Saturday, 24 March 2012

WTA Miami 3rd Round: Previews & Predictions Pt 2

Zheng Jie
Victoria Azarenka (1) v Heather Watson
Like her first match in Indian Wells, Azarenka was forced to fight hard against an inspired opponent.  She beat Michaella Krajicek, 6-3 7-5 winning three straight games and riding on her ever-growing mental toughness and her opponent's shattering nerves.  Her opponent in the third round will be Heather Watson who backed up her first top 50 win against Sorana Cirstea in the first round with an even more impressive showing in the second round to ease past the world number 25, Lucie Safarova, 6-1 6-2.  In their two previous encounters, Azarenka has thumped Watson with their most recent match taking place in the first round of the Australian Open.  Watson will do better here but she doesn't have the weapons to stop the Vika winning streak.
Prediction - Azarenka in 2 sets

Zheng Jie v Dominika Cibulkova (16)
Zheng started the season in spectacular form winning in Auckland and reaching the last 16 at the Australian Open but since then, her form has rather gone missing.  However a second round win over the ever-improving Angelique Kerber suggests a return to better form for the Chinese number three.  Her opponent will be Cibulkova who beat Anna Tatishivili, 7-5 6-1 in the second round.  Cibulkova has yet to win back-to-back matches in 2012 and will have her hands full in Zheng.  Neither would list their serve as a weapon so expect a lot of breaks, long rallies and a tight scoreline...
Prediction - Zheng in 3 sets

Ksenia Pervak v Maria Kirilenko (22)
Pervak recorded one of the best wins of her career in the last round against Francesca Schiavone, 6-4 4-6 7-5.  However this did not come as much of a surprise considering Schiavone's woeful form of late.  Kirilenko came through a tough two-setter against Alisa Kleybanova, 7-6 6-3 who had made a successful comeback to the WTA tour this week.  I have a feeling this will be a long match with many drawn-out rallies.  Pervak is a solid and consistent player, but I still question whether she has what it takes to go deep in these kind of draws.  She struggled to get across the finishing line against an out-of-form Schiavone and I cannot see her having enough variety and mental strength to get past Kirilenko.
Prediction - Kirilenko in 3 sets

Simona Halep v Marion Bartoli (7)
Marion Bartoli was forced to come from a set down in her second round match against Polona Hercog, 5-7 6-2 6-1.  She finished strongly and often follows up these tight wins with more straightforward victories in the next round.  Step forward her third round opponent, Simona Halep who was impressive in disposing of Nadia Petrova in the second round.  Halep will be a tricky opponent for Bartoli as she has improved her consistency in recent months.  I'm still sticking by Bartoli to tough this one out in 2 sets.
Prediction - Bartoli in 2 sets

Daniela Hantuchova
Venus Williams v Aleksandra Wozniak
Venus produced a stunning performance to topple Petra Kvitova in the second round, finishing it off with a third set bagel to win, 6-4 4-6 6-0.  I was sceptical as to whether she would compete this week as she has delayed her comeback on numerous occasions.  However she looks to be in mighty good form although the key point will be her recovery after matches.  Wozniak has produced two stirring comebacks this week as she came from a set and a break down to beat Eleni Daniilidou in the first round and a 4-0 third set deficit in her second round match against Monica Niculescu.  I had Wozniak to beat Kvitova at this stage, but I don't think she stands a chance against Venus unless fatigue is a factor.
Prediction - Venus in 2 sets

Daniela Hantuchova (20) v Ana Ivanovic (15)
Hantuchova battled past Kateryna Bondarenko in the second round, 6-7 6-2 7-6 in what sounded like one of the worst matches in the history of tennis... the match had 24 breaks of serves (with just 8 holds of serve) and a plethora of double faults with Bondarenko reaching for records with an astonishing 23 double faults.  Ivanovic had a difficult match in the second round but found a way past Vania King in 2 sets.  The form book would 100% suggest Ivanovic, but often when a player has an almighty struggle but manages to get the win, they can raise their game in the next round.  I'm going for a mini-upset and Hantuchova to surprise Ivanovic...
Prediction - Hantuchova in 3 sets

Garbine Muguruza Blanco v Flavia Pennetta (24)
At the start of this tournament I was asking myself, who on earth is Muguruza Blanco?! Yesterday she announced herself  with a stunning performance to topple Vera Zvonareva in straight sets.  Pennetta was forced to three sets in the last round by Lourdes Dominguez Lino and will not no much about her dangerous Spaniard opponent.  There is nothing to suggest that she cannot keep this run going as she proved her mentality in knocking out the number 9 seed without any jitters.  I'm not brave enough to go for Muguruza Blanco but I think Pennetta will be made to work for her win.
Prediction - Pennetta in 2 tight sets

Silvia Soler Espinosa v Agnieszka Radwanska (5)
Soler Espinosa followed up her impressive victory over Kaia Kanepi at the US Open last year with a similarly routine win in Miami.  She will now face Radwanska who crushed Madison Keys, 6-1 6-1 and did not face any break points in an impressive opening performance.  I cannot see any shocks in this one and think another routine victory is on the cards for Radwanska who should have a stroll through to the quarter-finals.
Prediction - Radwanska in 2 sets

No comments:

Post a Comment