Sunday, 20 October 2013

WTA Year Ending Championships, Istanbul: Preview and Early Predictions

The top eight women this year are in Istanbul with action set to kick off on Tuesday.  I managed to waste an hour of my life watching the draw ceremony with about 45 minutes of speeches and bringing the players on and then 1 minute for the draw! I aim to write daily previews for the three matches each day, but here are a few thoughts before the tournament starts on what I think might happen.

RED GROUP: S.Williams, A.Radwanska, P.Kvitova and A.Kerber
Serena Williams
Followers of my Twitter account will know I am eager as a beaver to see Petra Kvitova take on Victoria Azarenka so I was somewhat disappointed to see Kvitova fall in the red group.  I then realised we will get a match between Serena and Petra indoors, which ain't so bad.  The red group is by far the more treacherous of the two and I think will see qualification go down to the wire.  Serena should qualify comfortably with wins over Radwanska and Kerber, and I am reserving judgement on her match against Kvitova until we know what day it is.  I would have to favour that an in-form Kvitova would qualify too as she comfortably owns Radwanska on her day.  Kvitova-Kerber is always an interesting match and their matches have always gone to three sets so that could be the most competitive of the lot from the red group.

Moo's Prediction: 1. Serena and 2. Kvitova

WHITE GROUP: V.Azarenka, L.Na, S.Errani and  J.Jankovic
The white group looks considerably more straightforward for the top two seeds, Victoria Azarenka and Li Na and in fact it is the match-up between those two that will be the one to watch.  I strongly feel that Li would have won the Australian Open had it not been for her two injuries she picked up on that day in January so a first match since that dramatic final will be fascinating.  Respect to Errani for making it to the YEC once more, but she will have a tough job with losing head-to-heads against all three opponents in this group.  Jankovic will need a win against Li or Azarenka and I just cannot see it happening.  She will have to hope Azarenka is still in an Asian slumber to nick an unlikely place in the semi-finals.

Moo's Prediction: 1. Li and 2. Azarenka

Based on recent form and because this tournament is indoors, I am expecting a Serena-Petra final with Serena prevailing.  There are certainly question marks about Azarenka's form right now so I do not feel confident picking her to go all the way.  I hope we get to see another Serena-Vika match (and Vika-Petra of course!) but not if Azarenka is sub-par because it will be a walk in the park for Serena.

I will be working nights next week so it could be interesting.  It may be late, but I will try and get something up before the first match of each day.

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