Monday, 9 August 2010

WTA Cincinnati Preview

The final at San Diego was won by Svetlana Kuznetsova in an entertaining clash with Aga Radwanska, who saved 4 match points in the second set tiebreak before succumbing to a 6-4 6-7 6-3 loss. Both players impressed in the final, however it was Kuznetsova who dictated more of the play with her dominating groundstrokes. This week, the women move onto Cincinnati where the draw is headlined by Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki. Kim Clijsters is also returning to action following Wimbledon and Cincinnati will mark a year since she returned to the game.

The 1st round is littered with some fantastic match-ups; the highlight match sees San Diego champion Svetlana Kuznetsova take on Maria Sharapova in what will be a first meeting since 2008. Kuznetsova seems to have regained her confidence and motivation to play attacking tennis, however Sharapova has also impressed in recent months with a final appearance at Stanford. I'd probably go for a tight 3 set win for Maria. Another highlight is Victoria Azarenka against Ana Ivanovic. Ivanovic has struggled this year however she is playing better and it seems her main weakness at the moment is winning the crucial points. Drawing Azarenka, one of the in form players on the WTA tour is tough luck for Ana but if she can raise her game at the important stages of the match then she will have a chance here. Her win over Azarenka earlier this year at Rome will give Ana confidence she can pull the surprise off. The third highlight match from the 1st round is between veteran Daniela Hantuchova and rising star in Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Hantuchova had a good run in San Diego however it is likely A-Pav will have too much for Daniela.

My tips for the final would be Elena Dementieva and Victoria Azarenka. Dementieva will have a tricky 2R clash with Hantuchova or Pavlyuchenkova however i think Elena will use her experience and fresh legs after being injured for the last couple of months to full effect. A SF clash with Sharapova could be on the cards and i feel this time with more match experience under her belt that Dementieva will push Sharapova further. Vika Azarenka will have to overcome Ivanovic in 1R however her draw looks easier from there on with a QF match-up against Jelena Jankovic looking a winnable match on paper based on JJ's current form. A SF clash with Kim Clijsters is my prediction and i feel that the win over Kim at Eastbourne will give Vika a lot more confidence against the classy Belgian.

My outsider tips for the title are Flavia Pennetta and Caroline Wozniacki. Pennetta has a relatively straightforward draw with Zvonareva in her section who i believe is struggling and will be knocked out by Kirilenko. Pennetta loves the hard courts and had a fantastic run last year and after her SF appearance in San Diego, she is once again looking strong. Caroline Wozniacki had a solid week in Denmark scooping the title however here she will be facing much tougher opposition. A QF match-up with Sharapova is on the cards which will give Caroline a chance to prove her credentials against the very best. Overall it should be a great tournament and give a chance for some of the big players to square off before the big event kicks off.

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