-old from Belarus was under .500 on the season, plagued with serving woes and a little short on confidence.
But her three-set win over Andreescu, ragged as it was, pushed her to a level of tennis not often seen in 2022.
And she rallied equally well against No. 5 seed Anett Kontaveit Friday, after again dropping the second set.
It ran a nearly identical pattern to her quarterfinal against the Estonian a year ago on the same court. But Kontaveit is a far more accomplished player a year later, while Sabalenka isn’t playing nearly as well.
Sabalenka vs Badosa Head-to-Head
|23 (May 5, 1998)||Age||24 (Nov. 15, 1997)|
|Minsk, Belarus||Birthplace||New York City, USA|
|10||Career WTA Singles Titles||3|
|No. 2 (Aug. 23, 2021)||Career High Ranking||No. 3 (April 4, 2022)|
|No. 4||Current Ranking||No. 3|
|$10,124,335||Career Prize Money||$4,485,670|
|9-8||2022 Won/Loss record||20-7|
|2||Career Head to Head||0|
Meanwhile, Badosa had a tough one Thursday against her good friend Ons Jabeur.
She could easily have lost it in straight sets. She won fewer points and didn’t play as well as her opponent.
But somehow, she did what she had to do to win.
And as a result, she will move to a career high No. 2 next Monday.
Sabalenka vs Badosa Match History
|2021||WTA Finals (RR)||Outdoor Hard||6-4, 6-0||Badosa|
|2021||Cincinnati (R32)||Outdoor Hard||5-7, 7-2, 7-6 (4)||Badosa|
Badosa the Better Clay-Court Player
Their two previous meetings came on hard court last year. And on paper, Sabalenka was both the better hard-court player. She also was the higher-ranked player.
“You all know clay is my favorite surface, but that also makes it tricky because maybe they think you are even more favorite and now they play better against you.”
Why the clay swing will be the next evolutionary step for Swiatek, Badosa, Sakkari.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) April 19, 2022
The odds belie those considerations; it’s basically a dead heat.
Both have had two three-setters to get to this point.
Doubles partners for the week, the two also withdrew from that event after winning their opening match. The better to save energy for what should be a real battle.
Best Bet: Badosa in Three Sets (+190)
Swiatek Heavily Favored Over Samsonova
Swiatek already was the overwhelming favorite to win the Stuttgart Open.
Having an unseeded, lower-ranked player in the semifinals only improves the likelihood that she will pull off her fourth consecutive tournament win – her first since becoming world No. 1.
Swiatek vs Samsonova Odds
|Liudmila Samsonova (RUS)||-6.5 (-105)||+775||O 18.5 (+100)|
| Iga Swiatek (POL)||+6.5 (-105)||-1667||U 18.5 (-143)|
First Meeting Between Swiatek and Samsonova
Samsonova, born in Russia, lived in and represented Italy during her junior career.
Now Russian again, she reached her career high of No. 30 after Indian Wells and now sits just one spot below that.
Swiatek vs Samsonova Head-to-Head
|20 (May 31, 2001)||Age||23 (Nov. 11, 1998)|
|Warsaw, Poland||Birthplace||Olenegorsk, Russia|
|6||Career WTA Singles Titles||1|
|No. 1 (April 4, 2022)||Career High Ranking||No. 30 (March 21, 2022)|
|No. 1||Current Ranking||No. 31|
|$8,423,963||Career Prize Money||$1,431,142|
|30-3||2022 Won/Loss record||9-7|
|2||Career Head to Head||2|
The 23-year-old dropped a 6-0, 6-0 decision on first-round opponent Chloe Paquet. She took advantage of a worn-out Karolina Pliskova in the second round. And she had a good draw in rusty wild card Laura Siegemund in the quarterfinals.
So it couldn’t have been a better draw for her.
🇵🇱 Iga Swiatek has now won 21 matches (and 28 sets) in a row. 🔥
The World No. 1 kept her winning streak(s) alive with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Emma Raducanu in the quarterfinals of Stuttgart today.
She hasn’t lost a set—or even been pushed to a tie-break—since Indian Wells.
— TENNIS (@Tennis) April 22, 2022
Swiatek has had a lot to deal with, after winning the “Sunshine Double” in Indian Wells and Miami, and becoming world No. 1 with the shock retirement of Ashleigh Barty.
But you couldn’t tell on the court on this week.
But No. 8 seed Emma Raducanu, in her first WTA-level tournament on clay, did better than many expected in pushing her to a 6-4, 6-4 win. Swiatek’s level was … not to her recent standard.
This one should prove fairly routine, although those odds seem very, very high.
Best Bet: Under 18.5 Games (+170)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.