Monday, 21 January 2013

Australian Open Day 9: Quarter-Final Predictions

1. Li Na v Agnieszka Radwanska
Li Na
Tomorrow's top billing will see Li Na have a second go this year at trying to snap Agnieszka Radwanska's unbeaten start to 2013.  Radwanska produced an excellent performance to defeat Ana Ivanovic, 6-2 6-4 in the 4th round.  She committed just 4 unforced errors throughout the match and served especially well, saving 7 break points and holding serve on all 9 occasions.  Li had a tougher match as she fended off a set point in the opening set of her 4th round match with Julia Goerges; however she was impressive in the second set as she came through, 7-6 6-1.  

Radwanska and Li last met in Sydney where Radwanska won in straight sets, 6-3 6-4.  Before this match though, Li had beaten Radwanska three times during the 2012 summer hard court season and all in straight sets.  When I was making my predictions at the start of the tournament, this was the quarter-final that stumped me.  In Sydney, Li was well below her best; if she can keep the ball in the court and stay calm in the tough moments then she has a real shot at beating Aga.  Their previous matches have always been lacking in entertainment, but I think this will be their tightest one yet... I'm going for Li.

Prediction - Li to beat Radwanska in 3 sets

2. Novak Djokovic v Tomas Berdych
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic came through a 4th round match of epic proportions as he fended off a quite stunning effort from Stanislas Wawrinka, to win 12-10 in the final set.  It was not Djokovic's best performance, but some of his defence throughout the match was quite magnificent.  He goes up against the hard-hitting Czech, Tomas Berdych who defeated Kevin Anderson in the 4th round, 6-3 6-2 7-6(13).  Berdych has been improving each round and is yet to lose a set throughout the tournament.  

Djokovic has completely owned his head-to-head with Berdych as he takes an 11-1 lead into this match including three wins in 2012.  This will be Berdych's best chance of an upset and to be frank, if he cannot threaten Djokovic in this one, he might as well not bother next time.  Djokovic will be tired, but we know from last year when he won two mammoth matches in three days against Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal that he will be more than ready to fight...

Prediction - Djokovic to beat Berdych in 3 sets

3. Maria Sharapova v Ekaterina Makarova
Ekaterina Makarova
This time last year I was writing about Ekaterina Makarova producing an upset win over Serena Williams in the 4th round and progressing to a quarter-final with Maria Sharapova.  Well, things have not changed that much in 2013 because Makarova and Sharapova will square off again in the quarter-finals following another upset win from Makarova as she took out the world number 5, Angelique Kerber.  The German complained of a back injury, but Makarova played a fine match to win, 7-5 6-4.  Sharapova has certainly laid down the gauntlet losing just 5 games in 4 matches, which is quite astonishing.  She tore past Kirsten Flipkens in the 4th round, 6-1 6-0.  The last time that Makarova and Sharapova played was in Miami last year and it was not pretty as Sharapova won a tight two-setter.  Makarova seems to have a bit of a mental block playing Sharapova and with the form that world number 2 has demonstrated so far, this match will be one step too far.

Prediction - Sharapova to beat Makarova in 2 sets

4. David Ferrer v Nicolas Almagro
Nicolas Almagro
An all-Spaniard affair completes the line-up for day 9 with Nicolas Almagro set to take on David Ferrer. Almagro progressed through when Janko Tipsarevic threw in the towel (again) at 6-1 5-2 down. OK so Tipsarevic had an injury, but all these withdrawals and his comments towards the equal prize money debate just do not add up.  Ferrer strolled past Kei Nishikori, who rather limply went out in a 6-2 6-1 6-4 defeat. Ferrer has surprised me this week in his ease at reaching the quarter-finals as I thought that playing the first two weeks would hinder his progress in MelbourneDespite Almagro's good form, Ferrer should have few problems based on a very lopsided head-to-head that has seen Ferrer win 12 straight matches against Almagro... it's hard to argue against anything other than a Ferrer win...

Prediction - Ferrer to beat Almagro in 3 sets

1 comment:

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