Saturday, 2 October 2010

WTA Beijing Preview

The women now move onto Beijing this week after Caroline Wozniacki defeated Elena Dementieva in the final of WTA Tokyo to claim her fifth title of the season, winning 1-6 6-2 6-3. This week could see Wozniacki crowned as the new world number one if she can make the QF's. This has divided opinion with many and although i can see she's improved and she has won so many matches this year, i am still unsure of whether she has what it takes to beat the likes of Serena and Clijsters at a grand slam stage. The tournament is once again highlighted by the withdrawals from Venus, Serena, Henin and Clijsters; however the draw is supported with 7 of the top 10 and with 4 places in the season ending championships still up for grabs, there's a lot riding on this week in Beijing.

Quarter 1 - C Wozniacki (1) v E Dementieva (7)
Wozniacki will open up against either Sara Errani or Shuai Peng with a much tougher test likely in the 3rd round with the likes of Pennetta, Kanepi and Pavlyuchenkova all lurking. Wozniacki would probably wish for Pavlyuchenkova with who she has a brilliant record including a thumping 6-1 6-2 win last week in Tokyo. However i think her opponent could be the Estonian, Kaia Kanepi who has transformed her game in recent months and is looking a real threat on the WTA tour. I still believe however that C-Woz will just have enough to beat Kanepi and therefore secure that number 1 ranking by reaching the QF's. Dementieva will play Kimiko Date Krumm in the 2nd round with a 3rd round tie likely to come from the winner of Bartoli and Ivanovic who have once again have been paired together. With Dementieva looking in excellent form in Tokyo, it would be hard to predict against a rematch of the Tokyo final.

Quarter 2 - J Jankovic (3) v V Azarenka (8)
Jelena Jankovic has had a tough time of late however i think this could be her chance to reach her first QF since the Roland Garros all the way back in May. JJ has a nice section of the draw with her 2nd round opponent being either Kateryna Bondarenko or Bojana Jovanovski. Peer could await in the 3rd round which has previously been a good match for JJ. Victoria Azarenka will open her campaign against Timea Bacsinszky and will have to be at her best in the 3rd round where she could face Maria Sharapova in a battle of the shriekers. Sharapova struggled last week in Tokyo and many people have questioned whether she can every regain her top form after being knocked out by Wozniacki in a disappointing performance at the US. Normally i would back Sharapova but my head is turning on whether she can ever reach the heights of the Women's game again and I believe Azarenka will beat Sharapova in 3 set here to set up a QF with Jankovic.

Quarter 3 - A Radwanska (6) v S Stosur (3)
This section is by far the most open section; Radwanska opens up against Angelique Kerber and she shouldn't have too many problems in the 2nd round against either Zahlavova Strycova and Dulgheru. In the 3rd round she could take on either Alisa Kleybanova or Li Na, both dangerous opponents and both capable of pulling off a big performance. I think it could be Kleybanova to progress here using her powerful game to good effect. The third seed in Samantha Stosur has already been knocked out of the competition by Anastasija Sevastova after wasting a 5-2 lead and a match point at 5-4. Sevastova will take on Cibulkova in the 2nd round with the winner taking on Nadia Petrova or Alona Bondarenko; if Petrova is fit i would fancy her to reach the QF's.

Quarter 4 - F Schiavone (5) v V Zvonareva (2)
Francesca Schiavone could face a 2nd round match-up with the tricky Daniela Hantuchova; however this is still a match she should come through. With Kuznetsova out in the 1st round, Schiavone should have an easier 3rd round match-up with Dushevina, Makarova and Vinci being her likely 3rd round opponents. Vera Zvonareva has the toughest opener of the seeds against former number 1, Dinara Safina. Zvonareva should progress however if Dinara plays well theres no doubting she has a chance here. With Aravane Rezai already out to Gisela Dulko, Maria Kirilenko should progress to the 3rd round to meet Zvonareva. With an imperious record over Kirilenko, it would be difficult to bet against Zvonareva reaching the QF's.

Once again, Wozniacki will be hard to beat at this tournament being the in-form player on tour. Azarenka could once again stand in her way at the SF stage and i would not put it her past her to upset the Dane this time round. The bottom half is already looking very open and i believe Vera Zvonareva should progress further than the QF's she reached in Tokyo; Schiavone and Petrova will also be ones to watch out for in Beijing...

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