Wednesday, 17 October 2012

WTA Moscow/Luxembourg: 2nd Round Predictions

Lets take a look at some of the second round matches that will take place in Moscow and Luxembourg later today and tomorrow...

Venus Williams
1. Venus Williams v Mona Barthel (Luxembourg)
Mona Barthel made a stunning start to the season where she won the title in Hobart and made a name for herself in Stuttgart beating Marion Bartoli and Ana Ivanovic, and pushing Victoria Azarenka hard in a marathon quarter-final; she had notched up 26 wins (including qualifying matches) up till Stuttgart, but since then her season has turned rather sour.  She is 11-15 since Stuttgart in wins/losses, but will look to end the season on a high in Luxembourg where she faces Venus Williams in a exciting second rounder.  Venus has not played since the US Open and quickly shook off the rust to beat Belinda Bencic, 6-3 6-1 in round one.  Barthel defeated Mandy Minella in her opener, 7-5 6-0 and has the game to trouble Venus.  The problem for Barthel is consistency and whether she has the belief that she can win this one...
Prediction - Venus to beat Barthel in 3 sets

2. Caroline Wozniacki v Urszula Radwanska (Moscow)
Caroline Wozniacki plays her first match in Russia against good friend, Urzsula Radwanska.  The lower ranked of the Radwanska sisters has made a steady climb up the rankings this year and benefitted from a largely injury-free season.  She did not have to do much to beat Francesca Schiavone in her first round match, but her improved consistency was there for all too see.  Wozniacki leads the head-to-head with two straight set wins over Radwanska.  The most recent of those wins came earlier in Copenhagen this year.  I think the slow indoor surface of Moscow will favour Wozniacki and she is still my tip for the title...
Prediction - Wozniacki to beat Radwanska in 2 sets

Yaroslava Shvedova
3. Maria Kirilenko v Yaroslava Shvedova (Moscow)
Russian hopes are fading fast in Moscow with Nadia Petrova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Ekaterina Makarova all falling at the first hurdle yesterday.  Maria Kirilenko is the highest ranked of the Russians remaining and has a tough match on her hands with Yaroslava Shvedova.  The Kazakh player has had a tremendous year although in recent weeks her fragile mental toughness has boiled to the surface once more.  Shvedova had no problems with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-2 6-2 but Kirilenko, who beat Elena Vesnina in the first round, will be much more consistent.  I think this will be a tough match with both having their chances to win, but Kirilenko holding her nerve...
Prediction - Kirilenko to beat Shvedova in 3 tough sets

4. Julia Goerges v Monica Niculescu (Luxembourg)
Julia Goerges has had a real resurgence in form following an impressive three set win over Sam Stosur in Beijing.  She reached the third round there and then backed that up with a final showing in Linz.  She defeated Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the first round, who had won their previous encounter in Seoul, but Goerges showed how much more solid her form is at present.  Goerges now takes on the crafty Monica Niculescu, who notched up only her second win in the first round since returning from injury at the US Open.  The pair played recently in Tokyo where Goerges was very comfortable in victory, 6-3 6-2.  Niculescu is playing better now and needs a good result here having been a runner-up last year... I still fancy Goerges to win easily.
Prediction - Goerges to beat Niculescu in 2 sets

Best of the rest:
Stosur to beat Cornet in 2 sets
Cibulkova to beat Pironkova in 2 tight sets
Halep to beat Dolonc in 2 sets

Flipkens to beat Hantuchova in 3 sets
Beck to beat Hradecka in 3 sets

Moscow was a disaster yesterday as I lost my finalist, Nadia Petrova! Luxembourg was better as my predicted finalist, Kirsten Flipkens took out the seeded, Sabine Lisicki.

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