Samantha Stosur vs Monica Niculescu WTA Washington, D.C. quarterfinal preview and match time: Confident Stosur aims for semifinals

Hannah Wilks in WTA 7 Aug 2015
Samantha Stosur (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Monica Niculescu has found a rich vein of form over the past couple of months, but Samantha Stosur is on a 7-match winning streak and has her sights set on a semifinal spot at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

Samantha Stosur vs Monica Niculescu Citi Open tennis is live from Washington, D.C. on Friday at 1pm local/6pm BST. Watch & bet on tennis live from Washington, D.C. at 365

Second seed Samantha Stosur takes on Monica Niculescu for a place in the semifinals of the Citi Open on Friday in Washington, D.C.

Stosur has had some strong results during the American hard-court season in the past – most notably winning the US Open in 2011, and Carlsbad in 2013 – and the world no. 21 has certainly made a confident start to this one, beating Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-2 and Irina Falconi 6-1, 7-5 to reach her third WTA Tour quarterfinal of the season.

‘I think any time you can string a bunch of matches together it makes you feel more confident, and no matter what the situation is you think you'll find a way out of it. That sort of thought process becomes a lot easier when you've been winning,’ Stosur, who is fresh from winning her second title of the season in Bad Gastein, reflected after reeling off five games in a row in the second set to defeat Falconi.

The good news for Stosur is that both times she has reached the quarterfinals so far in 2015, she has gone on to win the title, defeating Mladenovic in three sets to win Strasbourg just before the French Open and staging a comeback in the final against Karin Knapp in Bad Gastein two weeks ago. With the exception of those clay-court titles, good runs for Stosur have been few and far between, although she reached the third rounds of Madrid, the French Open and Wimbledon for a 22-16 record on the year to date.

Monica Niculescu  (Photo by Jon Buckle/Getty Images for LTA)
Her quarterfinal opponent Monica Niculescu has also won 22 matches in 2015, although in her case it’s come at a cost of 18 losses and she has yet to secure a WTA Tour title this season. Currently ranked world no. 39, Niculescu is a familiar figure on the WTA Tour, notorious as much for her on-court antics as for her unconventional, slice-and-dice junkballing game which frequently drives opponents to distraction. Niculescu failed to win back-to-back matches for her first 12 events of 2015, but dropped down to ITF level and won the event in Marseille which took place during the second week of the French Open.

It seemed to provide the boost the Romanian needed and when she returned to the WTA Tour the next week, she beat Agnieszka Radwanska on her way to a runner-up finish to Ana Konjuh in Nottingham, going on to reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon in the section of the draw vacated by her compatriot Simona Halep and then the semifinals of Bucharest on clay, losing to Sara Errani in three sets.

A quarterfinalist in Washington, D.C. in 2013, Niculescu has beaten Lara Arruabarrena and Lauren Davis to reach the last eight once again but Stosur is a very different proposition. The Australian’s game is defined by what Niculescu’s lacks – big weapons, in Stosur’s case her kick serve and mammoth inside-out forehand. In their previous meetings, all of Niculescu’s bag of tricks haven’t managed to redress the balance – Stosur has won every one of their five matches, three of them in straight sets including one ‘breadstick’, and was a 6-4, 6-1 victor in their most recent encounter, at the Australian Open in January. Niculescu is extremely confident at the moment after winning 20 matches since the beginning of June, but Stosur is just a more accomplished player and it should be enough to see the Australian, whose own oft-brittle confidence should be high right now, into the semifinals of the Citi Open on Friday.  

Stosur vs Niculescu is scheduled on Grandstand 1 in Washington, D.C. at 1pm local/6pm BST

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Samantha Stosur vs Monica Niculescu WTA Washington, D.C. quarterfinal preview and match time: Confident Stosur aims for semifinals

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