Sunday, 13 May 2012

WTA Rome: Preview and Predictions

PROJECTED FIRST QUARTER - Victoria Azarenka (1) v Li Na (8)
Victoria Azarenka will play her opening match in Rome against the winner of the first round match between Peng Shuai and Shahar Peer.  Azarenka has not played as well in Stuttgart and Madrid as she did in Australia and Indian Wells, but has remained very consistent and mentally strong to pull out a number of three set wins.  She did however suffer a disappointing defeat to Serena in the Madrid final.  

Azarenka is projected to play Li Na in the quarter-finals, who she beat in the Madrid quarter-finals, impressively fighting back from the loss of the first set.  Li has quite a difficult draw but she showed in Madrid that she is slowly creeping back into good form.  She will play either Yanina Wickmayer or Iveta Benesova in the second round, the former having a 2-0 head-to-head record over Li.  Sabine Lisicki, who is returning from from an ankle injury this week, could face off against Li in the third round.

My QF Prediction - Azarenka v Li
Highlight 1st round matches - Peer v Peng, Wickmayer v Benesova 

Li Na

PROJECTED SECOND QUARTER - Agnieszka Radwanska (3) v Caroline Wozniacki (6)
I have previously stated that Agnieszka Radwanska has had some "lightweight" draws in 2012 but this time round in Rome, the drawmakers have not been so kind.  In the second round, she will play Petra Cetkovska or Olga Govortsova.  Cetkovska has won her last two matches with Radwanska including an astonishing come-from-behind victory at Wimbledon last year; however I think the Pole will gain revenge this week.

Caroline Wozniacki is Radwanska's projected quarter-final opponent, but the Dane will have to get past Serena Williams to make it.  I think Serena will take out Wozniacki butI do not see her winning Rome having gone all the way in Madrid to the final.  I remember last year when she took the title in Toronto, but after winning her first match in Cincinnati the next week she pulled out of the tournament.  I think Serena will want some matches on the red clay, but winning the tournament will not be as important...

My QF Prediction - Radwanska v S. Williams
Highlight 1st round matches - Pennetta v Kirilenko, Medina Garrigues v Zheng, Chakvetadze v Stephens

Serena Williams

PROJECTED THIRD QUARTER - Marion Bartoli (7) v Petra Kvitova (4)
Marion Bartoli has had a week off after being dispatched in the first main draw match on the blue clay last Saturday against Sorana Cirstea.  She faces an uphill task in Rome as she will play Aleksandra Wozniak or Julia Goerges in the second round.  Bartoli beat Goerges at Roland Garros last year, but I think the German player will be hungry for success on the clay this week after some tough draws and a huge loss of ranking points in recent weeks.  Angelique Kerber, who is a potential third round opponent for Bartoli/Goerges, opens up against Anastasia Rodionova and looks a relatively safe bet to go far in the draw...

Petra Kvitova is Bartoli's projected quarter-final opponent and will look to put a disappointing early exit in Madrid behind her.  She plays either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Ksenia Pervak in the second round before a potential clash with Jelena Jankovic in the third round.  It is worth noting Jankovic has a tricky opener against Sorana Cirstea, who defeated her in a classic three-set match from Roland Garros in 2009.

My QF Prediction - Kerber v Kvitova
Highlight 1st round matches - Jankovic/Cirstea, Pavlyuchenkova/Pervak, Arvidsson/Martinez Sanchez 

Julia Goerges

PROJECTED FOURTH QUARTER - Sam Stosur (5) v Maria Sharapova (2)
The final section could see a rematch between Stosur and Sharapova, who produced one of 2012's finest matches in Stuttgart last month.  Sam Stosur could have her hands full with a number of Italians; she is projected to meet the in-form Sara Errani in the second round before another rematch with Francesca Schiavone in the third round.  Schiavone has a massive few weeks ahead off her and needs to pick up her form or she will face a severe drop in the rankings.  She will play Ekaterina Makarova under the lights in the first round and could then meet Venus Williams in the second round.  Williams will play Simona Halep in round one for the second time in a week after surviving a tight three set encounter in Madrid.   

Maria Sharapova suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Serena Williams in Madrid, but will be glad to have avoided the American in her section of the draw.  She will play Christina McHale or Monica Niculescu in the second round before most likely playing the winner of the star-studded first rounder between Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

My QF Prediction - Stosur v Sharapova
Highlight 1st round matches - Williams/Halep, Makarova/Schiavone, Ivanovic/Kuznetsova

Francesca Schiavone

Final Prediction: Stosur d. Li
Stosur was very solid last week on a surface she clearly stated that she disliked.  She loves the red clay and particularly in Rome and if she can get past Sharapova in the quarter-finals, I think she will win the title here.  Li has been improving week-on-week and like Stosur, has a potentially pivotal quarter-final match against Azarenka in the quarter-finals.  She showed in their Madrid match that when on her game, she can outhit Azarenka but the consistency is still sometimes lacking from Li... I think that will change in Rome.

You can view my full WTA predictions and ATP predictions for Rome.  Unfortunately I have not had time to do a full preview for the men's tournament, which began this morning with wins for Juan Carlos Ferrero, Viktor Troicki and Mikhail Youzhny.  I will keep up to date with both tournaments over the next week so stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.