Sunday, 24 March 2013

Miami 3rd Round Predictions: Grand Slam Champs, Kuznetsova and Ivanovic to clash

1. Svetlana Kuznetsova v Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic
The highlight of Sunday's schedule will see two former Roland Garros champions go head-to-head in what promises to be an intriguing third round match.  Svetlana Kuznetsova took out the number 18 seed Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4 6-4 in round two to follow up a solid opener against Lourdes Dominguez Lino; with so many points on offer this week, it has already been a good week for Kuznetsova who is languishing at 45 in the rankings.  Ana Ivanovic could easily have been troubled by Urszula Radwanska, but made no fuss in getting past the Pole with a 6-2 6-1 victory.  

Kuznetsova and Ivanovic have played each other on many occasions and it is Ivanovic who leads the head-to-head by 7 wins to 3, which includes a straight sets win in their most recent match-up from Rome last year.  Kuznetsova is playing with much more confidence and vigour these days, but I am going to go for Ivanovic to prevail in a tight three setter.

Prediction - Ivanovic to beat Kuznetsova in 3 sets

2. Jelena Jankovic v Nadia Petrova
The two Serbian stars of womens tennis both have tough Russians to deal with on Sunday as Jelena Jankovic takes on Nadia Petrova.  JJ won her first match at the Sony Open with a 6-3 7-5 win over American wildcard, Victoria Duval as she recovered from a break deficit in the second set to triumph.  Petrova has recovered well from an early season slump and was no match for Zheng Jie, 6-3 6-1 as she recorded her 10th consecutive victory over the Chinese player if you exclude retirement wins.  Petrova though has struggled with Jankovic in the past and has lost their last their four matches; what does go in her favour is that they have not played since 2008 and Jankovic is a shadow of the player who reached the number one spot in the same year.  There are massive opportunities in this fourth quarter of the womens draw and if Petrova keeps her head in check, its hers for the taking...

Prediction - Petrova to beat Jankovic in 2 tight sets

3. Angelique Kerber v Sorana Cirstea
Sorana Cirstea
Angelique Kerber defeated Francesca Schiavone in her opening match, 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2.  Kerber had three set points in that opening set before losing on the tiebreak, but she eventually found her way past the slumping Italian.  Kerber now takes on hard-hitter, Sorana Cirstea, who was on verge of losing to Silvia Soler-Espinosa at a set and break down, but she clicked the switch in her game to record a 2-6 7-5 6-2 comeback win.  A few seasons ago, Cirstea would have lost this match, but she is at least starting to show a little bit more consistency in her results and a way of turning around those bad days.  Cirstea came close to beating Agnieszka Radwanska in Indian Wells and Kerber will be a similar kind of opponent.  Kerber won their only previous match at the beginning of 2012 in Hobart.  I think this will be another tough one for Kerber, but she has a habit of finding a way to the win in tight three set matches...

Prediction - Kerber to beat Cirstea in 3 sets

4. Kevin Anderson v Janko Tipsarevic
As you will have noticed from the leading three matches, the mens draw is certainly taking a back seat for me this week.  The 3rd rounder that most caught my eye was that between Kevin Anderson and Janko Tipsarevic.  The Serb won his first match since the Australian Open in round two with a comfortable 6-2 6-4 victory over Dudi Sela.  Anderson has been recording some excellent results on the tour this year and he won in straight sets against the Vina del Mar champion, Horacio Zeballos.  Anderson is not the kind of player that Tipsarevic would want to meet in the draw as he attempts to rebuild his year.  Anderson beat Tipsy in their only previous match and I expect another win here...

Prediction - Anderson to beat Tipsarevic in 2 sets

Best of the rest: womens 3rd round predictions
Sara Errani to beat Simona Halep in 2 sets
Maria Kirilenko to beat Klara Zakopalova in 2 sets
Maria Sharapova to beat Elena Vesnina in 2 sets
Carla Suarez Navarro to beat Roberta Vinci in 2 tight sets
Alize Cornet to beat Lauren Davis in 3 sets

Best of the rest: mens 3rd round predictions
Novak Djokovic to beat Somdev Devvarman in 2 sets
Tommy Haas to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in 3 sets
Gilles Simon to beat Grega Zemlja in 2 sets
David Ferrer to beat Fabio Fognini in 2 sets
Kei Nishikori to beat Xavier Malisse in 3 sets
James Blake to beat Albert Ramos in 3 sets
Jurgen Melzer to beat Tobias Kamke in 2 sets

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