Tuesday, 23 October 2012

WTA YEC Istanbul: Day 2 Predictions

Serena Williams
1. Serena Williams v Li Na
Serena Williams kicked off proceedings in the red group with a solid straight sets victory over Angelique Kerber, 6-4 6-1.  Serena was not at her best and displayed some fraught emotions at times as she let slip an early break in the first set before regrouping.  Li Na will play her first match in Istanbul and it is a tough starting act for the Chinese player.  

Serena and Li will play for the first time since 2010 when Serena edged a tight two setter in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.  Although Serena leads the head-to-head 5-1, all of their previous matches have been tight with three of them going to three sets.  Li has the groundstrokes to live with Serena, but whether she can take it to the next level and record a win is another question.  I think having played today will work in Serena's favour and she will beat Li once more...
Prediction - Serena to beat Li in 2 very tight sets

2. Victoria Azarenka v Angelique Kerber
Angelique Kerber gave a respectable performance in her first round robin match at the YEC against Serena Williams.  She looked both tired and nervous to begin with, but grew into the match and showed some heart in the first set before succumbing to defeat.  Things get no easier as she now takes on the world number one, Victoria Azarenka.  

Azarenka and Kerber have played twice this year with Vika winning both matches in straight sets; their last match at the Olympics was a fizzling encounter that featured some extraordinary rallies so hopefully more of the same is dished up tomorrow.  Kerber played really well in that match and couldn't even win a set.  Azarenka looked on fire in Beijing and more importantly, on the indoor courts of Linz so I cannot see her being troubled in her opener here...
Prediction - Azarenka to beat Kerber in 2 sets

3. Maria Sharapova v Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska got off to a great start with a 6-3 6-2 victory over the defending YEC champion, Petra Kvitova.  Kvitova was error strewn at best, but Radwanska went about her job well and lived with the highs and lows of an irratic Kvitova to record her first ever win over the Czech player.  Maria Sharapova beat Sara Errani, 6-3 6-2 to match the scoreline of this year's French Open final.  

Sharapova and Radwanska last met in the Miami final where Radwanska enjoyed her best win of the year.  The Istanbul court looks pretty slow, which will favour Radwanska Sharapova struggled at times to put Errani to bed, but found her groove on the forehand in the second set.  Radwanska will be more consistent and have plenty of tricks up her sleeves, but I think Sharapova will win this, running away with the decider after the pair split sets.
Prediction - Sharapova to beat Radwanska in 3 sets

ATP Action - I have updated my predictions for Valencia and Basel... I have lost a semi-finalist in Valencia (Kohlschreiber) but I predicted Tsonga and Tipsarevic (who fell in R1 action today) to go out before the semi-finals

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