Thursday, 28 July 2011

Stanford Update - Lisicki leaps into the Quarters

The Quarter-final line-up was completed on a day of surprises at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. Sabine Lisicki completed a superb straight sets win over Sam Stosur, 6-3 7-5. Lisicki had in fact been installed as the favourite with the bookmakers before the match despite being the lower ranked player and holding a 0-4 head-to-head record to Stosur. However she turned the tables on that as she continued her fantastic recent run of form. She faced just one break point, which she saved in what was a dominant serving display. Next up for Lisicki is Agniezska Radwanska who should fall by the wayside if Lisicki's recent exploits are anything to go by.

Lisicki has continued her superb form from the grass court season

The biggest upset of the day was the defeat of the number 1 seed, Victoria Azarenka who went down to the qualifier from New Zealand, Marina Erakovic. Azarenka took the first set 6-4 but Erakovic hung in to take the second set 7-5 and then broke twice in the third set to complete the victory. Azarenka took to twitter after the match to proclaim that she played a terrible match but I think some credit should go to Erakovic who like Lisicki, is showing some top form after being blighted with injury. This once again destroys my predictions as my winner has gone early! Erakovic will now play Dominika Cibulkova in the Quarters.

Serena Williams also reached the Quarter-finals but was less impressive than her first round performance as she dropped the middle set but eventually rebounded to defeat Maria Kirilenko in 3 sets. Serena was disappointed with her performance but she is obviously still shy of match practice and as long as she is winning at the moment, that is all that matters. She will now play Maria Sharapova in an enticing Quarter-final encounter. Its a hard one to call but i'm going to go for Sharapova.

Serena Williams will now play Maria Sharapova in one of the most anticipated matches of the 2011 season

The final quarter-finalist is Ayumi Morita who fought off match points against the wobbly, Urzsula Radwanska to win 4-6 7-5 6-1. Radwanska was playing some fine tennis but is starting to become labelled as a "choker" as she let slip a seemingly comfortable lead at 6-4 5-2 up. She then rolled her ankle at the end of the second set and stormed off the court in anger. Morita completed the win with a solid showing in the third set; the Japanese number 1 will now take on Marion Bartoli in the Quarters where I expect Bartoli to progress.

Predictions: Bartoli to beat Morita in 2 sets, Lisicki to beat Radwanska in 2 sets, Erakovic to beat Cibulkova in 2 sets and Sharapova to beat Serena in 3 sets

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