Thursday, 31 May 2012

French Open: 3rd Round Predictions for Day 6

The top three on Day 6:
Ana Ivanovic
1. Sam Stosur v Nadia Petrova
There are a number of exciting third round matches to look forward too on the women's side but I have gone for Stosur against Petrova as my top pick.  Stosur has looked totally at home on the clay so far posting two comfortable victories; she overcame Irina Falconi in the second round, 6-1 6-4.  Petrova has also looked impressive so far with straight set wins over potentially tricky opponents in Iveta Benesova and Chanelle Scheepers.  The last two matches that Petrova and Stosur have played were total epics, which makes this a mouthwatering clash.  Petrova prevailed in Indian Wells earlier this year, but most significant of all is that this will be the first time they have played on clay.  Both players like this surface but i'm giving the edge to Stosur...
Prediction - Stosur to beat Petrova in 2 very tight sets

2. Ana Ivanovic v Sara Errani
Ana Ivanovic has become more and more consistent throughout 2012 and a good performance at Roland Garros will see her on the cusps of breaking the top 10 once again.  She was in fine form in the second round as she recorded her first ever win over Shahar Peer.  She will now take on the accomplished clay courter, Sara Errani.  The Italian defeated the resurgent Melanie Oudin in the second round having struggled past Casey Dellacqua in her opener.  Errani has compiled a stunning run on the dirt this year having claimed titles in Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest.  Ivanovic leads the head to head 2-0, but Errani is undoubtedly playing the best tennis of her career.  I think this will actually be quite straightforward for Ivanovic; yes Errani has racked up a bundle of wins and she loves the clay, but she lacks the weapons and most significant of all, has not beaten anyone inside the top 15 this year...
Prediction - Ivanovic to beat Errani in 2 sets

3. Agnieszka Radwanska v Svetlana Kuznetsova
Agnieszka Radwanska overcame her first potential stumbling block when she dispatched Venus Williams in a 6-2 6-3 victory.  Although Venus was lacklustre at best, Radwanska served extremely well and gave the returning American no opportunities to get a foothold in this match.  She made just six unforced errors throughout the whole match and kept great depth on her shots.  Not many people have been talking about Kuznetsova but the former Roland Garros champion has managed to advance through her first two rounds without few dramas.  The Russian has a complete game, but has allowed her mental frailties to get the better of her in recent years.  This could be a tough match for Radwanska as she has lost 9 of her 12 previous encounters with Kuznetsova.  I think Kuznetsova will race out to a lead, but I just cannot see her crossing the finish line...
Prediction - Radwanska to beat Kuznetsova in 3 sets

Best of the rest:
Dominika Cibulkova
The top seed, Victoria Azarenka will play the Canadian, Aleksandra Wozniak in what should be a much tougher match than her second round.  Another interesting encounter on day 6 will see the in-form Angelique Kerber take on Flavia Pennetta in the last match on court 1.  They last played in a gruelling quarter-final at last year's US Open and I expect another tight match here with Kerber eventually prevailing.

Potential banana skins:
I think many of the higher seeds will be tested, but I think the majority will progress.  Dominika Cibulkova is the seed most in trouble of slipping tomorrow; she plays Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez who scored a surprising victory over Lucie Safarova in the previous round.  Like Safarova, Cibulkova does not respond well to players who have a lot of variety to their game so that is the most likely upset for me...

Highlight matches in the mens draw:
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are back in action on day 6; Federer takes on Nicolas Mahut, meanwhile Djokovic will play Nicolas DevilderJuan Martin Del Potro who has struggled with a knee injury in his first two matches is likely to be given a stern test by Marin Cilic.  Two other matches to keep an eye on will be Gilles Simon against Stan Wawrinka, and Fernando Verdasco against Andreas Seppi.  I think both will be gruelling matches but Simon and Verdasco will end up winners.

The outcome of Day 5's highlight match, Jankovic v Lepchenko:
My preview was that it would be tight, tense and dramatic with Lepchenko prevailing... and so it proved to be! Lepchenko pulled off the upset with a 7-6 4-6 6-4 victory as Jankovic wasted a number of significant first set opportunities.  The American, who has boosted her shots at making the Olympics will now play Francesca Schiavone in the third round, who she beat earlier this month in Madrid.

You can follow my original predictions for the WTA and ATP draws at Roland Garros.  I am 18/31 for the women's draw so far and 20/30 for the men's draw as we move into the third round tomorrow.

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