Monday, 21 October 2013

WTA Champs Istanbul, Day 1 Preview: Azarenka-Errani, Serena-Kerber & Radwanska-Kvitova

The WTA Champs in Istanbul get underway tomorrow afternoon and here is my preview for the first three matches of the group stages.

1. Victoria Azarenka v Sara Errani (White Group)
Victoria Azarenka
The 2013 WTA Champs will kick off with the world number 2, Victoria Azarenka up against the world number 7, Sara Errani.  The opening match at the last 2 finales in Istanbul featured one sided matches and on paper, you would expect that with this opener too.  Vika leads the head-to-head with 6 wins to 1 including victories in their last 5 matches, of which 2 took place this year in Doha (6-2 6-2) and Rome (6-0 7-5).  Going in Errani's favour is Azarenka's form during the Asian swing where she went 0-2 through Tokyo and Beijing as she was affected by illness.  Out of all eight players, most mystery surrounds Azarenka.  My thoughts? I don't think she will be at her best, but she will have enough to pass the challenge of the Italian.

Prediction - Azarenka to beat Errani in 2 sets 

2. Serena Williams v Angelique Kerber (Red Group)
Serena Williams
The red group kicks off in it's entirety on Tuesday with the overwhelming favourite for the title, Serena Williams taking on Angelique Kerber.  Serena last played in Beijing where she won the title not playing at her best.  In that tournament, she was troubled by a back injury, but there have been no indications that injury is going to be an issue at this tournament.  Kerber finished the season in her best form of 2013 with a finals appearance in Tokyo, a quarter-final showing in Beijing and a third WTA title in Linz.  She comes into this tournament with a reinvigorated confidence, which she will need to have a chance to qualify from the tougher of the two groups.  She has got a win over Serena to her name in an odd match that took place in Cincy last year.  However I think Serena will be too strong for Kerber in this one.

Prediction - Serena to beat Kerber in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

3. Agnieszka Radwanska v Petra Kvitova (Red Group)
Petra Kvitova
The best match on Tuesday's schedule and one that will be potentially pivotal top who qualifies will see Petra Kvitova take on Agnieszka Radwanska.  This was the opening match of the 2012 WTA Champs where Kvitova slumped to a straight sets loss before being forced to pull out due to illness.  This remains the only time that Aga has beaten Petra and in their last match-up, Kvitova was far too strong in a 6-2 6-4 win earlier this year in Dubai.  Radwanska was solid as ever during the Asian swing as she made quarters in Tokyo, semis in Beijing and won Seoul too.  Kvitova managed to turn her fortunes around with an excellent run that included winning the title in Tokyo and making the semi-finals of Beijing.  If she can remain fit and illness-free, then I think she is going to have a good week in her favoured environment of indoors.

Prediction - Kvitova to beat Radwanska in 2 tight sets


  1. I have trouble seeing Kvitova for the final

  2. Dont' we all have trouble finding Kvitova anywhere lol. From the 1st round to the finals and winner of Wimbledon!

  3. She's my last hope from saving us all from the doomsday comet that is Serena Williams.
    Just blast away Petra! you have nothing to lose!

  4. Not that I dislike Serena-she's actually quite good looking...but she's no.1 you know? and that makes her ugly :-(((

  5. Venus as no.1-that's something else:-))))