Saturday, 5 January 2013

WTA/ATP Sydney: Preview and Predictions

The men and women both head to Sydney for the final event before the first Grand Slam of the year, which kicks off in just over a week...

WTA draw:
Angelique Kerber
It is another packed draw in Sydney although the top three have all opted out of this event, which makes it rather wide open.  Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber are the top seeds and both have byes into the second round.  Radwanska is projected to meet Nadia Petrova in the quarter-finals, who was looking super hot on the tennis court at the end of 2012 and defeated Radwanska in the Tokyo final.  Petrova has recently split with coach Ricardo Sanchez, but I think she could do very well here.

Kerber should meet the Auckland runner-up in the second round, Yanina Wickmayer and then Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals; however the Dane could play her nemesis, Julia Goerges in the second round, who has won their last three encounters.

Li Na and Sam Stosur could meet in the second of the quarter-finals although I predict both will fall early.  My reasoning behind Li is that she has played a succession of matches in Shenzhen and risking injury in Sydney would be silly.  I am still not backing Stosur based on her sluggish movement in her first round match in Brisbane against Sofia Arvidsson and the overarching struggle to deal with playing in front of her home crowd.

The final quarter-final is projected to be between Petra Kvitova and Sara Errani.  Kvitova has a tough draw, opening with Dominika Cibulkova and then potentially Ekaterina Makarova, who defeated her in Eastbourne last year.  Errani should meet Maria Kirilenko in the second round, but I think the Italian will live up to her seeding in Sydney.

1st Round Predictions:
Paszek to beat Jankovic in 3 sets, Petrova to beat Vinci in 3 sets, Zheng to beat Stosur in 2 tight sets, Kvitova to beat Cibulkova in 2 tight sets and Wozniacki to beat U.Radwanska in 2 sets 

QF Predictions:

Final Prediction - Kvitova d. Petrova
I say it every week but this was a difficult one to call.  My two favourites for the title are Kvitova and Kerber, but I have gone with the former coming through some very difficult matches along the way. Radwanska and Li are not on my radar this week having won titles in Shenzhen and Auckland this week, meanwhile Wozniacki seems more interested in spending time with her boyfriend, Rory McIlroy!

ATP draw:
John Isner
The mens draw has been hit with a number of late casualties as both Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet have pulled out and the new number one seed, John Isner has been struggling with a knee injury that forced him out of the Hopman Cup.  Isner, along with Gilles Simon, Andreas Seppi and Fernando Verdasco all have first round byes in a draw, which I believe will see the decimation of the seeds.  Isner and Radek Stepanek are projected to meet in the first quarter-final; however I am backing Julien Benneteau to come through this section, defeating both Stepanek and Isner on the way.

Fernando Verdasco and  Jeremy Chardy could meet in the second quarter-final, but I predict both will be ousted by unseeded players, Denis Istomin and Kevin Anderson respectively.  I have always felt Anderson has a solid game and he looked good at the Hopman Cup last week.  Andreas Seppi and Marcel Granollers are the top seeds in the third sectionGranollers has become much more consistent of late and I think he will make the quarter-finals, passing the challenge of Grigor Dimitrov who will have used up his energy in Brisbane.  The final quarter of the draw hosts Gilles Simon and Florian Mayer; their biggest challenge is likely to come from Bernard Tomic, who played surprsingly came alive and played some very good tennis at the Hopman Cup last week.

1st Round Predictions:
Benneteau to beat Andujar in 2 tight sets, Granollers to beat Ebden in 2 sets, Dimitrov to beat Fognini in 2 sets and Tomic to beat Matosevic in 3 sets.

QF Predictions:

Final Prediction - Simon d. Anderson
You can view my full predictions for both the ATP and WTA draws HERE

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