Saturday, 29 September 2012

Tokyo final: Petrova upsets

Tokyo final:

Nadia Petrova def. Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0 1-6 6-3

Nadia Petrova played lights out tennis and takes out defending champion, Agnieszka Radwanska in 3 sets to clinch her first Premier 5 title. Nadia was untouchable in the first set as she served well and dictated points. However, it was Radwanska's turn to dominate the 2nd set as she moved Nadia around in this topsy turvy match. Finally, Radwanska wilted under the pressure, serving 2 double faults at 3-4 to give the crucial break to Petrova where the Russian closed it out with a powerful dri ve volley. This is Nadia's 12th career title and possibly her biggest one yet under the tour's new format of classifying tournaments. Shows that the veterans still can take out the young guns on their day. Will Nadia continue her impressive form in Beijing and make a late surge for YEC? We will see!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Tokyo day 6: Radwanska impresses

I have to apologize firstly for not updating this blog in a while! I'm down with a flu and had been feeling miserable for the past few days... Anyway, tennis continues in Tokyo:

Agnieszka Radwanska def. Angelique Kerver 6-1 6-1

When Radwanska is playing this well, it is a marvel to watch. Her winner to error ratio is 20-4; pretty damn impressive. Kerber didn't play a bad match, but was just outplayed by Radwanska's brilliance. Radwanska's looking to peak after her US Open series slump where she obviously overplayed. She is just one match away from defending her title and looks good to do so as she faces Nadia Petrova. Before the start of this tournament, I would have said Agnieszka might suffer an early exit. But judging by her performances here, it looks like Radwanska is back.

Nadia Petrova def. Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-2

Samantha follows up her impressive win over Sharapova with an... absolute horror performance against Nadia Petrova. It seems like she is suffering from an abdominal injury but this match was unbearable. Nadia barely made half of her first serves but Stosur couldn't even conjure a break point. What was shocking was that Stosur was hitting errors like nobody's business. Her forehand was puke-inducing, mishitting or shanking it. Maybe it was due to the injury but it's just a torture to watch. Nadia will face Agnieszka in the finals and they haven't played since 2008. Should be an interesting match.

Tokyo final:

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Nadia Petrova

Nadia Petrova is in the final of a Premier event. Who would have expected that in the beginning of the week in a tournament where 9 out of the top 10 players are playing. As it turns out, the top players are still suffering from a lull after the US Open and crashed out unexpectedly. Kudos to Nadia Petrova for hanging on despite tough times in the last few years and mediocre results. She will face last year's titleist, Agnieszka Radwanska in the final. Agnieszka was jaw-dropping good against Kerber yesterday and if she continues that form, Nadia would be lucky to get a few games. Radwanska's game will move Nadia around like a rag doll and Petrova's movement isn't something to shout about. Nadia needs to serve well and almost give no errors to Radwanska; as the Polish girl isn't going to give her much. Tough task for the aging Russian.

Pick: Radwanska in 2 sets

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tokyo day 4: Sharapova's suspect form

Sara Errani vs. Marion Bartoli
Samantha Stosur vs. Dominika Cibulkova
Lucie Safarova vs. Maria Sharapova
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Li Na
Victoria Azarenka vs. Roberta Vinci
Nadia Petrova vs. Petra Martic
Urszula Radwanska vs. Angelique Kerber
Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Jamie Hampton

Sara Errani vs. Marion Bartoli

Sara Errani is almost assured of a place in the YEC with strong performances in the Slams this year. However, Marion's participation in YEC is very dependent on her performances in the last few tournaments; so I expect Bartoli to go all out against the Italian. Sara can be described as the weak link in the top 10, making the term "win over a top 10 player" seem minute. Out of the current top 10, only Kerber seems to be troubled by her. The rest of the girls just demolishes her. Can Marion do the same as the other top girls? I believe so.

Pick: Bartoli in 2 sets

Lucie Safarova vs. Maria Sharapova

After her shit-tastic performance against Watson, you have to give Lucie Safarova a chance of beating Sharapova. With her trusty groundstrokes misfiring and her wobbly serve, even Maria's fighting spirit couldn't save her sometimes. However, Lucie Safarova is a well-known mental midget and will probably try ridiculous shots when all she needs to do is hit the ball over. I expect a struggle, but Sharapova will still come through in the end.

Pick: Sharapova in 3 sets

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Li Na

Oh Carol! I thought she was on the way back to the top but her struggle against journeywoman, Bojana Jovanovski proved otherwise. Despite winning the first set easily, she went off the charts and missed tons of forehands, making things extremely difficult for herself in the last 2 sets. Li Na will not be as merciful as Jovanovski and will almost be certain to pound that forehand to submission. The only way that Li is losing this is if war between Japan and China breaks out.

Pick: Li in 2 sets
Sure win bets: Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka, Samantha Stosur
Upset alert: Sara Errani

Tokyo day 3: Kvitova fails

Singles - Second Round
(1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Tamira Paszek (AUT) 61 61
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (Q) Heather Watson (GBR) 67(7) 63 64
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 62 75
Petra Martic (CRO) d. (4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 64 64
(5) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (WC) Ayumi Morita (JPN) 63 64
(6) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (Q) Johanna Larsson (SWE) 63 76(1)
(7) Li Na (CHN) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 75 46 62
(8) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 46 62 75
(9) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 62 75
(10) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 76(3) 61
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. (11) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 36 64 62
(12) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Zheng Jie (CHN) 60 63
(14) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (Q) Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 63 61
(Q) Jamie Hampton (USA) d. (15) Kaia Kanepi (EST) 57 62 63
(16) Lucie Safarova (RUS) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) w/o (left wrist injury)
(17) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. Simona Halep (ROU) 76(4) 60

Petra Martic (CRO) d. (4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 64 64

Oh dear Kvitova... No words to describe the disappointment here. Martic has barely won anything since the French Open and yet Kvitova manages to lose to her. This season is truly one to forget for the Czech left-hander. Initially thought to be the next dominant force, she crumbled spectacularly under the pressure, having freak losses when she is not supposed to. No idea where Petra should go from here. Maybe she needs a new coach, a fresh approach to the game. If not, she will be the great player which almost became successful.

Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. (11) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 36 64 62

Ai yai yai... What a terrible loss for Ana Ivanovic. Urzsula Radwanska has no discernible weapons to hurt Ana, but she manages to lose to her anyway. Just an absolute disaster for the Serbian. Just when you thought she is going to build her confidence from her first quarter-final showing in 4 years, she loses these kind of matches. I guess Ivanovic's days as a top 10 player are long gone and she will never reach the top 10 again. 

 (2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (Q) Heather Watson (GBR) 67(7) 63 64

There's something about Heather Watson that Sharapova doesn't like. The two times they played, Sharapova has been stretched to 3 close sets both times. One just needs to look at the statistics to see the whole picture: Sharapova sucked. How she won despite committing 70 plus unforced errors is beyond me. I guess the fight got her through. If only Watson had a distinctive weapon, Sharapova may be packing her bags now. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

10000 views! WOW!

Just want to say a big thank you to those who have visited this blog.
I have hit 10000 views since setting up in May. I hope all of you enjoyed my very biased views and continue supporting me. And to the lurkers, I invite you to follow me so that you can get updates when I post my updates! THANK YOU! :D

Tokyo day 2: Jam packed day

Schedule of play:

Ana Ivanovic (11) vs Andrea Hlavackova (LL)
Kurumi Nara (Q)vs Urszula Radwanska
Marion Bartoli (9) vs Kimiko Date-Krumm (WC)
Caroline Wozniacki (10) vs Bojana Jovanovski (Q)
Ekaterina Makarova vs Daniela Hantuchova
Nadia Petrova (17) vs Shuai Peng
Yaroslava Shvedova vs Francesca Schiavone
Julia Goerges vs Monica Niculescu
Lucie Safarova (16) vs Tsvetana Pironkova
Romina Oprandi vs Johanna Larsson (Q)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Chanelle Scheepers
Sabine Lisicki vs Heather Watson (Q)
Su-Wei Hsieh vs Klara Zakopalova
Alize Cornet vs Pauline Parmentier (Q)
Tamira Paszek vs Camila Giorgi (Q)
Jie Zheng vs Vania King
Caroline Garcia (WC) vs Jamie Hampton (Q)
Simona Halep vs Carla Suarez Navarro
Silvia Soler-Espinosa (Q) vs Kaia Kanepi (15)

Marion Bartoli (9) vs Kimiko Date-Krumm (WC)

Kimiko Date-Krumm will be the sentimental favourite here but it will be tough to bet against Marion Bartoli. The only way of Kimiko winning is that Marion is still bothered by her illness from last week. Kimiko's year has been frankly abysmal and I really do not think she will be happy dwelling in challengers. If she struggles for wins, I believe it is time to call it a day.

Pick: Bartoli in 2 sets

Yaroslava Shvedova vs Francesca Schiavone 

Yaroslava is on the rise and she meets someone who's on the decline. Francesca has been struggling with form throughout the year and I really don't see how she is able to stop Shvedova. Francesca hasn't won a match since Olympics, so her confidence wouldn't be too high now. It is almost safe to say that if Francesca continues her slump, she will be hanging up her racket at the end of the year as she is already 32 years old. Her game is very scrappy and if you lose your speed, you cannot compete at the highest level.

Pick: Shvedova in 2 sets

Julia Goerges vs Monica Niculescu

Wow... Julia Goerges actually has a chance to win this match. Niculescu has been 3-13 since Doha and doesn't look ready to stop that streak. Her wins were against lowly ranked Sania Mirza and Valerie Savinkyh. If Julia doesn't hit everything out, she might have a chance. However, it is almost certain that Goerges will make life difficult for herself. So I do expect a struggle here.

Pick: Goerges in 3 sets

Sabine Lisicki vs Heather Watson (Q)

Sabine Lisicki had a mixed bag of results this year. Her grass season went from losing to Urzsula Radwanska to beating Maria Sharapova. Looks like consistency is not this girl's strong point. She faces Heather Watson, who isn't that overpowering, but will bring back enough balls to trouble her. Sabine needs to keep calm and not rush for winners all the time. When she rushes, she will commit the ugliest errors ever seen in professional tennis. Her confidence is quite low now so I expect Watson to have a chance here.

Pick: Watson in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep
Upset alert: Sabine Lisicki, Tamira Paszek

Seoul: Caroline captures first title of the year

Seoul final:

Caroline Wozniacki def. Kaia Kanepi 6-1 6-0

Caroline clinches her first title of 2012 in spectacular style, demolishing Kaia Kanepi completely, allowing her only one game. Well, Kaia should be happy with her performance as this is only her first tournament since a long injury layoff. However, Wozniacki was impressive in this final, going for her shots and being aggressive throughout the match. Nice to see that despite all the criticisms, she is able to brush them aside and continue to improve herself. That's what I like to see from a player, the hunger to improve. Caroline will almost be confirmed for the lower tier YEC in Sofia with this win; although she might sweep Tokyo and Beijing to get a late surge for the real YEC. Let's hope she will build her confidence and start to play well again.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Seoul final: Can Kanepi stop Caroline?

Seoul final:

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Kaia Kanepi

These 2 players always have close encounters when they play each other and I don't expect anything different. Wozniacki leads the heads-to-heads 3-2 but Kaia won their last match in Paris. I believe Caroline is much more tougher to play now than Paris as she's regaining her confidence back. Back in Paris, she was weighted down by the expectations and her freak losses. With the wins these week, it's safe to say Caroline is back. Kanepi will give her a good fight but I believe she needs a couple of matches more to regain the match toughness.

Pick: Wozniacki in 3 sets

Guangzhou & Seoul: Hsieh stops the Robson express

Guangzhou final:

Hsieh Su-Wei def. Laura Robson 6-3 5-7 6-4

Just when you thought Laura Robson has gotten the advantage after saving 5 match points and leading 3-0 in the third set, she collapses in spectacular fashion to hand Hsieh Su-Wei her 2nd title of the year. Experience still matters when it comes to the finals and Su-Wei did very well to hang in there. Laura wasn't ready for the win and committed too many errors in the end. Hsieh started the year well outside the top hundred and will be edging towards the top 40 with this win. Who would have expected this rise. This quirky player is a rare sight in WTA and it's always nice to see an Asian do well in this westernized sport. Congrats Hsieh!

Seoul SF:

Caroline Wozniacki def. Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 5-7 6-4

Well, Ekaterina did win her first ever set off Caroline but it was not enough. Ekaterina exposed Caroline's vulnerability on her forehand side in the second set but somehow forgotten about that in the 3rd set. Makarova needs to be more confident of her game because she faltered at the crucial game of the third set, serving at 4-all. She tried to play it safe but Caroline took the initiative and broke. If only she continued her aggressive ways which won her the 2nd set. Caroline will face Kaia Kanepi who beat her in Paris this year. She will be hungry for revenge I'm sure.

Kaia Kanepi def. Varvara Lepchenko 6-4 2-6 6-4

Despite this being her first tournament back after a long layoff, Kaia Kanepi has been winning close sets like she had never left. She escaped the tricky American when Varvara played badly in that one crucial game. Lepchenko shouldn't be too disappointed though. If she keeps this level up, she will reach her first WTA final eventually. Kanepi will like her chances against Caroline Wozniacki as she beat her the last time in Paris; even though she choked badly in the 2nd set.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Guangzhou and Seoul: Does Hsieh have a chance?

Guangzhou final:

Laura Robson vs. Hsieh Su-Wei

Hsieh Su-Wei will attempt to stop Laura's climb to the top in this final. Su-Wei is no pushover, having won all her matches with relative ease. She needs to mix things up with her funky slices and hit a winner out of nowhere. Hopefully this will unsettle Robson and not give her any rhythm. Su-Wei has already won an International title earlier this year in Kuala Lumpur, so she is the more experienced one. Laura needs to stay calm and serve well to win this. Let's hope she will not be too nervous in her first WTA final.

Pick: Robson in 2 sets

Seoul SF:

Caroline Wozniacki vs Ekaterina Makarova

Wozniacki will take on another big hitter in her semi-finals and judging by the way she's been handling them, I feel that she will take this one easily. Makarova hits a good ball, but her movement isn't top notch. Wozniacki will definitely exploit that and make Makarova hit that one more ball. I think Caroline is poised to reach her first WTA final of the year since Copenhagen. (Has it been that long!?) On a side note, doesn't Makarova look like Steffi Graf in the photo? If only she can channel her inner Graf into this match. :p

Pick: Wozniacki in 2 sets

Kaia Kanepi vs Varvara Lepchenko

Kaia Kanepi is one of the unluckiest players on tour. Just when you thought she is ready to make the next move towards the top 10, she justs a freak injury. This season is a jumbled mess for the Estonian. She started the year tremendously but had a freak loss in Melbourne. And then she gets injured during Indian Wells/Miami, only to do well during the French Open. After Paris, she injures herself again and is forced to miss Wimbledon, Olympics and US Open. Despite all these, she is still ranked a respectable 16. If she stayed healthy, I'm pretty sure she would be at least closing in on the top 10. If Kanepi's year resembles a sine curve, Varvara's one would be like a ln curve. Ranked outside the top 100 at the start, she is now touching the top 20 and has been posting consistent results for the past few months. Who will have the edge here? I believe Kaia's game is better and the only thing against her is her match toughness. Varvara needs to unsettle her and make Kaia panic to win this match.

Pick: Kanepi in 3 sets

Guangzhou & Seoul: Laura's continuous rise


Laura Robson def. Sorana Cirstea 6-4 6-2
Hsieh Su-Wei def. Urszula Radwanska 6-1 3-6 6-0


Caroline Wozniacki def. Klara Zakopalova 6-2 6-3
Ekaterina Makarova def. 6-1 6-1
Kaia Kanepi def. Kiki Bertens 6-4 6-4
Varvara Lepchenko def. Tamira Pazsek 4-6 7-6(3) 6-4

Laura Robson def. Sorana Cirstea 6-4 6-2

Laura continues her meteoric rise up the rankings by advancing to her first WTA final. She led comfortably in both sets at 5-1 but didn't serve both sets out. Nevertheless, she got the job done and the better player won. Cirstea as usual is her brainless self, so not surprise here. When Sorana faces someone who can keep up the pace with her, she goes for more pace, which results in hideous errors which a club player is mostly to commit. Robson will have a great chance to clinch her first title tomorrow against Hsieh.

Hsieh Su-Wei def. Urzsula Radwanska 6-1 3-6 6-0

With the exception of the second set, Hsieh was untouchable in the match. She was just ripping winners easily from both sides and creating wicked angles on court. Why can't the Taiwanese play like this throughout her career? The lesser Radwanska adds more points to her tally but I really don't think she deserves to be there. Smart scheduling and the luck of the draw gave her the advantage. However, players like Hsieh are languishing in the bottom 50. I wonder which tournament will the lesser Radwanska vulture next.

Varvara Lepchenko def. Tamira Pazsek 4-6 7-6(3) 6-4

Given that this is not grass, I feel that Tamira has already given a very good account of herself here. Lepchenko is going to enter the top 20 unless Makarova does better than her in this tournament. Nice to see her getting her career high ranking after so many years of hard work. It would have been an easier match if Lepchenko converted more of her break points. Anyway, Lepchenko will face Kaia Kanepi next for her first final on the main tour. Can she continue her march towards top 20?

Caroline Wozniacki def. Klara Zakopalova 6-2 6-3

More signs that Caroline Wozniacki is back; she takes out ball basher Klara Zakopalova out easily. She could have closed it out at 5-1 but eventually got the job done. Klara was her normal non-chalant and sulky self, so no surprise she couldn't find it in her to beat Caroline even though she had the game. Caroline's statistics looks good and I do think this is her title to lose. She will face Makarova next who she has never lost to before. Looks like another easy day out for Wozniacki

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Guangzhou & Seoul: Wozniacki's title to lose


Caroline Wozniacki vs. Klara Zakopalova
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez vs. Ekaterina Makarova
Kiki Bertens vs. Kaia Kanepi
Varvara Lepchenko vs. Tamira Pazsek


Urzsula Radwanska vs. Hsieh Su-Wei
Laura Robson vs. Sorana Cirstea

Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez vs. Ekaterina Makarova

2 lefties meet in the quarter-finals of Seoul. Maria Jose was given a free pass as Nadia Petrova withdrew from her 2nd round match with a back injury. Another case of showing up for appearance fees? Anyway, I'm sure Martinez Sanchez will take any win as her season so far has been lacklustre. Ekaterina is quietly making her way through the draw and might be a dark horse for the title. She should have enough firepower to hit Maria Jose off the court.

Pick: Makarova in 2 sets

Kiki Bertens vs. Kaia Kanepi

Kiki Bertens fought hard for her win over Silvia Espinosa Soler and I doubt she has anything left in her tank to beat Kaia Kanepi. Kaia has not shown any signs of rust despite being out of the tour since Roland Garros. She should have an easy time moving Kiki around with her flat groundstrokes. Given how the bottom half of the draw has collapsed, I expect nothing less than a final from Kanepi.

Pick: Kanepi in 2 sets

Urzsula Radwanska vs. Hsieh Su-Wei

Urzsula Radwanska's clever schedule has given her some easy ranking points and she is taking full advantage of it. Obviously the less talented sister, Urzsula is slowly craving a name for herself in the lower tier events, having reach the finals of Ordina Open earlier. She faces the extremely tricky player in Hsieh. Su-Wei disrupts your rhythm like no other player and has already served bagels to her last 2 opponents. Su-Wei will only lose to players who can hit her off the court which Urzsula sadly cannot do.

Pick: Hsieh in 2 sets

Laura Robson vs. Sorana Cirstea

The winner of this match will almost definitely clinch the title. Laura might not have time to recover from that energy-sapping match with Peng in her previous round. Thus, it might very well be an easy victory for Sorana. Laura needs to employ her tricky lefty serve and make Sorana think. If Laura defends her service games well, she will definitely win this match.

Pick: Robson in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Caroline Wozniacki, Kaia Kanepi
Upset alert: Sorana Cirstea, Urzsula Radwanska

Guangzhou and Seoul: Great wall of Denmark


Singles - Second Round
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (Q) Caroline Garcia (FRA) 62 63
María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d. (4) Nadia Petrova (RUS) w/o (low back injury)
(6) Varvara Lepchenko (USA) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 64 61
(7) Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 61 76(6)
(8) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (Q) Jamie Hampton (USA) 63 75
Tamira Paszek (AUT) d. (WC) Lee So-Ra (KOR) 62 60


Singles - Quarterfinals
(3) Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (8) Alizé Cornet (FRA) 64 63
(4) Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. (5) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 61 75
Laura Robson (GBR) d. (7) Peng Shuai (CHN) 75 57 62
Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) d. Mathilde Johansson (FRA) 63 60

(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (Q) Caroline Garcia (FRA) 62 63

Caroline continues her resurgence by brushing aside Garcia in straightforward fashion. Against someone as consistent as Wozniacki, Garcia didn't have the patience to wait for the appropriate time to go for the winner and ended up hitting herself out of the match. What's heartening to see is that Wozniacki is being aggressive on Garcia's second delivery, so the Dane is finally finding a nice middle ground to be consistent and aggressive at the same time. She will be tough to stop in Korea.

(6) Varvara Lepchenko (USA) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 64 61

Lepchenko continues her assault towards the top 20 with a convincing win over a respectable opponent. Anabel is not an easy opponent to put away as she is very scrappy and consistent. Varvara's journey in tennis is an inspiration to many, so it's good to see her do well. She will face Tamira Pazsek which is a very winnable match. It's almost certain that Lepchenko will end the year in the top 20 by the way she's playing; so I expect her to do well and maybe sneak out with a title here.

(3) Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (8) Alizé Cornet (FRA) 64 63

Well well, how wrong was I to predict that Alize will trouble Sorana. Seems like Cirstea had one of her days where everything is clicking. Besides that, Alize was having trouble with her service games, hence the easy scoreline. Does Sorana have the game to win the title? Definitely. But does she have the mental capability and discipline to do it? Unlikely. I see Robson beating her in the next round and eventually clinch the title.

Laura Robson (GBR) d. (7) Peng Shuai (CHN) 75 57 62

Laura Robson took 3 hours to defeat Peng Shuai in a roller coaster match. Robson led 5-1 in the first set and lost multiple set points before winning it 7-5. However, Peng fought like her life depended on this match and levelled the match at one set all. This is where Laura is most impressive. A player without the experience would have crumbled after losing such a tight second set but Robson didn't. She won the 3rd set handily (despite it being quite close) to oust another Chinese player. Let's hope she has enough reserves for her quarter-final match tomorrow because she is to me, the big favourite to win the title.