Wednesday, 16 May 2012

WTA Rome: 3rd Round Predictions

Li Na
Victoria Azarenka (1) v Dominika Cibulkova (14)
Azarenka has now withdrawn from Rome citing a shoulder injury.

Chanelle Scheepers  v Li Na (8)
Scheepers progressed to the 3rd round with a victory over Marina Erakovic, who had previously taken out Sabine Lisicki in a lengthy three set encounter in round one.  Li beat Iveta Benesova in the second round with a solid 6-1 7-5 victory.  Li has slowly been playing her way into better form, which is ideal with Roland Garros on the horizon and 2000 ranking points to defend.  Li has won her two previous encounters with Scheepers; the most recent of those came in Sydney earlier this year where the Chinese player recovered from the loss of the first set to progress in three.  I cannot see Scheepers having the resources on clay to stop Li in this one...
Prediction - Li to beat Scheepers in 2 sets

Flavia Pennetta v Petra Cetkovska
The home crowd, which has been in full voice this week will be sure to be supporting Pennetta in this unseeded third round match.  Pennetta who is making her first appearance on tour since early April, comfortably beat Sloane Stephens, 6-2 6-3 in the second round.  She will play Cetkovska who provided the upset of the tournament so far as she defeated the new world number 3, Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4 4-6 6-1.  Remarkably it is her fourth straight win over Radwanska and the first time the Pole has been beaten by anyone other than Azarenka in 2012.  I think this will be a tight match, but I see Cetkovska continuing her impressive recent form...
Prediction - Cetkovska to beat Pennetta in 3 sets

Serena Williams (9) v Anabel Medina Garrigues
Serena was forced to play her second round match with Nadia Petrova just 15 hours after completing a first round win over Galina Voskoboeva.  It was not a routine performance for Serena as she recovered from losing the first set to beat Nadia Petrova, 4-6 6-2 6-3.  Petrova is always a difficult opponent, but her mental lapses have become even more alarming in the last year so for her to pull off a victory here would have been a big shock.  Medina Garrigues made the third round after she benefited from a withdrawal from the former world number one, Caroline Wozniacki when she was leading 6-4 4-0.  Medina Garrigues is extremely crafty on the clay but I think if Serena is in the mood, she can hit through the Spaniard.
Prediction - Serena to beat Medina Garrigues in 2 sets

Julia Goerges v Angelique Kerber (12)
Goerges upset Marion Bartoli in the second round to book an all-German third round clash with Kerber.  Goerges has been handed some tricky draws in recent weeks, which has seen her drop down to number 29 in the world; however she was in fine form to dispatch Bartoli, 6-3 6-1.  Kerber struggled in her opening round, but was far better in beating Vania King, 6-3 6-2 as she was not broken throughout the entire match.  Kerber and Goerges are tied at 1-1 in their head-to-head with Kerber winning their most recent match in Auckland this year, 6-2 6-3.  I think Goerges will make more of an impact in this match, but I still see Kerber edging this one...
Prediction - Kerber to beat Goerges in 3 sets

Petra Kvitova (5) v Sorana Cirstea
Sam Stosur
Kvitova progressed in to the third round with a tight two set win over the slowly improving, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.  She plays the unseeded Cirstea, who has started to make an impact once again in 2012.  She beat Jelena Jankovic in a tense three setter on Monday and backed it up with a very convincing 6-3 6-1 win over Sofia Arvidsson.  Cirstea did win their previous match back in 2010 at Copenhagen and Kvitova's form of late has been less than convincing.  However I think she is mentally stronger than the Romanian and will be able to tough this one out to make the quarter-finals.
Prediction - Kvitova to beat Cirstea in 2 tight sets

Sam Stosur (4) v Venus Williams
Stosur has been handed a tricky draw in Rome but began well with a win over the Italian, Sara Errani.  She was made to work hard for the win as she came back from 4-1 down in the second set to record a 6-3 7-5 victory.  Venus Williams won a hard fought opening set before cruising to an impressive victory over Ekaterina Makarova, 7-6 6-1.  Venus has always held an edge over Stosur in their head-to-heads although the Aussie won their last encounter back in Charleston in a tight three set match.  I really fancy Stosur to do well in Rome having predicted her to win the title at the start of the week so I think she will get past Venus once more...
Prediction - Stosur to beat Venus in 2 tight sets

Ana Ivanovic (13) v Maria Sharapova (2)
One of the stand-out third round matches will see Ivanovic take on Sharapova.  The Serb cruised into the third round with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Silvia Soler Espinosa.  Sharapova did not look at her best on Tuesday, but showed her mental strength to edge Christina McHale in a tight two-setter, 7-5 7-5.  Ivanovic and Sharapova last played in the semi-finals of Indian Wells where Ivanovic had to pull out with an injury in the second set.  The match was shaping up nicely so I think this will be an entertaining encounter.  I fancy Ivanovic to get a set off the Russian, but Sharapova to eventually prevail...
Prediction - Sharapova to beat Ivanovic in 3 sets

You can follow my predictions for both the WTA and ATP draws in Rome.  I am doing particularly well in the men's tournament this week correctly predicting 12 out of the 14 players into the third round so far :-)

Highlights from Pavlyuchenkova/Kvitova, Sharapova/McHale, Venus/Halep, Errani/Bacsinszky and Serena/Voskoboeva

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