Thursday, 3 January 2013

WTA Brisbane Semi-Final Predictions: Vika, Serena to clash

Serena Williams
Brisbane has seen quite a few shocks this week with Maria Sharapova pulling out with injury and five of the eight seeds falling before the quarter-finals.  The first semi-final between Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lesia Tsurenko was certainly not on the cards when the ultra-strong draw was released last Saturday; however the second semi-final will no doubt whet the appetites of tennis fans as arguably the most intriguing of the current WTA head-to-heads will pit an early 2013 showdown between Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams.

Victoria Azarenka v Serena Williams
The only two seeds remaining will do battle in Brisbane and no doubt, the winner will be the favourite to win their first title in 2013.  Victoria Azarenka has looked sharp so far and made short work of a tiring Ksenia Pervak with a 6-1 6-0 thrashing.  Serena Williams had her toughest match yet, but still progressed past Sloane Stephens, 6-4 6-3 in a stirring contest.  Stephens has certainly laid down the gauntlet early in 2013 and I think she will continue to build her game throughout the remainder of the year.  Serena leads the head-to-head 11-1, but Azarenka has been getting closer and just pulled up short in the US Open Final last year.

Every time they play, I tip Azarenka and look foolish.  Once again I'm going for foolish route, but my reckoning... it's a new year, its time for Vika to snap the losing streak! Azarenka needs a win against Serena, whatever level, Grand Slam or here in Brisbane.  Whoever does in fact win, will have a significant edge going into the Australian Open for sure.  I am expecting a tense and scrappy affair, but I am going for Vika to nick it in a very tight two setter...

Prediction - Azarenka to beat Serena in 2 tight sets

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Lesia Tsurenko
The most unlikely of Premier semi-finals will see Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova take on the luckiest lucky loser, Lesia Tsurenko.  Pavlyuchenkova continued her terrific 2013 form with a 7-6(3), 7-6(3) victory over Angelique Kerber.  Tsurenko, who took Maria Sharapova's place in the draw, was rather handed a place in the semi-finals following a very disappointing performance by Daniela Hantuchova.  I am still wary that Pavlyuchenkova could throw a spanner in the works with one of her trademark shockers, but its hard to see her not making the final...

Prediction - Pavlyuchenkova to beat Tsurenko in 2 tight sets

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