Thursday, 25 April 2013

WTA Stuttgart: Quarter-Final Predictions: Kvitova-Li, Sharapova-Ivanovic

1. Petra Kvitova v Li Na
Li Na
Last year, the quarter-finals of Stuttgart threw up one of the best days of womens tennis in 2012; this year could easily produce the same kind of magic with the headlining quarter-final of the day, a battle of Grand Slam winners between Petra Kvitova and Li Na.  For the second match in a row, Kvitova was forced into a deciding set against a German player.  She came back from a set and a break down to defeat the fast starting Julia Goerges, 2-6 7-6(4) 6-2.  Li had a far easier match as she strolled past Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-1 6-2.  The form this week would point to Li as the favourite, but I still see this as a 50/50 match.  Kvitova and Li have split their four matches and all but one have gone the distance.  I am expecting another tight match with a lot of changes in momentum, but I see Kvitova edging into the semi-finals...

Prediction - Kvitova to beat Li in 3 sets

2. Maria Sharapova v Ana Ivanovic
The good form of Ana Ivanovic continued on Thursday as she set up a showstopping quarter-final with Maria Sharapova.  Ivanovic did not have it all her way today against Nadia Petrova, but fought back well from a break down in the opening set and was the better play in the crucial moments to post a 6-4 6-3 win over the number eight seed.  Sharapova had to battle for over three hours to get past Lucie Safarova, bue she eventually came through 6-4 6-7(3) 6-3 in her first clay court outing of 2013.  

Sharapova leads the head-to-head by 5 wins to 2 with their last match taking place on the clay in Rome last year where Sharapova came back from all manner of deficits in the first set before posting a 7-6(4) 6-3 victory.  I think Ivanovic can live with Sharapova's game from the back of the court, but her mental game is what has let her down in their previous matches.  I have to go for Sharapova despite today's lacklustre performance, but she can easily step it up.  I think this will be a really entertaining and closely fought match.

Prediction - Sharapova to beat Ivanovic in 2 tight sets

Best of the rest:
Angelique Kerber to beat Yaroslava Shvedova in 2 tight sets
Sabine Lisicki to beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands in 3 sets

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