Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Wozniacki wins in Sydney, Radwanska up next

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki will have been wary about facing off against Dominika Cibulkova after being knocked out of the Apia International last year by the Slovakian.  Wozniacki somehow managed to find a way past Cibulkova this time round rallying from a 4-0 deficit in the third set to win 7-5 2-6 6-4.  Wozniacki started the match well and with positive intent on the way to winning the first set.  However Cibulkova came roaring back with her powerful game and took the second set.  She carried this momentum to race into a 4-0 lead and had points for a 5-1 lead in the final set.  However Wozniacki did what she does best as she kept getting one ball back and managed to win six games on the bounce to advance into the quarter-finals.  It wasn't particularly pretty from either player, but it does show the grit and determination of the Dane, which I felt disappeared towards the end of last year.  Wozniacki will now play Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals, who saved a staggering 14 break points to continue her dominance over Andrea Petkovic in a 6-4 7-5 victory.  Wozniacki has an excellent record over Radwanska and although the matches between these two become closer and closer each time they play, i'm not brave enough to bet against Wozniacki!

Like Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova struggled in her first match on the WTA tour in 2012 as she beat Alexandra Dulgheru, 7-5 3-6 6-4.  Kvitova lost to Dulgheru at the US Open in a horrendous loss and was only marginally better this time round to pull the victory through.  She admitted afterwards that the loss at the US Open had played on her mind during this match.  It was also Kvitova's first match outdoors for quite sometime as she has played much of her recent tennis indoors (Linz, Istanbul and then the Hopman Cup).  She definitely struggles more outdoors with the wind and the heat too.  Kvitova will play Daniela Hantuchova in the quarter-finals, who continued her excellent start to 2012 with an intelligent performance against Francesca Schiavone, winning 7-5 6-1.

In other matches, Victoria Azarenka produced a solid performance to beat Jelena Jankovic, 6-4 6-2.  The first set was very competitive, but Jankovic fell away in the second set.  Azarenka will once again play Marion Bartoli who eased past Jelena Dokic, 6-0 6-2.  The other quarter-final will be contested between Li Na and Lucie Safarova.  Li lost the opening set to Chanelle Scheepers, but overcame tiredness in the third set to prevail, 2-6 6-4 6-1.  Safarova benefited from Svetlana Kuznetsova's retirement at 6-1 2-0 up due to heat illness.

WTA Sydney Quarter-Final Predictions:
Wozniacki to beat Radwanska in 3 sets
Azarenka to beat Bartoli in 2 sets
Li to beat Safarova in 3 sets
Kvitova to beat Hantuchova in 2 sets

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