Saturday, 1 October 2011

WTA China Open Preview

It is time for the final Premier mandatory event in Beijing this week with play already kicking off today! There are a number of notable absences including Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. I must say that my opinion of Serena continues to go down rather rapidly! There seems to be no reason for her not turning up to this event, which I think is ridiculous and shows another level of arrogance from the American. I wish she would take the tour seriously!!!

Anyway getting back to the actual tournament... this week is literally wide open! The number one seed Caroline Wozniacki looked well short of her best in Tokyo as she succumbed to a disappointing defeat to Kaia Kanepi. In both her matches in Tokyo, she wasted huge leads and is mentally looking rather suspect at the moment. Wozniacki will open up her campaign against the out-of-form, Lucie Hradecka. She could play the German number 14 seed, Sabine Lisicki in the third round. I'm going for Lisicki, who has beaten the Dane twice before to make it three wins if they do in fact meet.

The number two seed, Victoria Azarenka looked sluggish in her semi-final loss against Agnieszka Radwanska and then pulled out during her doubles match with an achilles injury. Azarenka has a bye into Round 2 but I don't think this will be enough for her to recover and I cannot see her winning five matches to win the title. I would therefore expect either Marion Bartoli or Andrea Petkovic to reach the Semi's and beyond. Petkovic has already made it into the second round with a competent victory over the dangerous Lucie Safarova, 7-6 6-4.

Li Na will have the pressure on her shoulders from her home crowd as she takes on Monica Niculescu in round 1. Li crumbled in her last matches on the American hard courts and has now ditched her coach, Michael Mortensen. I don't think she is going to progress far this week, but she has been handed an extremely kind looking draw. Sam Stosur is also in this section, but may have to face Maria Kirilenko in the second round. Stosur was scheduled to meet Jelena Jankovic in the third round, but she was knocked out today by Tamira Paszek in another painful loss for the Serb.

The stars from Tokyo are all in the second section of the draw; Vera Zvonareva is scheduled to meet Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals. Kvitova may have to get past Radwanska in the third round in what would prove to be an interesting match. Kvitova has the power, but Radwanska has the consistency and craft... I would actually go for the in-form Radwanska to win that one. Zvonareva may have to get past a duo of Russians with Nadia Petrova and Svetlana Kuznetsova in her section of the draw.

Final Tip - Sabine Lisicki v Sam Stosur... Lisicki wins!

Round one matches to watch out for:
Kirilenko v Goerges - Kirilenko won easy in their first encounter in Stanford but Goerges is playing much better now so I expect a closer match
Peng v Pennetta - A terrible draw for Peng :( I hope she can put the horrid match she had with Pennetta at the US behind her and break a losing 5-0 head-to-head!

Dark Horses - Daniela Hantuchova, Petra Cetkovska, Chanelle Scheepers and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez

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