Monday, 24 September 2012

WTA Tokyo: 2nd Round Predictions

The Top 4 of 2nd Round Tokyo Matches
Francesca Schiavone
1. Agnieszka Radwanska v Jelena Jankovic
There is a fantastic line-up of matches in Tokyo tomorrow with all sixteen 2nd round matches taking to the court.  The last match up on Centre Court between Agnieszka Radwanska and Jelena Jankovic is my match of the day.  Jankovic was solid in her 6-3 6-3 victory over Yanina Wickmayer, meanwhile Radwanska had a bye in the first round.  The pair played at the US Open where Radwanska prevailed in a tight two setter; Jankovic had a lot of chances in that match, but Radwanska won all of the key points.  If Jankovic can maintain her concentration in the key moments she definitely has the beating of Radwanska; however I think that once again, Radwanska will be too match tough.
Prediction - Radwanska to beat Jankovic in 3 sets

2. Sam Stosur v Francesca Schiavone
Francesca Schiavone produced a gutsy display on Monday to save a number of match points to beat Yaroslava Shvedova, 4-6 7-6 6-4.  I fancied Shvedova to win that one quite easily, but the Kazakh's nerves once again got the better of her.  Schiavone will now take on Sam Stosur in an intriguing second rounder.  The pair have split their last six matches, with Stosur edging the overall head-to-head by 6 games to 4.  You would think Stosur would have this on a plate, but Schiavone eased through their last encounter at the start of the year in Sydney.  I fancy Stosur to win, although I am slightly cautious as you never know what Schiavone can conjure up...
Prediction - Stosur to beat Schiavone in 2 tight sets

Heather Watson
3. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Li Na
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is lucky to be in the second round as she edged past Chanelle Scheepers, 6-4 4-6 7-5; Scheepers served for the match and Pavlyuchenkova served up 20 double faults in that one.  She takes on Li Na in the second round.  Pavlyuchenkova has had a pretty torrid 2012 although her second half to the year has shown some marginal improvements in results.  She has struggled against the players she is supposed to beat, but often raises her game for the big guns.  Their last encounter was an ugly affair in New Haven, which Li Na won in three sets.  I do not think this will be a pretty match, but it promises to be competitive and a close call...
Prediction - Li to beat Pavlyuchenkova in 3 sets

4. Maria Sharapova v Heather Watson
Heather Watson followed where Laura Robson left off from in Guangzhou with one of the best wins of her career with a 6-4 7-6 victory over Sabine Lisicki in the first round.  She had already come through two tough qualifying rounds and her reward is a second round match with world number two, Maria Sharapova.  Watson and Sharapova have played once before at the 2011 US Open where Watson produced a commendable performance before falling in three sets.  The Brit will no doubt give her all, but I don't think she has the weapons to pull of the upset of Sharapova.
Prediction - Sharapova to beat Watson in 2 sets

Best of the rest:
Victoria Azarenka opens her Tokyo account against Tamira Paszek; they last played in Canada where Azarenka had to retire from their match, but I think Azarenka should be able to finish this time round and with a win. Caroline Wozniacki was back to form in Seoul and takes on Daniela Hantuchova, meanwhile Petra Kvitova will play the dangerous, Petra Martic.  There are bound to be some upsets tomrrow although I am struggling to pinpoint which matches! 

Perhaps the best chance of an upset could be in the match between Marion Bartoli and Julia Goerges; Goerges has had a horrid run of late but had no dramas in her opening round win over Monica Niculescu.  If she can keep the ball in court then she has a good chance at getting past Bartoli...

Azarenka to beat Paszek in 2 sets
Wozniacki to beat Hantuchova in 2 sets
Kvitova to beat Martic in 3 sets
Kerber to beat Morita in 2 easy sets
Cibulkova to beat Zheng in 2 tight sets

You can view my original predictions for Tokyo HERE... I didn't have a great day but did correctly predict that Heather Watson would beat Sabine Lisicki.

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