Tuesday, 25 September 2012

WTA Tokyo: 3rd Round Predictions

The Top 4 of Tokyo 3rd Round Matches
Li Na
1. Caroline Wozniacki v Li Na
This Asian swing has seen a return to form from Caroline Wozniacki, who now faces her toughest test of the past two weeks; step forward, Li Na who fought past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets in her second round match.  Wozniacki struggled past Bojana Jovanovski in the first round, but produced an extremely efficient performance to defeat Daniela Hantuchova, 7-6 6-1 with some superb serving statistics, which saw her lose just 3 points on her second serve throughout the entire match.  Wozniacki and Li have not faced off since their dramatic Australian Open semi-final in 2011 where Li saved match points to make the final with a 3-6 7-5 6-3 victory.  This promises to be a very interesting match and it is a tough one to call; I think it will go to the wire, but Li will edge it...
Prediction - Li to beat Wozniacki in 3 tough sets

2. Lucie Safarova v Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova was well below her best in the 2nd round as she laboured to a 6-7 6-3 6-4 victory over Heather Watson.  It was a gutsy effort from Watson who for the second time in a row stretched the Russian to three sets.  The match did sound like a horror show though with Watson having a -34 winner to unforced error differential and Sharapova making 67 unforced errors.  Sharapova's next challenge should be much tougher; Lucie Safarova had a walkover against Klara Zakopalova and has some weapons that can hurt Maria.  Safarova has beaten Sharapova before although I fancy the Russian to step up her game considerably from today...
Prediction - Sharapova to beat Safarova in 2 very tight sets

3. Sam Stosur v Dominika Cibulkova
Sam Stosur came through Tuesday's top match as she recovered from the loss of the first set to beat Francesca Schiavone, 4-6 6-2 7-5.  Stosur has had an up-and-down kind of year, but this ranks as one of her most impressive performances.  I do not normally associate Stosur with real fighting comeback wins, but she has definitely improved that side of her game this year.  Her opponent in the 3rd round is Dominika Cibulkova, who has enjoyed two straightforward wins in the opening two rounds against Anabel Medina Garrigues and Zheng Jie.  This is a pretty shoddy match-up for Cibulkova who discussed her difficulty in returning the Stosur kick serve after a pretty convincing loss in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros.  I also like Stosur's form recently and would have had her further if she hadn't drawn Sharapova in her quarter...
Prediction - Stosur to beat Cibulkova in 2 sets

4. Victoria Azarenka v Roberta Vinci
Victoria Azarenka was an emphatic winner over Tamira Paszek, 6-1 6-1 in her first match since the US Open final loss to Serena Williams.  I think she is the one to beat this week and she faces Roberta Vinci in the third round.  The Italian is enjoying a rich vein of form having won the title in Dallas, reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open and now two solid wins in Tokyo.  Her first round was a bit ropey against Barbara Zahlavova Strycova, but she was much more convincing today in a straight sets win over Pauline Parmentier.  Azarenka has won both her previous encounters with Vinci on the clay and I expect another win today although I anticipate the Italian will make it much more difficult than Paszek did.
Prediction - Azarenka to beat Vinci in 2 sets

Best of the rest:
Agnieszka Radwanska fought off a second set fightback from Jelena Jankovic to progress in straight sets, 6-2 7-5.  She next faces Kaia Kanepi's conqueror, Jamie Hampton who had Radwanska on the ropes back in Indian Wells before she had to retire.  Angelique Kerber takes on Urzsula Radwanska, who had one of the best wins of her career over Ana IvanovicMarion Bartoli and Sara Errani will take to Centre Court first and the final third rounder will see Nadia Petrova take on Petra Martic, who enjoyed her biggest career win against Petra Kvitova... a disappointing loss for the Czech player as I fancied her to have a deep run this week!

Agnieszka Radwanska
You can view my original predictions for Tokyo HERE


  1. way too many upsets yesterday...

  2. Wozniacki wants this more. I say she wins.