Thursday, 25 October 2012

WTA YEC Istanbul: Day 4 Predictions

Li Na
1. Victoria Azarenka v Li Na
The final match from the red group will decide which player qualifies for the semi-finals in second place behind Serena.  Victoria Azarenka showed signs of tiredness in her 6-4 6-4 defeat by Serena Williams.  She threw in 9 double faults and all at crucial folds of the match including on match point.  I thought Azarenka handled with Serena very well from the back of the court, but it was the mental lapses that cost her the match.  Li Na kept her hopes of qualifying alive with a 6-4 6-3 victory over another weary player, Angelique Kerber.

Azarenka and Li are all square in the head to head with four wins apiece although Azarenka has won their last three encounters.  They last met on the slippery clay of Madrid where Azarenka recovered from losing the first set to win 3-6 6-3 6-3.  I think this will be a very tight match and I fancy it to go three sets.  Azarenka was all over the place at times today, but when a semi-final position is at stakes, I would back her over Li every time to hold her nerve and reach the semi-finals...

Prediction - Azarenka to beat Li in 3 sets

2. Agnieszka Radwanska v Sara Errani
Just like the red group, the second qualifier from the white group will be determined by whoever wins this match.  Agnieszka Radwanska came up just short in a total epic with Maria Sharapova; she lost 5-7 7-5 7-5  in 3 hours and 12 minutes to finish a stunning day of tennis following the Azarenka/Kerber match.  Sara Errani lost her opener against Sharapova, but came back fighting today to stun the alternate Sam Stosur, 6-3 2-6 6-0.  Stosur was on complete walkabouts in the decider as she double faulted the first and deciding sets away to keep Errani's chances of progressing alive.  Radwanska leads the head-to-head by five wins to one including a 6-0 6-1 rout in Madrid.  I expect this match to be closer, but I think it will be Radwanska progressing to a first career YEC semi-final...

Prediction - Radwanska to beat Errani in 2 sets

3. Maria Sharapova v Sam Stosur
Maria Sharapova confirmed her place in the semi-finals yesterday with a truly epic match with Agnieszka Radwanska.  Sharapova came from 7-5 4-2 down and showed real frustration at getting the ball past Radwanska, who was a complete wall at times.  She now plays an essentially dead rubber with Sam Stosur who suffered another disappointing loss in 2012 at the hands to Sara Errani.  Stosur cannot qualify, but will want to go out with some pride following today's horror show.  Stosur won their last encounter in Tokyo and also won here on the indoor courts of Istanbul last year.  I think Sharapova will be eager to finish the Round Robin stages on a high and after today's performance, I just cannot see Stosur coming back into any kind of form...

Prediction - Sharapova to beat Stosur in 2 tight sets

Coming Soon - I am starting to prepare my top 20 WTA matches of 2012 and this will be one of my feature posts during the off season... stay tuned as I hope to get the first part out soon ;-)

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