Thursday, 4 April 2013

WTA Charleston 3rd Round Predictions: Mattek-Sands/Keys and Venus/Lepchenko

Venus Williams
1. Bethanie Mattek-Sands v Madison Keys
The second quarter has a distinctively American feel to it and will definitely see one American semi-finalist.  The third round match between Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Madison Keys promises to be a lot of fun.  Mattek-Sands crushed Sloane Stephens in the second round, 6-2 6-0, which was all the more impressive because she had fought for 3 hours and 42 minutes with Anastasia Rodionova in the first Alexandra Cadantu and Grace Min.  Both players have exciting and aggressive games so there is bound to be lots of winners and many errors too.  Keys has won their only previous match in an ITF event in straight sets and I am still backing Keys to win this one despite Mattek-Sands's impressive form of late round, which was the longest WTA match of 2013 so far.  Keys has looked solid with straight set wins over

Prediction - Keys to beat Mattek-Sands in 3 sets

2. Venus Williams v Varvara Lepchenko
The winners of the match above will take on the winner of another all-American third rounder between Venus Williams and Varvara Lepchenko.  Venus overcame a tenacious, Monica Puig in the night match on Wednesday, recovering from losing the second set to prevail 6-2 5-7 6-3.  Venus now plays Lepchenko for the first time in her career; Lepchenko has come through two three setters against fellow American, Christina McHale and Mathilde Johansson.  Her season has been stop-start so far and rather derailed by injuries, but she has enough game to trouble Venus in this one.  By all accounts, Venus was serving well (with the back injury), but it will be a quick turnaround from playing at night on Wednesday to the day on Thursday.  I'm going for the Venus win, but I think it will tricky once more...

Prediction - Venus to beat Lepchenko in 3 sets

3. Sorana Cirstea v Lucie Safarova
Surprisingly, this third round match between Sorana Cirstea and Lucie Safarova has creeped onto the Billie Jean Court schedule ahead of some interesting all-American clashes.  It is bound to be close and is likely to be an unforced error horror show between two of the streakiest players on tour.  Cirstea beat Tatjana Malek in the first round and then received a walkover in round two as Anabel Medina Garrigues pulled out with a knee injury.  Safarova enjoyed her first win since Doha against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni as she finally served out the first set at the third time of asking before cruising through the second set for a 7-5 6-1 win.  A tough one to call because despite Safarova's dodgy form, these courts obviously suit her game.  I have been warming more to Cirstea this year as she looks more consistent than previous years and I think she will get a shot at Serena in the quarters.

Prediction - Cirstea to beat Safarova in 3 lopsided sets

Best of the rest: 3rd round predictions
Serena Williams to beat Mallory Burdette in 2 sets
Jelena Jankovic to beat Jessica Pegula in 2 tight sets
Sam Stosur to beat Eugenie Bouchard in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
Julia Goerges to beat Stephanie Voegele in 3 sets

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