Sunday, 16 June 2013

ATP / WTA Eastbourne: Preview and Predictions

Eastbourne and s'Hertogenbosch headline the final week of grass court preparations before the biggest slam of the year.  This week I will be focussing all my attention on Eastbourne.  Let's take a look at the draws...

WTA Eastbourne
Aga Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska headlines another strong line-up of players heading to the windy seaside venue of Eastbourne.  Six of the world's top ten are here with just Williams, Azarenka, Sharapova and Errani choosing to go into Wimby without any matches.  Aga will open up her tournament against a qualifier and is projected to meet Nadia Petrova in the quarter-finals.  Petrova faces a stern opener against Sam Stosur; the Aussie is well known for her poor performances on the grass, but she has always done well at Eastbourne reaching the semi-final on three occasions (most recently in 2011).  I would still back Petrova to come through and then face the winner of a first rounder between Klara Zakopalova and Lucie Safarova.

Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki are the top seeds in the second quarter.  Wozniacki faces defending champion, Tamira Paszek in the stand-out of the first rounders.  Perhaps it feels such a big deal to me because their last match at Wimbledon last year was my favourite womens match of 2012.  Both are not in good form right now, but Paszek has a special affinity with the place and I would actually back her for this one despite her recent struggles  Kerber faces Sorana Cirstea first up and could meet the Queen of Eastbourne, Ekaterina Makarova in round two, who won the title in 2010 and has frequently posted excellent results at this tournament.  Laura Robson is also in this section and plays a qualifier first round before potentially meeting Woz / Paszek in the 2nd round.

Petra Kvitova will be looking to change her recent fortunes and she could well do here because she is a perfect match for the grass.  She takes on the tricky, Monica Niculescu and is seeded to meet Maria Kirilenko in the quarters.  Ana Ivanovic and Li Na round out the fourth section, which could see an intriguing quarter if both make it as they have only ever played once on the WTA tour.  Li faces Alize Cornet in round one, who is unlikely to be much of a challenge on grass, meanwhile Ivanovic should be tested more by Elena VesninaHeather Watson opens up against Varvara Lepchenko with the winner potentially meeting Ivanovic in the second round.  Marion Bartoli, who has always done well in Eastbourne and on the grass plays Flavia Pennetta first up and could be a match for Li in round two.

1st Round Predictions:
Safarova to beat Zakopalova in 2 sets
Petrova to beat Stosur in 3 sets
Kerber to beat Cirstea in 2 tight sets
Paszek to beat Wozniacki in 3 sets
Kirilenko to beat Jovanovski in 3 sets
McHale to beat Wickmayer in 2 tight sets
Kvitova to beat Niculescu in 2 tight sets
Ivanovic to beat Vesnina in 2 sets
Lepchenko to beat Watson in 3 sets
Bartoli to beat Pennetta in 3 sets
Li to beat Cornet in 2 sets

Final Prediction - Petra Kvitova d. Angelique Kerber
Every time I write a preview I seem to write that its a tough one to predict, but this one really is! I'm going slightly left field and going for Kvitova, who loves the grass.  I know her form has been incredibly irratic this year, but she has a pretty good draw to start with and coming back to the grass, which is her best surface, will give her the chance to zone.

ATP Eastbourne
Milos Raonic
The ATP line-up features no big names, but a draw that offers a lot of depth with the world number 53, Bernard Tomic the last player in the draw.  Milos Raonic received a late wildcard, a fantastic move in my opinion because he has always offered up potential on this surface, but never delivered.  The Eastbourne draw gives him the chance to get some valuable matches under his belt and he will play Denis Istomin or Ivan Dodig in round two.

Juan Monaco and Alexandr Dolgopolov are the two seeds in the second section of the draw.  Dolgopolov faces an interesting opener against Fernando Verdasco.  Monaco, who has never been known as a grass courter, will struggle to get past the winner of another tight first round tie between Feliciano Lopez and Jarkko Nieminen.

Philipp Kohlschreiber headlines the third quarter of the draw and will take on Radek Stepanek or Marinko Matosevic in the second round after a first round bye.  I think Kohlschreiber has a good chance of doing well this week if his heart is fully in it.  His quarter-final opponent is projected to be Andreas Seppi, who has won this tournament before, but been struggling for form in 2013.

Gilles Simon bookends the draw and could play the young Brit, Kyle Edmund in the second round or a qualifier.  The most interesting mini-section features the best first round matches; Kevin Anderson takes on Julien Benneteau and the winner will play the victor of Bernard Tomic and James Ward.  Anderson and Benneteau are both good shots on the grass; I think Anderson will come through both Benneteau and Simon, but I do not fancy him winning this week.

1st Round Predictions:
Ivan Dodig to beat Denis Istomin in 3 sets
Grega Zemlja to beat Fabio Fognini in 3 sets
Feliciano Lopez to beat Jarkko Nieminen in 3 sets
Fernando Verdasco to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in 2 tight sets
Radek Stepanek to beat Marinko Matosevic in 2 sets
Kevin Anderson to beat Julien Benneteau in 2 tight sets
James Ward to beat Bernard Tomic in 3 sets

Final Prediction: Philipp Kohlschreiber d. Milos Raonic
Just to let you know that there will not be any more blogs until Wednesday as I am heading down to Eastbourne for Monday and Tuesday.  I will be on Twitter though so for live updates you can follow my Twitter updates on my blog page or give me a follow @MooTennisBlog.  Come on Great British weather, be kind to Moo :-)

You can view my full predictions for Eastbourne HERE.

1 comment:

  1. thanks moo for your predictions. helping me decide on my bets