Sloane Stephens vs Qiang Wang
WTA Parma 2021 May, 21st 2021.
Closing odds - money line
S. Stephens vs Q. Wang Predictions (from BetzCenter's Experts)
There were no picks on this match by our experts
Stephens Bids to Reach First Final in Three Years
Not since October 2018 has Sloane Stephens made it through to a WTA Tour final. The unseeded American is one match away from ending that long wait. She takes on sixth seeded Qiang Wang (also not in a final since 2018) in the last four of the Emilia Romagna Open in Parma.
Stephens was as high as the world number three in 2019. Before this tournament began she was only 65th in the world. Her slip down the rankings this year was caused by failing to win a match in her first four tournaments of the year. Her first win didn't come until Miami and that was against a player outside the top 100. The wins earned this week have her up to 58th and can climb to 55th with a win in this semi-final. It's still a fair bit behind the 39th place that she started the year in.
Clay is a surface that the American has enjoyed great success on. 2018 saw her make the French Open final and she reached the Quarter Final the following year. After a spell in which she has not got past the third round in six Grand Slams, she'll hope this can lead to a much better performance in Paris this year.
Already this year Stephens has made the last eight in the clay tournament held in Charleston. The last 32 in Madrid was reached and coming into this event, her record for 2021 stood at 6-9 but was 1-5 at one stage. This week began with a straight sets win over Catherine McNally and then in the second round, Stephens knocked out fourth seeded Daria Kasatkina. Stephens did well to win that after dropping the first set 6-1.
The last eight saw the American in impressive form. She broke Italian hearts as only three games were lost against wild card Sara Errani. That included winning the second and decisive set without dropping a game. Now she takes on sixth seeded Qiang Wang. Stephens has had two previous matches against the Chinese player and lost both of them. The most recent match was in Wuhan four years ago. This is their first match on clay though.
Wang Climbing Rankings Again
Wiang has also seen her ranking slip in recent years. The former world number 12 was down to 48 before the start of this Emilia Romagna Open. Reaching the last four will see her climb three places. This week has been her best run of the year. That didn't take a great deal of doing as before this tournament, only four out of 15 matches she'd played had been won.
Before arriving in Parma, Wang had not beaten a player who was ranked in the top 100. One of the players she'd beaten this year had a ranking below 600. Switching to clay saw her continue to struggle. A last 16 was reached in Istanbul but she suffered first round losses in both Madrid and Rome. That took her clay court win percentage down to a disappointing 41%.
It'll have picked up a little bit after three wins this week. Wang had to go to three sets to get past Misaki Doi in the first round, but then beat world 218 Martina Di Guiseppe in round two. The last eight saw her defeat the second seeded Petra Martic. Wang won the first set on a tie-break, dropped the second and then battled to a 7-5 win in the final set.
A win here would see Wang in her first WTA Main Tour final outside China. All of her previous four have been played in that country, the last a loss to Ashleigh Barty in the 2018 WTA Elite Trophy. Her last title win was in September of that year. Wang reached three finals in successive months, then nothing since. This is going to be a tough match for her and Stephens can be backed to win.