Thursday, 10 May 2012

WTA Madrid: Quarter-Final Predictions

Victoria Azarenka v Li Na
Agnieszka Radwanska
Azarenka has not played her best tennis in Madrid but showed how far she has come along in a year as she rose her game at the crucial stages to edge Ana Ivanovic, 6-4 6-4.  Li Na has looked in fine form this tournament taking out two talented Spaniards in Garbine Muguruza Blanco and Silvia Soler-Espinosa, and then producing her best performance in the third round to beat Angelique Kerber.  Azarenka has won their last two encounters, the most recent of them coming in a three set win in the Sydney final.  Before that, Li had a significant edge over Azarenka and when her game is flowing, she can handle the world number one.  Not many people have been talking about Li this year, but after this match I think they will be...
Prediction - Li to beat Azarenka, 6-4 2-6 6-3

Agnieszka Radwanska v Varvara Lepchenko
Radwanska progressed to yet another quarter-final with a solid display against the in-form Roberta Vinci, 7-6 6-4.  Her opponent in the quarter-finals is the American qualifier, Lepchenko who continued her fairytale week with a hard fought victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues, 6-1 6-7 6-3.  Radwanska and Lepchenko last met in Doha this year where the American had her chances in the first set before succumbing to a 7-5 6-1 loss.  Radwanska's draws this year have been extremely lightweight and this week has been no different as she has yet to play a seed.  Once again though she could play Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals who she has succumbed to in all of her 2012 losses.  As you will notice from my above prediction, I think Radwanska will get a slice of luck in Madrid... 
Prediction - Radwanska to beat Lepchenko, 6-4 6-2

Sam Stosur v Lucie Hradecka
Sam Stosur had a much more straightforward win in her third round match as she eased past Petra Cetkovska, 6-3 6-2.  She now seems to be finding her feet on the blue clay after a significant time spent on the court during two gruelling three setters in the first two rounds.  She will be relieved that her projected quarter-finalist, Petra Kvitova has been eliminated, but should still be wary of Hradecka.  The Czech player defeated Ekaterina Makarova, 6-2 7-6 in the third round to add to Petra Kvitova and Peng Shuai, who she has impressively taken out this week.  There is no doubt that Hradecka has the game to beat anyone on her day, but on this occasion I think Stosur will be too solid.
Prediction - Stosur to beat Hradecka 7-6 6-3

Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova
On so many occasions, Serena and Maria have been destined to meet, but one of them has fallen at the last hurdle.  It looked like that may happen again when Serena lost the opening set of her third round match to Caroline Wozniacki, 6-1; however she came alive in the second and third sets to record a 1-6 6-3 6-2 victory.  Maria Sharapova received a walkover when Lucie Safarova was forced to pull out due to illness.  Serena holds a significant edge over Sharapova in their head-to-head having won their last six encounters including a dominant 6-1 6-3 win in Stanford last year.  This is the kind of a match-up that can give the WTA some well needed exposure after being put in the shadows to the ATP tour in Madrid... I hope its a competitive and exciting match!
Prediction - Serena to beat Sharapova, 6-4 7-5

Highlights from the Hradecka/Makarova and Serena/Wozniacki third round matches


  1. I disagree that Radwanska's draw is "lightweight" just because of seeding. Vinci and Errani are tough opponents, the latter of whom had won multiple titles on a clay-court winning streak. She's also beaten players such as Venus, Li, Sharapova, and Bartoli this year.

  2. Thanks for your comment! In my opinion, Errani was not as a big threat as people were making out because she had played so much tennis recently and she had to adjust to the blue clay, which plays considerably differently to the red clay.

    I think Radwanska has done remarkably well this season and as you mention, beaten a number of very good players. In general I feel the calibre of opponents she has faced in the early rounds of tournaments in 2012 has been weak compared to the other top seeds. I distinctly remember in Miami where she did not have to play anyone in the top 50 to reach the quarter-finals; however in her defence she can only beat who is placed in front of her in the draw!