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Ashleigh Barty (left) shakes hands with Venus Williams after winning their quarterfinal match of the Nature Valley Classic on June 21 (Nigel French/PA)
Ashleigh Barty (left) shakes hands with Venus Williams after winning their quarterfinal match of the Nature Valley Classic on June 21 (Nigel French/PA)|Associated Press
Tennis

Tennis Saturday - Abrams Picks the Women’s Semifinals at  Nature Valley Classic, Mallorca Open; Barty, Martic, Kerber, Kenin

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

NATURE VALLEY CLASSIC

Ash Barty over Barbora Strycova
Ash Barty is on a roll, just about to take over the No. 1 ranking in the world, and she’s on her favorite surface here in Great Britain. Strycova got lucky and took advantage of a lucky draw. Both Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka lost early, opening up a spot for Strycova to barrel through. But Strycova will take her $50,000 winnings and move on to Wimbledon. Barty will play for the title on Sunday.

Petra Martic over Julia Georges
I’m going with Martic in the semis here because her game seems very suitable on the grass courts. These two haven’t played since 2008 — a light year ago, when Georges won in three sets on hard courts. I doubt Martic can win this title, but I think she’ll make the finals.

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MALLORCA OPEN

Angie Kerber over Belinda Bencic
For a player ranked No. 6 in the world, and who has held down a Top Five ranking for most of the year, we really haven’t heard much from Angie Kerber since the beginning of the year. But she’s on grass here, which is one of her best surfaces, where she is the defending Wimbledon champion, having also reached the finals in 2016, the year in which she also won the U.S. Open and the Australian Open. Bencic, on the other hand is 29-11 this year, and is also pretty good on the fast stuff, and only mediocre on clay. Nontheless, this is a match that Kerber should, and will win. But I’m guessing it will be close, as they’re both getting ready for London shortly.

Sofia Kenin over Anastasija Sevastova
Kenin is playing well, swelled with confidence, and frankly, should win this match. Sevastova might be ranked higher, but my guess is that after the grass court season we’re going to see Kenin as a very dangerous player on the WTA Tour.