Saturday, 25 August 2012

WTA US Open: Preview and Predictions

This summer has been jam packed with tennis and it keeps on coming this week with the final major of 2012.  Lets take a look at the draw...

Victoria Azarenka
1ST QUARTER - V.Azarenka v S.Stosur
Victoria Azarenka headlines the US Open draw and will play Alexandra Panova in the first round.  Azarenka comes into Flushing Meadows with little match play since the Olympics as she retired from her first match in Montreal at 3-3 against Tamira Paszek.  She should be able to play herself into form through her opening matches before the competition will toughen with Zheng Jie projected in the third round and then Sabine Lisicki in the 4th round.  Lisicki has a testing opener against Sorana Cirstea who has won all three of their previous matches.  Lisicki has also been out of action recently with injury and in the past, it has often take her some time to find her feet on the court...

Sam Stosur begins the defence of her US Open title against Petra Martic, who will be no walkover.  The big headline though from this quarter is the potential meeting of Kim Clijsters and Li Na in the third round.  Li looked close to top form in Cincy, but she has been handed a tough-as-nails draw at the US as she will have to overcome her mental jitters head on to get past the third round.  

Li suffered a painful loss to Clijsters earlier in the year when she blew four match points in their fourth round encounter at the Australian Open in arguably the most dramatic match of the year so far.  If Li was to get past that one, Stosur would most likely await in the 4th round; this is another a horrible match-up for Li who struggles to read the Stosur game and has lost all six encounters including a 6-1 6-0 thumping at the WTA Championships in their most recent clash.  It is also worth noting that this is Clijsters's final ever faring on the WTA tour and that she has won her last 21 matches at the US Open...

QF Prediction - Azarenka v Clijsters

1st round highlights - Cirstea/Lisicki, Li/Watson, Martic/Stosur

Dark Horses - Julia Goerges

Maria Sharapova
2ND QUARTER - M.Sharapova v P.Kvitova
Maria Sharapova has not played since that devastating loss in the Olympics final to Serena Williams, but that should not be a problem as she has been handed a crazy cakewalk of a draw.  She opens up against Melinda Czink and is projected to play Anabel Medina Garrigues in the third round, who will offer no threat whatsoever to the Russian.   

Lucie Safarova and Nadia Petrova are the two seeds battling out for a chance to meet Sharapova in the 4th round.  Safarova's form at the Grand Slams this year has been terrible, but this could be a chance for her to make amends.  Petrova, who plays Jarmila Gajdosova in the first round, has always been a classy player but her brain too often brings her crashing back down to earth so I do not expect much from her this week...

Petra Kvitova has enjoyed a superb US Open series and should be confident of extinguishing memories of a shocking first round loss last year to Alexandra Dulgheru.  Her first substantial test is likely to come in the 4th round where she is anticipated to meet Marion Bartoli.  Bartoli will have her hands full with Andrea Petkovic if both win their openers, meanwhile Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova could well be the one to come through to meet Kvitova in the 4th round if she can tame Daniela Hantuchova in the first round.

QF Prediction - Sharapova v Kvitova

1st round highlights - Oudin/Safarova, Bartoli/Hampton, Hantuchova/Pavlyuchenkova

Dark Horses - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Serena Williams
3RD QUARTER - C.Wozniacki v S.Williams
Caroline Wozniacki has a great draw for Flushing Meadows but her preparations have been less than ideal as she was forced to retire from her beloved New Haven tournament with a knee injury.  She opens up against Irina-Camelia Begu before a potential match with the weakest seed in the draw, Monica Niculescu who has missed the last couple of months through injury.   

Ana Ivanovic is also in this section, but she comes into the US Open having yet to win a game on the American hard courts throughout the summer following a 6-0 6-0 loss to Roberta Vinci in CanadaFrancesca Schiavone has the most intriguing opener in this section against Sloane Stephens; if Schiavone plays anything like she did in Cincy, Sloane should enjoy a rewarding run here...

Serena Williams will go into the US Open as the clear favourite and her draw has certainly improved her chances with Azarenka, Kvitova, Sharapova, Li and Clijsters all positioned in the top half.  She plays Coco Vandeweghe in an all-American first rounder.  Peng Shuai is her first projected seed in the third round before Maria Kirilenko could await in the 4th round.  Kirilenko has been very impressive of late, but is unlikely to pose many problems for the American.

QF Prediction - Wozniacki v S.Williams

1st round highlights - Pironkova/Giorgi, Schiavone/Stephens, Peng/Vesnina, Vandeweghe/S.Williams

Dark Horses - Sloane Stephens and Arantxa Rus

Agnieszka Radwanska
4TH QUARTER - A.Kerber v A.Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska will head into the US Open in unconvincing fashion following a string of disappointing losses in Montreal, Cincy and New Haven and hampered with a persistent shoulder injury.  Her draw lends her a helping hand but I think she could face a similar fate to last year where she fell in the second round.  Her first projected seed is Jelena Jankovic, who would have been a walking bye before this weeks tournament in Dallas, but she has since turned her form around with a stirring run to the final.  Radwanska did go into Wimbledon in similar form and she made the final then; however I think this time round, she will not be able to rediscover her game in time...

Angelique Kerber has been the breakthrough star in 2012 and if she can overcome some tough early opponents, this could be her best Grand Slam of the year so far.  There is a BUT though as she has drawn Venus Williams in the second round assuming she can get past Anne Keothavong (no offence Anne, but it ain't happening) and Venus can beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands.  Kerber enjoyed a tight 7-6 7-6 victory over Venus at the Olympics and I think she will edge past the American once more.  

In the third round, there could be a rematch of one of the finest matches of the year as Tamira Paszek is a potential third round match for Kerber; the two played in the Eastbourne final where Kerber had an agonising loss, but on the hard courts I think Paszek will struggle to make the third round.  Sara Errani and Christina McHale are set for the other third rounder in this section; this is a superb chance for both to get into the second week, most likely to be taken by Errani who has not done badly at all since leaving the clay courts.

QF Prediction - Kerber v Vinci

1st round highlights - Mattek-Sands/Venus, Jovanovski/Barthel, King/Shvedova, U.Radwanska/Vinci

Dark Horses - Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci

Final Prediction - Maria Sharapova d. Angelique Kerber
My predictions for Serena have always been way off but my instinct tells me she will not win here.  Her performance on the hard courts all year has not been at the same standard as that of her clay and grass court season and frankly I am bored of predicting Serena to win everything ;-) Sharapova and Kerber are my predicted finalists... lets see how these two weeks go!

You can view my full predictions for Womens US Open draw HERE


  1. Your predictions are almost identical to mine, although I am predicting a Azarenka-Serena final rather than a Kerber-Sharapova one (which is what I'd love tbh ;D). I'm curious about your prediction of Falconi making the third round and defeating McHale. I have a feeling she'll crash out to Puchkova in the first round. I also am swaying to Safarova for a fourth round clash with Maria, but Wozniak could surprise us indeed. Great predictions anyway. :)

  2. Hi Ollie, thanks for your comment!

    Serena/Azarenka looks a good bet... I was just getting bored of predicting Serena to win everything and plus I have a feeling she won't win, not sure why! And i'd really like to see Kerber make a GS final so partly going with my heart on that one.

    In every draw there are a few wild picks and Falconi is definitely one of them! I just do not fancy McHale so that is the main reason for Falconi making the third round. Safarova on paper would be in my 4th round but she never seems to turn up at the grand slams, which is why I have gone with Wozniak...