Friday, 1 June 2012

French Open: 3rd Round Predictions for Day 7

The top three on Day 7:
Li Na
1. Caroline Wozniacki v Kaia Kanepi
Things could get sticky for Caroline Wozniacki in the 3rd round where she meets the big serving, big hitting Estonian, Kaia Kanepi.  Both have looked in good form with two straight set wins under their belt so far.  Kanepi won the title in Estoril and reached the semi-finals in Brussels, which demonstrates that she can more than hold her own on this surface.  The pair last met during the Asian swing at the end of 2011 where Kanepi won in Tokyo, but Wozniacki turned the tables in Beijing.  Wozniacki went out of Roland Garros at this stage last year and she will have to play well to avoid a similar story this year.  Wozniacki is actually playing pretty well at the moment and I think she will be stronger than Kanepi in the key moments of this match.
Prediction - Wozniacki to beat Kanepi in 2 tight sets

2. Li Na v Christina McHale
Li Na has been one of the most impressive players in the womens draw so far; she thrashed Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-1 in the first round and then bettered that in round two against Stephanie Foretz-Gacon, 6-0 6-2.  Her next opponent is the steady, Christina McHale.  The American has come through two tough matches against promising youngsters in Kiki Bertens and Lauren Davis.  McHale has very solid groundstrokes but a little bit of variety too in her game, and she is not afraid of the big upset. However in what will be their first ever encounter on the tour, I think Li will progress in relatively comfortable fashion.
Prediction - Li to beat McHale in 2 sets

3. Francesca Schiavone v Varvara Lepchenko
Francesca Schiavone looked totally lost on the tennis court after early defeats in both Madrid and Rome, but from there she has turned it all around following a run to the title in Strasbourg and two wins at her beloved Roland Garros.  Her second round match was not easy though, but she did well to fend off a flying Tsvetana Pironkova, 2-6 6-3 6-1.  Her opponent in round three is Varvara Lepchenko who edged Jelena Jankovic in a three set, three hour plus marathon.  Lepchenko actually beat Schiavone in Madrid earlier this year, but I think this match will be different on the much slower red clay.  I still expect a very tight match, but Schiavone to prevail this time round...
Prediction - Schiavone to beat Lepchenko to beat in 3 sets

Best of the rest:
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova have both had pristine routes through to the third round and I predict they will keep up their impressive starts to the tournament.  Sharapova has a trickier match against Peng Shuai, but the Chinese player has been struggling with injuries and surprised many by reaching this stage.  Kvitova should not be troubled by Nina Bratchikova who knocked out Monica Niculescu in the first round.

I do not fancy any of the highest seeds to be knocked out on day 7.  I tipped Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to go out in the second round, but she produced one of her best performances of the year as she won 20 of the last 21 points in a 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory over Melinda Czink.  She has another challenging match against Klara Zakopalova, but I fancy her to keep winning and book a 4th round date with Sharapova...

Highlight matches in the mens draw:
In the men's draw, I am most excited about the match between Juan Monaco and Milos Raonic.  Both have played very well of late and it is a close one to call although I fancy Monaco to edge it.  Andy Murray will hope for an easier time off it in round three against Santiago Giraldo after struggling with back spasms in his last match.  Rafael Nadal has looked in sensational form so far and I anticipate no problems whatsoever against Eduardo Schwank.

Janko Tipsarevic may have his work cut out against Julien Benneteau who has made a fine return from injury at Roland Garros.  Richard Gasquet, who beat Grigor Dimitrov in 4 sets yesterday will play the veteran, Tommy Haas.  The German player has had an excellent tournament so far having come through three rounds of qualifying.

 An incredible rally between Gasquet and Dimitrov in their third round match

The outcome of Day 6's top matches:
Sam Stosur was in sparkling form as she eased past Nadia Petrova, 6-3 6-3 and booked a 4th round match with the rising American, Sloane Stephens.  The other two matches that I previewed yesterday were both surprises! I must say I put my hands up and say that I really called the Errani/Ivanovic match wrong... I was very surprised to see Sara Errani win that one, but massive credit to her for pulling out the biggest win of her career.  Svetlana Kuznetsova managed to keep her head in check as she produced her best performance of 2012 to completely overwhelm the number three seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-1 6-2.

Highlights from the Errani/Ivanovic 3rd round match

You can follow my original predictions for the WTA and ATP draws at Roland Garros.  I am having a disappointing week for the womens, but the mens has been a tad more successful!

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