Monday, 30 September 2013

WTA Beijing 2nd Round Predictions: Wimbledon stars, Venus and Lisicki to clash

A cracking schedule for tomorrow, but unfortunately some great matches including Sloane-Bouchard will be on untelevised courts...

1. Venus Williams v Sabine Lisicki
Sabine Lisicki
Two players that have had their greatest successes at Wimbledon will square off in a blockbuster second round clash in Beijing.  Venus Williams had a bye in the first round after a stunning run to the semi-final in Tokyo.  Tiredness could be an issue, but the fact she made an intent to play doubles with Serena (they did lose their first round match) for the first non Grand Slam in several years, is a positive sign.  

Sabine Lisicki won her first match against Chanelle Scheepers, 6-3 6-2 after a shaky start.  The German player has struggled with momentum since Wimby because of injuries but she has been doing alright notching up wins against players she is expected to beat.  The pair are level at 1-1 in their head-to-head with Venus winning their last match in Dubai in 2010 (see video below).  This time round, it will be much close but I think if Venus is in good physical shape, then she has the beating of Sabine.

Does anyone remember this? One-sided scoreline, but a great match.

Prediction - Venus to beat Lisicki in 2 very tight sets

2. Angelique Kerber v Laura Robson
Angelique Kerber
Life on a tennis court was completely different the last time Angelique Kerber and Laura Robson played each other at Wimbledon in 2011.  This match, which Robson won 4-6 7-6(4) 6-3 for her first ever Grand Slam win and saw Kerber give one of the bitchiest handshakes you could imagine, was the turning point for the German.  It spurred Kerber into life and to take her tennis more seriously... since then she has cracked the top 10 and made 2 Grand Slam semi-finals.  

In those two years, Robson has also become a much better player, both stronger and more experienced, and she now has the potential to beat pretty much anyone on her day (with the ability to lose to ANYONE too).  Kerber is coming in as the Tokyo finalist so had a bye in the first round, meanwhile Robson overcome Klara Zakopalova in a three set opener.  This was a good, solid win following a disappointing run in Asia so far.  There's no doubt that Laura stands a chance and particularly so if Kerber sits back.  If Kerber draws on her form in Tokyo and does take a few chances, she should exact some Wimby revenge.

Prediction - Kerber to beat Robson in 3 sets

3. Sloane Stephens v Eugenie Bouchard
S. Stephens
Tokyo rematch time will see Sloane Stephens and Eugenie Bouchard square off in the second round of Beijing.  Both came through their opening matches in straight sets with Sloane defeating Aleksandra Wozniak, 6-4 6-4 and Bouchard comfortably seeing off Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-4 6-1.  Their match in Tokyo was an absolute epic, but again like this one, it will not be streamed so we can only go on what appeared on the scoreboard.  Both players saw leads wiped out and it was Sloane who first served for the match; however it was Eugenie, now ranked at world number 36 and the highest teenager, who was able to close out a 5-7 7-6 6-3 victory.  The Canadian should improve on that ranking again with 3 wins already in Beijing.  It is hard to go against the player who won last time and particularly with Bouchard in such excellent form; however with it being so close last time, if Sloane gets a chance to close, she shouldn't make the same mistake twice.

Prediction - Stephens to beat Bouchard in 3 sets

Best of the rest: WTA 2nd round Beijing predictions
Serena Williams to beat Francesca Schiavone in 2 sets
Maria Kirilenko to beat Urszula Radwanska in 2 tight sets
Caroline Wozniacki to beat Monica Niculescu in 2 sets
Roberta Vinci to beat Zhang Shuai in 3 sets
Petra Kvitova to beat Varvara Lepchenko in 2 sets
Li Na to beat Bojana Jovanovski in 2 tight sets
Carla Suarez Navarro to beat Lauren Davis in 2 sets

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