Thursday, 26 April 2012

Azarenka & Barthel through, Kerber sizzles in Stuttgart

Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka and Mona Barthel will square off for the fourth time this year after both progressed to the Stuttgart quarter-finals.  Azarenka advanced when Andrea Petkovic had to retire at 6-2 4-4 down after twisting her ankle.  It was heartbreaking to see Petkovic pull out after returning from a back injury this week and as she started to play her best tennis in the match too... I am wishing her a very speedy recovery because the tour needs her :-) Barthel scored her first top 10 win as she thumped Marion Bartoli, 6-3 6-1.  The German youngster faced no break points and lost just 4 points on her first serve.  Azarenka has won all three encounters this year with Barthel, but was pushed to the brink in their last encounter in Indian Wells where Barthel had her chances to win the match.

In other matches, Sam Stosur scored her first ever win over Julia Goerges in a 6-2 2-6 6-3 victory and set up a intriguing quarter-final with Maria Sharapova.  Goerges will now lose a large chunk of her ranking points and could lose many more with an early exit in Madrid.  It was a high quality match between Stosur and Goerges and the German player showed enough promise to suggest she can do well on the clay in 2012.  Li Na beat the lucky loser, Akgul Amanmuradova, 6-4 6-4 and will now play Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals.  Petra Kvitova also won through today with a routine 6-2 6-2 win over Francesca Schiavone and will play Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals.  Kerber defeated Caroline Wozniacki, 6-1 6-2 in what was an outstanding display of tennis that somehow topped her first round victory over Roberta Vinci.  Kerber hit 28 winners to 11 unforced errors and outplayed Wozniacki, who actually played a pretty good match!

An example of Kerber's brilliance... there were some stunning rallies from both in this match!

I nailed today's predictions successfully scoring 8 out of 8 quarter-finalists :-)

The quarter-final line-up is incredibly exciting and difficult to call...
Quarter-final Predictions:
Victoria Azarenka to beat Mona Barthel in 3 sets - I am totally on the fence with this match now.  Barthel has a real shot at beating Azarenka in her current form, but i'm going with Azarenka's superior mental toughness to pull her through.
Agnieszka Radwanska to beat Li Na in 2 tight sets - The reigning French Open champion has received very little attention this week and will be dangerous against Radwanska; however Li failed to produce the goods at this stage in Indian Wells and Miami so i'm going for Radwanska's consistency to be the key factor.
Sam Stosur to beat Maria Sharapova in 2 sets - Sharapova has played little tennis this week and i'm not convinced she will have enough to get past Stosur, who played a very good match against Goerges today.
Angelique Kerber to beat Petra Kvitova in 3 sets - I very rarely change my original predictions, but after Kerber's performance tonight, I have had to sit up and take notice... I think this will be very tight match and  it is the quarter-final i'm most looking forward too!

ATP Barcelona - After such a great day yesterday in my predictions for Barcelona, today was not so good! The highlight of the matches saw Milos Raonic sweep past Nicolas Almagro, 6-3 6-3.  You can keep up to date with my Barcelona predictions where two of my semi-finalists have now departed the competition. 

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