Thursday, 18 August 2011

Cincy Update - JJ & Peng to meet in Quarters

The third round wrapped up in Cincy with wins for both Jelena Jankovic and Peng Shuai. Jankovic came through the most dramatic match of the day as she beat Francesca Schiavone, 6-3 5-7 6-4. Jankovic let slip a number of leads during the match including a chance to serve the match out at 6-3 5-4 and a 5-1 lead in the third set before finally wrapping up the win. It was the first time that Jankovic has beaten a player with a higher ranking than her since a win over Sam Stosur in Dubai back in February. It was a crucial victory for JJ to help restore some of her shattered confidence.

I only managed to watch highlights of the match but JJ seemed to be stepping into the court more and taking advantage of any short balls. I still think she has the game to do well but mentally she is very fragile and this is only one small step in what will be a long path if she is to keep moving up the rankings. JJ will now play Peng Shuai, who comfortably saw off Shahar Peer, 6-2 6-3 as she took advantage of the withdrawal of Victoria Azarenka. This is the most exciting Quarter for me so I am very disappointed its at 7pm Cincy time, which is midnight in the UK :(

Jankovic has shown a resurgence in form with three victories in Cincy

Sam Stosur continued her excellent record over Li Na with a 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory. Stosur started the match well claiming the first set, but Li managed to win her first ever set against Stosur in what was an impressive second set performance. Stosur started to come up short with her groundstrokes allowing Li to take control with some sparkling winners. However Stosur produced a serving masterclass in the third set and needed just the one break to wrap up the victory. Stosur will now play Maria Sharapova, who was in excellent form as she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-2 6-3. I watched the first set, which was one of the better sets of women's tennis I have watched this summer with some excellent rallies throughout. However Kuznetsova was going toe-to-toe with Sharapova when she needed to try and mix ger game up; therefore she was coming off second best most of the time. Sharapova has an excellent record over Stosur and I am predicting it will continue...

Stosur has a terrible record losing all 8 of her matches to Sharapova and winning just two sets

Daniela Hantuchova fought past Marion Bartoli in an epic encounter, 6-3 5-7 6-3. It looked like Hantuchova's nerves would once again cost her a victory but after wasting a 6-3 3-1 lead and 15 break points, she finally managed to pull through causing a minor upset beating the number 8 seed. She will now play Vera Zvonareva who beat Petra Martic, 6-2 6-2. Zvonareva and Hantuchova have had some close encounters this year and i'm in no doubt that this one will be the same.

Hantuchova overcame her wobbles to record her 5th win over a top 10 player this year

The final quarter-final will be between Andrea Petkovic and Nadia Petrova. Petkovic overcome Petra Kvitova, 6-3 6-3 for the second time in a week. Many people will question Kvitova's form but I don't think the conditions in Cincinnati suited her. Kvitova complained of feeling dizzy in the second set and has generally had a poor record on the American hard courts this years as she also fell early in Indian Wells and Miami. Nadia Petrova beat Christina McHale in the final third round match, 6-3 6-3. McHale could not follow up her victory over Wozniacki; however Petrova is back to some excellent form and a quarter-final with Petkovic is extremely difficult to call on paper.

Petrova will hope to overturn a three set defeat to Petkovic in their previous match at the US Open 2010

This has been the worst tournament of the year fror my predictions! Both Azarenka and Serena pulled out early, which was particularly disappointing for me! It is a shame that with tournaments played back-to-back that you do get a lot of retirements. In other notable news, there were reports that Caroline Wozniacki has ended her coaching relationship with her Father. Good news for Caroline, I think because she needed a change. I wonder if it has anything to do with Agniezska Radwanska recently splitting with her dad as a coach and going on an excellent run of form. I do worry about where Wozniacki will go now because she wants to be more attacking to be a threat in the slams but going against what you are used to doing i.e. defending is not going to be easy. I still don't believe she has the ammunition to trouble some of the hard-hitting players... anyway I look forward to see how she gets on in New Haven next week.

Quarter Final Predictions
Sharapova to beat Stosur in 2 sets
Hantuchova to beat Zvonareva in 3 sets
Petrova to beat Petkovic in 3 sets
Jankovic to beat Peng in 3 sets

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