Tuesday, 8 May 2012

WTA Madrid: 3rd Round Predictions

Li Na
Victoria Azarenka v Ana Ivanovic
Azarenka and Ivanovic both progressed to a third round meeting with two straight set wins in Madrid.  In the second round, Azarenka beat Andrea Hlavackova with a 6-3 7-6 victory, meanwhile Ivanovic had a good win against Nadia Petrova, 7-5 6-1, who despite being inconsistent is still a threat on the clay.  Ivanovic leads their head-to-head by 2 wins to 1, but Azarenka has come on leaps and bounds since their last encounter in Cincinnati in 2010.  The world number one has not looked at her best this week, but I still think she will be too solid for Ivanovic.
Prediction - Azarenka to beat Ivanovic 6-3 7-5

Angelique Kerber v Li Na
Kerber continued her dazzling recent form with a 6-4 6-1 victory over Venus Williams in the second round. Li has been making far less headlines but looked equally impressive as she took out Silvia Soler Espinosa, 6-3 6-1.  Li has actually played some very solid tennis in 2012 and looks to be finding her feet on the blue clay.  Li and Kerber last met in the Indian Wells quarter-final where Kerber prevailed in straight sets, 6-4 6-2.  Li is a dark horse for me this week so i'm going to go for what I consider to be a surprise (although not based on seeding) and side with Li for the win.
Prediction - Li to beat Kerber, 2-6 6-2 6-4

Varvara Lepchenko v Anabel Medina Garrigues
Lepchenko has won four matches in Madrid this week having come through qualifying.  She has had a good 2012 so far but fallen short in several tight matches; however things have changed this week as she beat Francesca Schiavone in the first round and then edged Shahar Peer in a tight two setter today.  Medina Garrigues had a much tougher match in her second round compared to the first round as she defeated Sorana Cirstea, 6-1 3-6 7-5.  I think this will be a tight match, but I believe Medina Garrigues will progress through the quarter-finals.
Prediction - Medina Garrigues to beat Lepchenko 6-2 3-6 6-1 

Sam Stosur v Petra Cetkovska
Sam Stosur
Stosur has struggled her way through the draw with two tough three setters.  In the last round, she won eight straight games from 6-2 4-4 down to record a 2-6 6-4 6-0 win over Christina McHale.  After a disappointing start to the season, Cetkovska has started to record some impressive wins and has already beaten Vera Zvonareva and the useful clay-courter, Lourdes Dominguez Lino in the first two rounds.  I don't fancy Stosur on this surface, but I think she will have played her way in to some form with the long matches she has had so far and be too strong for Cetkovska in this match.
Prediction - Stosur to beat Cetkovska, 6-4 6-4

Caroline Wozniacki v Serena Williams
Wozniacki was tough as boots as she saw off Mona Barthel in a 6-4 7-6 second round victory.  It was made all the more impressive because she picked up an ankle injury in her first round match where she toiled for over three hours to beat Ksenia Pervak.  Serena has picked up right where she left off from in Charleston several weeks ago looking in terrific form so far.  She eased past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round, 6-2 6-1.  Serena lost her last encounter with Wozniacki in Miami and something tells me she is going to be raring to go for this one...
Prediction - Serena to beat Wozniacki, 6-3 6-2

Lucie Safarova v Maria Sharapova
Lucie Safarova has beaten the Estoril champion and runner-up, Kaia Kanepi and Carla Suarez Navarro, in her opening two rounds.  She looks to be playing very well on the blue clay and has yet to have her serve broken having saved a total of ten break points.  Sharapova has yet to be fully tested with straight set wins over Irina-Camelia Begu and Klara Zakopalova.  Safarova has actually won their only encounter, which also took place on the clay courts in Madrid although that was when Sharapova was making her return from that shoulder injury.  I think this will be a very tough match for Sharapova, but I cannot see Safarova having the mental toughness to quite pull the shock out of the bag.
Prediction - Sharapova to beat Safarova, 7-6 7-5

Highlights from the Azarenka/Hlavackova and Sharapova/Zakopalova

You can view my original predictions for the WTA and ATP draw in Madrid.  I haven't done too badly yet although the mens has yet to really get going with Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic the only two players into the third round. 

There has been very limited coverage of the matches today, which is very disappointing for a Premier Mandatory tournament.    There have also been some more grumbles from the players regarding the blue clay... bring on Rome next week.

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