Sunday, 30 December 2012

Brisbane, Shenzhen, Auckland: Full steam ahead

2013 season kicks off into full gear with all 3 tournaments rolling out their schedule of plays for the first round. Plenty of action to choose from!


Sabine Lisicki V Lucie Safarova
[8] Caroline Wozniacki V Ksenia Pervak
Sofia Arvidsson V [7] Samantha Stosur
Anna Tatishvili V [4] Angelique Kerber
[5] Sara Errani V Olga Puchkova
Olivia Rogowska V Monica Puig
Alize Cornet V Bojana Bobusic
Sloane Stephens V Dominika Cibulkova


Yung-Jan Chan vs. Ayumi Morita
Anne Keothavong vs. Shuai Peng
Wing-Yau Chan vs. Marion Bartoli
Ying-Ying Duan vs. Kimiko Date-Krumm
Alexandra Cadantu vs. Bojana Jovanovski
Nina Bratchikova vs. Julia Cohen
Klara Zakoplaova v.s Andrea Hlavackova
Shahar Peer vs. Elina Svitolina
Silvia Soler-Espinosa va. Kai-Chen Chang
Timea Babos vs. Stefanie Voegele


Eugenie Bouchard vs. Elena Vesnina
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Kiki Bertens
Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Yanina Wickmayer
Jie Zheng vs. Jamie Hampton
Christina McHale vs. Pauline Parmenier
Eleni Daniilidou vs. Coco Vandeweghe
Johanna Larsson vs. Misaki Doi
Galina Voskoboeva vs. Kirsten Flipkens
Simona Halep vs. Arantxa Rus

Match focus:

Sabine Lisicki vs. Lucie Safarova

2 of WTA's most volatile players meet in this intriguing first round match. Lisicki has been on a losing streak last year but seemed recharged and ready for 2013. Her sudden loss of confidence caused her to fall out of the top 30 but she is still a dangerous opponent. Lucie Safarova on the other hand, ended her year on a high by clinching the Fed Cup for her country. She was pivotal in that win and will surely be very optimistic of her chances this year. A player struggling with confidence and a player who is brimming with it. you do the math.

Pick: Safarova in 2 sets

Olivia Rogowska vs. Monica Puig

2 relative unknowns will vie for a place in the 2nd round of this premier event. Rogowska gave the then world number 1, Dinara Safina a real fright in the 2009 US Open, where she pushed the Russian all the way, only to falter at the crucial moment. This Australian was never ever able to recapture that moment and has been languishing in the challenger events for the past few years. She will be facing a promising young player in Monica Puig. Puig was a very good junior who is transitioning into the senior tour. With already a few high caliber challenger wins, Puig is ready to make the big move into the big leagues. Will she handle the pressure of facing a home crowd favourite well? Or will Rogowska be too much for the young upstart?

Pick: Puig in 3 sets

Shahar Peer vs. Elina Svitolina

One player is very much on the way up, while the other is going no where but down. Shahar Peer enjoyed a good few years in the top 20 but is definitely winding down her career. Svitolina's rapid rise up the rankings can be seen as she captured one of the big challenger titles in Pune last year, defeating Date-Krumm in the finals. Peer's game is too focused on getting balls back and her mobility. Sadly, mobility decreases with age no matter how hard we train; and she isn't talented enough to evolve into a hard hitter. Svitolina should take this easily.

Pick: Svitolina in 2 easy sets

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Kiki Bertens

Svetlana Kuznetsova finally makes her comeback after an injury plagued season. The Russian stopped her season after the French Open to have an operation and seems to be fully recovered. However, is she match-fit? After being out from the game, it takes some time, even for champions to find their footing. Kiki Bertens will be a good test for the 2 time grand slam champion. There is no doubt that Kuznetsova will take this easily when she's in full flight. The million dollar question is, is she? I believe Svetlana still needs some matches to be really back. So I'm going with the Dutch girl.

Pic;: Bertens in 3 sets

Zheng Jie vs. Jamie Hampton

Auckland defending champion Zheng Jie is back to try to recapture her title. She opens her defense against American, Jamie Hampton. Zheng had an injury in her last tournament in Sofia but seems to have fully recovered from it. Will Zheng be feeling extra pressure since she has never defended any of her titles before? Or will she have too much game for Hampton? Jamie has a pretty good game so Zheng needs to be careful, or else the American might just cause another upset.

Pick: Zheng in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani, Elina Svitolina
Upset alert: Alize Cornet, Klara Zakopalova, Elena Vesnina

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