Sunday, 6 October 2013

WTA Linz, Osaka: Preview and Predictions

Two tournaments this week as the hunt for places at both the year-ending-championships in Istanbul and Tournament of Champions in Sofia hots up.

WTA Linz:
Angelique Kerber
This year's Linz draw has been overshadowed by a series of sensational shambles from the organisers.  The draw was completed yesterday, but earlier on Twitter they announced that Angelique Kerber, not in yesterday's draw had been given a wildcard.  In fact she has replaced Lisa-Maria Moser, the wildcard in the original draw, who rather conveniently has withdrawn for "personal reasons".  I have never seen anything like this before with the draws and Linz have well and truly screwed up.

Back to the actual draw, Sloane Stephens heads up the draw although she is now technically the number 2 seed.  She faces an extremely tricky opener against Magdalena Rybarikova, who has a 1-0 head-to-head lead.  Sloane has never excelled at these smaller events and I could definitely see an early upset.  In fact I see quite a few of the seeds falling earlier; Daniela Hantuchova takes on Karin Knapp in the first round, who has really excelled this year and she could easily beat an inconsistent Hantuchova.  Andrea Petkovic opens up against the Austrian, Yvonne Meusburger and could have some opportunities to go deep.

The second quarter features Ana Ivanovic and Dominika Cibulkova; Ivanovic takes on Yanina Wickmayer in the first round, which I think she will come through comfortably to potentially set up a second rounder with Francesca Schiavone.  Cibulkova opens against Annika Beck, who has been in poor form of late, but so has Pome.  The third quarter looks to be the weakest on paper with the out-of-form, Kirsten Flipkens and the twice-double-bagelled-in-the-last-two-months, Carla Suarez Navarro

At the bottom of the draw is the number 1 seed, Angelique Kerber (this is ridiculous!) who plays Monica Niculescu in the first round.  She should make the quarters without any issues, but I cannot see her going any further than that after an exhausting two weeks in Asia.  Sorana Cirstea has gone hit and miss again since making the final in Toronto, but she is due a good run and I think it will come in Linz.

1st Round Predictions: Rybarikova to beat Stephens in 2 tight sets, Petkovic to beat Meusburger in 3 sets, Voegele to beat Zakopalova in 3 sets, Knapp to beat Hantuchova in 3 sets, Ivanovic to beat Wickmayer in 2 sets, Schiavone to beat Pliskova in 2 sets, Beck to beat Cibulkova in 3 sets, Svitolina to beat Barthel in 2 sets, Cirstea to beat Mayr-Achleitner in 2 very tight sets and Kerber to beat Niculescu in 2 sets

Moo's Final Prediction: Ivanovic d. Cirstea

WTA Osaka:
Sam Stosur
Jelena Jankovic had been given a wildcard into Osaka, but as a result of the injury she picked up in the Beijing final, she has pulled out and Kristina Mladenovic has taken her place in the draw as the number 9 seed.  The first quarter is wide open for the likes of Madison Keys, Zheng Jie or even Zhang Shuai to make at least the quarter-finals.

Sam Stosur loves Osaka and this is her fifth consecutive year at this tournament.  She suffered an early exit at the US Open and was unfortunate to draw Lucie Safarova twice, which is a bad match-up for her.  Her first match in Osaka will be against Johanna Larsson and she is projected to meet Laura Robson in the quarter-finals.  Robson has a tough opener against home favourite, Kimiko Date-Krumm, a player who is likely to disturb her rhythm.

The in-form Canadian, Eugenie Bouchard has earnt her place as a seed following a strong Asian campaign.  She takes on Varvara Lepchenko in the first round, who has been sliding down the rankings after an inconsistent 2013.  Flavia Pennetta is also in this quarter and could face a duo of qualifiers in her first two matches.  It is interesting that five of the seeds in this draw are the hot prospects on the WTA tour.  None of them have yet to scoop a title, but there are big chances this week and Bouchard definitely leads the charge.

The final quarter features Monica Puig and Sabine Lisicki.  Puig plays defending champion, Heather Watson in the first round.  Both have struggled in Asia, particularly Watson, who has not been able to find anywhere near her best form since a bout of glandular fever.  Heather has just been coming up short in matches and needs a slice of luck along the way.  I think she certainly has a shot against Puig in round one.  Lisicki takes on Chanelle Scheepers in the first round, who she eased past in the first round of Beijing.  She will be wary of potentially meeting Polona Hercog in the second round, who has a 8-3 W-L record since the US Open

1st Round Predictions: Wozniak to beat Mladenovic in 3 sets, Zhang to beat Medina Garrigues in 2 sets, Stosur to beat Larsson in 2 tight sets, Doi to beat Soler-Espinosa in 2 sets, Date-Krumm to beat Robson in 3 sets, Bouchard to beat Lepchenko in 2 tight sets, Watson to beat Puig in 3 sets, Hercog to beat Cetkovska in 2 tight sets and Lisicki to beat Scheepers in 2 sets

Moo's Final Prediction: Bouchard d. Stosur

1 comment:

  1. hello, i am betfair full-time trader since 4 years and since short time i started to trade for customers with a ROI of 35% per month on average. If you are interested to join me or share trading views dont hesitate add me in msn or mail me in that adress. good luck