Friday, 20 January 2012

Wozniacki and Jankovic set up 4th round clash

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic both had comprehensive wins on day 5 to set up an enticing 4th round clash.  Wozniacki beat Monica Niculescu, 6-2 6-2 and displayed some attacking intent with 23 winners and 25 net approaches of which she was successful 15 times.  Jelena Jankovic was even more comfortable in victory as she took apart Christina McHale, 6-2 6-0.  McHale has shown much promise over the last year, but she has been the victim of several worryingly one-sided losses.  This is the first time Jankovic has reached the 4th round of the Australian Open since 2009 and she looked solid today.  The 4th round match between Jankovic and Wozniacki will no doubt be close and contain some gruelling rallies.  In their last three encounters, Wozniacki has come out on on top.  Jankovic has been the aggressor in these matches but often failed to finish off the points because of Wozniacki's excellent defensive skills.  I would love to see JJ win but I have to go with Wozniacki purely for her superior mental toughness as I think this could be a very tight match.

Kim Clijsters netted a routine victory over Daniela Hantuchova, 6-3 6-2.  The match was very entertaining at the beginning with both players hitting winners from the back of the court, but as the match grew on, Clijsters asserted her dominance.  She threatened on every service game of Hantuchova's in the first set who struggled with her ball toss.  Hantuchova managed to break Clijster's serve twice, but on both occasions was broken straight back.  Clijsters will now play Li Na in a repeat of last year's final.  Li's progression to this 4th round clash was through a retirement from Anabel Medina Garrigues at 0-3 down.  It was a heartbreaking moment as Medina twisted her ankle in inoculous fashion and lay on the court for several minutes in tears.  It was such a shame because although she was a break down when it happened, it was shaping up to be an entertaining match.

Julia Goerges
Victoria Azarenka overcame her first obstacle in Mona Barthel with a 6-2 6-4 victory.  Azarenka was not as impressive as she was in her last two matches and lost her concentration in the second set where she made 7 double faults and 17 unforced errors.  However she still had enough to beat plucky Barthel, who was on a terrific 10 match winning streak.  It also took Azarenka five match points to finish it off and she managed to upset the crowd as she threw insults at a line judge after a call on one of the match points.  Azarenka is yet to play a seeded player and that will continue in the 4th round where her opponent will be the unseeded Iveta Benesova.  Benesova was in terrific form as she beat Nina Bratchikova, 6-1 6-3.  

Agnieszka Radwanska and Julia Goerges were also winners on day 5.  Radwanska produced her best performance of the championships so far committing just 10 unforced errors in a 6-2 6-2 victory over Galina Voskoboeva.  Goerges reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career with a come-from-behind victory over Romina Oprandi, 3-6 6-3 6-1.  Goerges did well to overcome the tricky Italian hitting 47 winners throughout the course of the match.  She will have nothing to lose in the 4th round against Radwanska...

The womens tournament has failed to produce any real excitement yet; however many of the top names (apart from Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone) remain in the competition.  There are some excellent clashes already lining up for the fourth round so I hope we will get some drama, excitement and star studded clashes over the next week...

Predictons for tomorrow's matches
Vera Zvonareva to beat Ekaterina Makarova in 2 sets - Zvonareva has not impressed so far but I still think she will win here in two tight sets.
Serena Williams to beat Greta Arn in 2 sets - No problems at all for Serena in the night match on Rod Laver Arena.
Svetlana Kuznetsova to beat Sabine Lisicki in 3 sets - This could be a total junkfest or the match of the season so far.  It depends, whether one, both or neither of them decide to turn up!
Angelique Kerber to beat Maria Sharapova in 3 sets - Sharapova is looking very good, but I don't like to go against my original prediction from the start of the tournament so i'll stick by Kerber (yes I know, stupid!)
Sara Errani to beat Sorana Cirstea in 3 sets - I'm still not convinced by Cirstea's consistency or any evidence of a plan B in her game so i'm going with Errani in three sets.
Marion Bartoli to beat Zheng Jie in 3 sets - This should be a good match with both in good form, but I have to go with Bartoli.
Ana Ivanovic to beat Vania King in 2 sets - I think this will be a straightforward victory for Ivanovic.
Petra Kvitova to beat Maria Kirilenko in 2 sets - Kvitova struggled in round 2, but I think she will be on fire in round 3.

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