Saturday, 10 March 2012

Azarenka survives nailbiter with Barthel in Indian Wells

Victoria Azarenka moved to 18-0 for the season, but overcame a huge fight from Mona Barthel in an extraordinary three hour marathon.  Azarenka looked set for a routine victory as she led 6-4 5-1 when Barthel came alive to snatch the second set and race into a 4-1 lead in the third set.  Barthel had two opportunities to serve out the match in the third set at 5-4 and 6-5 but on both occasions failed to seal the deal.  Barthel saved a number of match points in the third set tiebreak but Azarenka finally clinched victory.  I was disappointed that Barthel could not take her chances; however she is demonstrating so much potential in what has been a meteoric rise up the rankings in the last couple of months.  I really hope that she gets a more favourable draw in Miami because I think she could easily beat off some seeds.  A win like this is just going to add to the Azarenka's confidence and she will need it as she faces a tough third round match against Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Victoria Azarenka
Indian Wells is delivering some dramatic matches so far, but also some rather alarming chokes.  The worst one of the week came yesterday when Sloane Stephens wasted a 6-2 5-1, 40-15 lead to Angelique Kerber; she went onto lose the match, 2-6 7-5 6-4.  Credit must go to Kerber for fighting so hard to stay in this match, but Sloane really should have finished this match off.  Jelena Jankovic, Daniela Hantuchova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova were all high profile casualties on the third day of action.  Jankovic said she felt "lost in space" and complained of feeling the effects of jet-lag as she lost to the young American, Jamie Hampton, 6-4 6-3.  Hantuchova fought valiantly but was light years from her best as she went down 6-3 6-7 6-3 to Klara Zakopalova.  Pavlyuchenkova lost to Vania King, 6-4 6-4 for the third time in a row as she continues to struggle to string any kind of form together.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Vera Zvonareva, Julia Goerges, Flavia Pennetta and Christina McHale all progressed to the third round with straight set wins.  Li Na lost the opening set of her match to Galina Voskoboeva, but rebounded well to set up an exciting all-Chinese third round match with Zheng Jie, who beat Michaella Krajicek handily, 6-1 6-3.  Jarmila Gajdosova had her best win of the year with a come-from-behind, 2-6 6-2 6-4 victory over Yanina Wickmayer. Gajdosova has been through many trials and tribulations in the last year so i'm pleased to see her get a noteworthy victory.

Jarmila Gajdosova
You can keep up-to-date with my ATP and WTA predictions for Indian Wells.  The mens has started pretty well for me, but the womens not so much as I lost my semi-final tip of Hantuchova yesterday!

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