Monday, 22 October 2012

WTA YEC Istanbul: Day 1 Predictions

Petra Kvitova
1. Petra Kvitova v Agnieszka Radwanska
Last year's champion, Petra Kvitova will open up the YEC in Istanbul for the second year in a row.  The first match is a potentially pivotal match against the world number 4, Agnieszka Radwanska.  Since claiming the title in New Haven, Kvitova has not played her best tennis.  She suffered a surprising 4th round at the US Open to a majestic Marion Bartoli and was disappointing in Asia.  In her defence, she did pick up a stomach bug in Beijing.  Radwanska raised her game in Tokyo where she reached the final and was dazzling in her semi-final against Angelique Kerber.  Her injuries came to the forefront again in Beijing where she was comfortably beaten by Li Na in the quarter-finals.

If Kvitova plays anywhere near her best, this will be a comprehensive win for the Czech player on her favoured indoor surface.  Kvitova has won all three of their previous encounters including a win in the group stages last year, which was their last match against each other.  I think Kvitova will be rusty tomorrow and throw in a load of unforced errors, and Radwanska will demonstrate enough craft and stickability to upset her rhythm. This will be a struggle, but I think Kvitova will win...

Prediction - Kvitova to beat Radwanska in 3 sets

Angelique Kerber
2. Serena Williams v Angelique Kerber
Serena Williams plays her first match since winning the US Open title against a YEC debutant, Angelique Kerber in the second match of the day.  The German player had to pull out of her quarter-final in Beijing with a foot injury and then withdrew from Luxembourg so her form is rather unpredictable.  In their only match this year, Kerber actually won 6-4 6-4 with a very consistent display.  Serena on that day was miserably poor and you cannot deny that fact, but it was still a huge mental win for Kerber because getting across the finish line against Serena is a mighty challenge.

I have been a big fan of Kerber this year and believe she has been one of the stars of this year; however I think she is going to really struggle at this tournament and I cannot see her beating Serena.  If she can get on the board early, that will be obviously be good for her chances, but Serena should be solid enough for a straight sets victory.

Prediction - Serena to beat Kerber in 2 tight sets

Sara Errani
3. Maria Sharapova v Sara Errani
The final match of the day will see a rematch of the French Open final.  That tournament provided a high point of 2012 for both players as Maria Sharapova claimed a career slam and Sara Errani reached her first ever Grand Slam final having defeated a top ten player for the first time in her career.  Sharapova had a pretty strong finish to 2012; she was disappointing in Tokyo where she lost to Sam Stosur, but reached the final in Beijing where she was soundly beaten by Victoria Azarenka.  Errani made another quarter-final in Tokyo, but has since been injured and taken a break following a knackering year.

The pair have only played once at the French Open final where Sharapova won 6-3 6-2.  Errani actually played a very good match that day on her best surface so for her to win here against Sharapova on an indoor court would be mindblowing.  Sara has got a tough group and I really hope she can give a respectable performance... no worries though for Sharapova as she will get off to a winning start here.

Prediction - Sharapova to beat Errani in 2 sets

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