Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Kanepi victorious and Stosur stunned in Brisbane

Kaia Kanepi
The first three days of the new season had seen just one seeded player exit the WTA events in Brisbane and Auckland.  However normal order was restored on the WTA tour today as the upsets were well and truly flowing! The number 7 seed in Brisbane, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was well and truly thumped by Kaia Kanepi, 6-0 6-3.  Kanepi was totally on fire as she lost just 4 points on serve and won 96% of 1st serve points.  This was a worrying loss for Pavlyuchenkova who I tipped big things for this year.  After this performance, it looks like I have tipped the wrong player ;-) It is still early days in the season, but Kanepi will no doubt threaten Petkovic in the quarter-finals if she can maintain the level of play she demonstrated today.

Sam Stosur was knocked out in the second round of Brisbane last year and she repeated her result this time round as she was throughly outplayed by Iveta Benesova in a 6-4 6-2 loss.  Once again, Stosur failed to deliver the goods in front of her home crowd although credit must be given to Benesova, who played a stunning match.  Serena Williams did manage to win on Wednesday against Bojana Jovanovski, but was forced to withdraw from the event after an MRI scan showed that she had a left ankle sprain, which she picked towards the end of the match.  It looked like a nasty injury, which you can see in the video below at 2.26.  I hope she will be fit for the Australian Open, but I will be surprised if she will be fully fit to make an assault on the title.  Brisbane was being billed as having the potential of some classic match-ups; however as always seem to occur on the WTA tour, things have gone slightly pear-shaped and Clijsters is now the clear favourite to reach the final from the top half of the draw...

In Auckland, five of the seeds were sent packing in the second round of the competition.  The highest profile casualty was Peng Shuai, who couldn't stop the mighty swinging and serving of Lucie HradeckaJulia Goerges was comfortably taken out by compatriot Angelique Kerber, 6-2 6-3 and Monica Niculescu had a serving disaster as she was beaten by Zheng Jie, 6-0 6-2.  This was a great win for Zheng who is one of the nicest players of tour and will keep rising from her current ranking of 48 in the world.

Sabine Lisicki, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Flavia Pennetta were the only seeds to survive. Kuznetsova produced an awesome performance to win for the first time against Christina McHale, 6-1 6-1.  Pennetta eased past Elena Baltacha and Lisicki was once again, streaky and well below her best, but most importantly she found a way past Mona Barthel in a 7-6 3-6 6-3 victory.  It was an especially bad day for my predictions as Peng and McHale both fell by the wayside... on a plus side I did predict Kerber to beat Goerges :-)

Quarter-final predictions for Thursday
Clijsters to beat Benesova in 2 sets
Jankovic to beat Schiavone in 3 sets
Petkovic to beat Kanepi in 3 sets

Kerber to beat Lisicki in 3 sets
Pennetta to beat Vesnina in 2 sets
Kuznetsova to beat Errani in 2 sets
Zheng to beat Hradecka in 3 sets

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