Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Pattaya and Paris day 3: Rained out in Thailand, Julia flops again

Paris results:

Roberta Vinci def. Simona Halep 6-3 6-0
Kristina Mladenovic def. Julia Goerges 7-5 5-7 7-6(4)
Yanina Wickmayer def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6(7) 4-6 6-3
Kiki Bertens def. Tamira Paszek 6-4 7-5

Pattaya: Rained out

Upset of the day:

Kristina Mladenovic def. Julia Goerges 7-5 5-7 7-6(4)

Seriously, Julia Goerges dips in form after a relatively successful Australian Open again. This girl can never play 2 good tournaments in a row. It seems like Julia is content with being a top 20-30 player as she can never win playing bad tennis. Kristina had been hyped for years and it's nice to see her finally getting her breakthrough. If she gets her head together, her huge serve and groundstrokes can propel here into the top 20.

Yanina Wickmayer def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6(7) 4-6 6-3

Pavlyuchenkova really should have won this match in straight sets. She regresses as she drifted in and out of the match, playing brilliantly in patches. Just when you thought she is back to playing good tennis after her showing in Brisbane. Yanina didn't have to do much honestly as she just watched Anastasia self-destruct. She might face Kvitova next and might cause another upset.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Pattaya and Paris day 3: Schedule not out yet!

Since the schedules are not announced yet, I shall go ahead and pick some matches and try to pick the winners.


Luksika Kumkhum vs. Maria Kirilenko

Local hope faces a tough task of facing 2nd seed, Kirilenko in her 2nd round. Kirilenko is a steady player and will be the perfect player to beat someone with such a high risk game like Luksika. Kumkhum needs to control the rallies and make very few errors to come out as the winner. Playing in her home country, Kumkhum might sneak a set, but I suspect Kirilenko will be too steady for the inexperienced teen.

Pick: Kirilenko in 2 sets


Lucie Hradecka vs. Tamira Pazsek

Paris is played on a fast indoor court and it will definitely favour the huge serve of Lucie Hradecka. Against someone who's serve is non-existent like Pazsek, I expect Lucie to cruise in this match. However, knowing how mentally frail the Czech can be, I'm sure she will make things difficult for herself.

Pick: Hradecka in 2 tight sets

Sure win bets: Sabine Lisicki, Daniela Hantuchova, Lucie Safarova
Upset alert: Petra Kvitova, Tamira Pazsek, Marina Erakovic

Pattaya and Paris Day 2: History made in Thailand

Pattaya round 1:

Anastasija Sevastova def. Misaki Doi 6-4 6-2
Maria Kirilenko def. Akgul Ammanmuradova 6-3 7-5
Sorana Cirstea def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1 6-3
Anastasia Rodionova def. Vania King 6-4 6-4
Sabine Lisicki def. Tatjana Malek 6-2 6-3
Heather Watson def. Timea Babos 6-1 3-0 ret.
Luksika Kumkhum def. Casey Dellacqua 6-2 6-2
Kimiko Date-Krumm def. Chanelle Scheepers 7-5 6-1
Nina Bratchikova def. Shahar Peer 6-3 6-3
Ayumi Morita leads Ana Ivanovic 6-3 5-7 2-1
Elena Vesnina leads Eleni Daniilidou 6-2 1-0

Paris round 1:

Klara Zakopalova def. Anabel Medina Garrigues 2-6 7-5 6-0
Christina McHale def. Pauline Parmentier 6-4 6-1
Carla Suarez Navarro def. Monica Niculescu 6-3 7-6(3)
Stephanie Voegele def. Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4 6-2
Alize Cornet def. Sofia Arvidsson 6-3 4-6 6-0

Upset of the day:

Luksika Kumkhum def. Casey Dellacqua 6-2 6-2

Well, it's not really an upset since I called it. But history was made today as Luksika Kumkhum officially replaces Tamarine Tanasugarn as the top Thai player. Tamarine held that title for almost 20 years and Luksika did it in front of her home crowd as well. The big hitting Thai girl looks set to rise up the rankings further as she plays fearless and powerful tennis. Casey hasn't been in form lately and maybe she can consider carrying on as a doubles specialist.

Kimiko Date-Krumm def. Chanelle Scheepers 7-5 6-1

Chanelle Scheepers is not exactly young at the age of 29, but she was upended by someone who is 42. Is that a shame? Definitely not. Kimiko Date-Krumm is having a spectacular 2013 season as she is in the top 10 for the race. She continues her good form by ousting the South African in straight sets. Although she did choke a bit up 5-3 and 5-4 in the first set, she recovered well and claimed this easy victory. Kimiko might face Ana Ivanovic or Ayumi Morita in the second round. And judging by how Ana and Ayumi is playing now, she might have a good chance of going far.

Stefanie Voegele def. Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4 6-2

Pironkova must be playing really bad tennis to lose to Voegele. No offence to Stefanie, but she doesn't have the mental strength to compete in the main tour. Pironkova maybe should just skip all the other surfaces and play only on grass, since that is the only surface she can win on. Just when I thought Tsvetana is on her way up after beating Klara Zakopalova in Hobart, she throws in this. However, I am sure she will still get a wildcard for the second tier YEC for her to whore up some points.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Pattaya & Paris Day 2: Thai express

Pattaya schedule:

Akgul Ammanmuradova vs. Maria Kirilenko
Luksika Khumkum vs. Casey Dellacqua
Ana Ivanovic vs. Ayumi Morita
Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. Sorana Cirstea
Tatjana Malek vs. Sabine Lisicki
Chanelle Scheepers vs. Kimiko Date-Krumm
Elena Vesnina vs. Eleni Daniilidou
Anastisija Sevastova vs. Misaki Doi
Vania King vs. Anastasia Rodionova
Heather Watson vs. Timea Babos
Nina Bratchikova vs. Shahar Peer

Paris schedule:

Not released yet

Match focus:

Luksika Kumkhum vs. Casey Dellacqua

Local favourite, Luksika Kumkhum just had her breakthrough tournament in Australian Open and will be looking forward to carrying her momentum here in Pattaya. She faces a tricky player in Casey Dellaqua, who reached the doubles final in Melbourne. Casey should be commended for her fight to get back to the top 100, but I feel that she isn't back to her past level where she reached the top 30. Kumkhum on the other hand, has nothing to lose and hits with pure abandonment. Playing in front of her home crowd will also boost her confidence. I expect the Thai to win this and take over the Tanasugarn as the top Thai player.

Pick: Kumkhum in 2 sets

Heather Watson vs. Timea Babos

Timea Babos is just not winning anything now. This is a far cry from last year, where she reached her first WTA semifinal and clinched her first title in Monterry (defeating current top 10 Sara Errani). Her string of losses stretch all the way back to New Haven, where she lost in the first round to Petkovic. Looks like she's going to extend her losing streak as she meets a player who reached the 3rd round in Melbourne. Maybe Babos needs to take a break, or see a sports psychologist, because her game is explosive and has the potential to be a good player.

Pick: Watson in 2 sets

Yanina Wickmayer vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

The schedule of play for Paris day 2 isn't released yet, so I'm going to pick random matches to analyse. Pavlyuchenkova was supposed to have a good performance in Melbourne but flopped badly. She will be keen to bounce back but she faces the ever reliable Yanina Wickmayer. Yanina hasn't beaten a player ranked in front of her for eons but will always account for opponents lesser than her. Will Wickmayer take out Anastasia? Or will the fluctuating Pavlyuchenkova show us what she's capable of? I believe Anastasia is very sore about losing early in Australian and will be working doubly hard to improve on her game. The Russian might face difficulty, but she will come out on top.

Pick: Pavlyuchenkova in 2 sets

Sure win bets: Maria Kirilenko, Sabine Lisicki, Heather Watson
Upset alert: Casey Dellacqua, Sorana Cirstea, Misaki Doi

Paris and Pattaya Day 1: Sophomore slump for Hsieh

Pattaya round 1:

Varatchaya Wongteanchai def. Annika Beck 6-3 6-3
Alexandra Panova def. Irina-Camilia Begu 7-6(6) 3-2 ret.
Marina Erakovic def. Hsieh Su-Wei 6-2 6-2
Mathilde Johansson def. Chang Kai-Chen 6-4 6-3

Paris round 1: (so far)

Mona Barthel def. Urszula Radwanska 7-6(1) 6-0

Upset of the day:

Marina Erakovic def. Hsieh Su-Wei 6-2 6-2

She's had her breakout year last year in the lower tier Asian events but Su-Wei seems to be having a sophomore slump. She loses easily to Marina Erakovic in straight sets. Su-Wei thrived on these smaller Asian events and it will be worrying if she is struggling to win matches in these events. It seems that Su-Wei is carrying an injury and it's not clear why she continued playing anyway. Advice to Hsieh: let your injury heal and come back stronger and better. Risking it is not worth it.

Varatchaya Wongteanchai def. Annika Beck 6-3 6-3

Annika Beck looks like a player to watch in the future but she suffers a bad loss here to local wildcard, Wongteanchai. Varatchaya is on a high after winning an ITF event recently and obviously carried her confidence into Pattaya. She must be pumped playing in front of her home crowd. For Beck, this is an experience for her to learn, how to play against a partisan crowd. I'm sure Annika will bounce back and we will hear plenty from her in the near future.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Australian Open scorecard: Li, the one that got away

A+: Li Na

Took out 4 seeds, including much favoured Agnieszka Radwanska and Maria Sharapova. Despite losing in the final, showed true grit by fighting all the way despite her injury.

A: Victoria Azarenka

Shut the haters up (including me) by winning her 2nd slam. Path to title wasn't tough, but she did it and that's all that matters.

A-: Sloane Stephens

Breakout star of the tournament. Took out Serena and looks to be the future American hope.

B+: Serena Williams

Really should have been her title but injury derailed her. Fought all the way despite a sprained ankle, bruised lips and injured back. If these didn't happen, she's almost a guarantee for the title.

B: Maria Sharapova

Lost the least number of games going into the semi-finals but flopped hard in it.

B-: Svetlana Kuznetsova

Look who's back! Took out Caroline Wozniacki but outlasting her(!) and for once, remained mentally strong.

C+: Ekaterina Makarova

Reached her 2nd consecutive Australian Open quarter-final by beating 2 top 10 players. If she continues her form, will be a good bet to break into top 15.

C: Kimiko Date-Krumm

Oldest player to reach the 3rd round. Proves that age is only a number.

C-: Agnieszka Radwanska

Perfect record for 2013 was useless. Paid the price for playing too many tournaments before the main event.

D: Caroline Wozniacki

No improvement. Lucky to reach the 4th round.

E: Samantha Stosur

Just not a player in Australia. Nervous wreck.

F: Sara Errani

What a flop. The weakest link in the top 10. Maybe she can concentrate on doubles instead.

Australian Open final: Heartbreak for billions of people

Australian Open F:

Victoria Azarenka def. Li Na 4-6 6-4 6-3

Today, billions of hearts in the world were broken by Victoria Azarenka. Li Na was really undone by her twisted ankle but she fought on bravely. This match was not pretty, with each player committing numerous errors. However, you really have to doubt whether Victoria could have won that match had the 2 falls suffered by Li Na not happened. The Chinese girl probably won a thousands of fans more with her courageous effort despite her poor tennis display today. Azarenka held firm at the right moments and allowed Li to implode. With this win, Azarenka defends her title for her 2nd slam and holds on to the number 1 ranking. Did she deserve it? Yes, but Li  has earned my utmost respect.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Australian Open Final: Crowd favourite vs zero mass appeal

Australian Open final:

Li Na vs. Victoria Azarenka

I don't think anyone will be supporting Azarenka after her classless display of gamesmanship today. Li, on the other hand, captured the hearts of the Australian fans with her witty and honest interviews. Look out for a fully healthy Victoria to appear on court, despite all her ailments that she allegedly suffers. Li might be strong enough to relax and not get too tight. If she plays her game, she will stand a good chance of clinching the title. The crowd will definitely be behind her, and hopefully this riles Azarenka. I hope justice will prevail with Li finally winning the title, and Azarenka losing her number 1 spot.

Pick: Li in 3 sets

Australian Open SF: Li crushes Sharapova, Villainous Azarenka

Australian Open SF:

Li Na def. Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-2

Yikes... After displaying her impeccable form in her last 5 matches, Sharapova just failed to find the court today. Her error count was totally off the roof, showing none of the clean aggressive tennis which she was playing. Maybe the thought of Serena Williams being ousted from the tournament riled her, as she thought that her biggest rival is out. Li was steady and kept applying the pressure, making Sharapova make uncharacteristic errors. You would have thought Sharapova will fight to the bitter end, but the lack of competitive matches bit her and she faltered weakly. Li has now reached her 2nd final in Australian Open. Will she finally win the title?

Victoria Azarenka def. Sloane Stephens 6-1 6-4

As expected, Sloane experienced a dip in form after her huge upset of Serena. Victoria was ruthless in the first set and there was nothing much Sloane could do. Seemingly cruising, Azarenka suddenly got tight and lost her lead, losing 5 match points and letting Sloane get back on serve. This is when the number 1 seed took a suspicious medical timeout. After she came back, she promptly broke Sloane for the match. According to her, she couldn't breathe well as one of her ribs got stuck. Seriously Victoria, after your lame excuse of a botch pedicure, it's amazing you can come up with more unbelievable injuries. What next? Tangled intestines? Or maybe she suddenly felt a lump in her breast? What a disgrace for a world number 1 to resort to such blatant gamesmanship just to win a match. Victoria is just a bad ambassador for WTA, or even tennis as a sport. Hopefully Li Na will teach this brat on how to win a match legitimately and fairly. Shame on you Victoria!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Australian Open SF: Will the underdogs prevail?

Australian Open SF:

Maria Sharapova vs. Li Na

Maria Sharapova is showing glimpses of her 2008 form, where she trampled everybody en route to her first Australian Open title. Will Li Na be her next victim? Sharapova leads their heads-to-heads 8-4, with Li's wins all coming from an early post shoulder surgery Maria. With the injury behind her, Sharapova had since won the next 3 matches, including an absolute shit-fest last year in Rome. Given her red hot form in demolishing her previous opponents, you have to favour Sharapova. Li will have to play extremely clean tennis to upset the Russian, which I highly doubt so.

Pick: Sharapova in straight sets

Victoria Azarenka vs. Sloane Stephens

Azarenka must be thanking her gods for Sloane upsetting Serena. The Belarussian will liken her chances more against the inexperienced Stephens. That said, Sloane has nothing to lose and will go on court swinging. With her tremendous speed and monstrous forehand, Stephens really can trouble Azarenka. To play Azarenka, you need to mix it up and approach the net on good shots. Having a baseline battle with Victoria is really courting death. They have never played before, so it will be interesting to see how Azarenka handles another American which she has never met.

Pick: Azarenka in 2 tight sets

Australian Open Day 10: Sloane stuns Serena

Australian Open QF:

Sloane Stephens def. Serena Williams 3-6 7-5 6-4

Sloane Stephens stuns the tennis world by upsetting seemingly unbeatable Serena Williams. Serena was hampered by a back injury and couldn't play to her hundred percent. But an injured Serena is also just as dangerous as she will be more aggressive than usual. Credit has to be given to Sloane for shutting out Serena's injury and going for her shots. This is Williams' first loss since last August and dashes the hope of a Serena golden slam. However, what is more important is that she recovers in time to concentrate on the French open, where she crashed out in the first round last year. Sloane will face top seed Azarenka in the semi-finals. If she displays her fearless hitting like this match, she might stand a good chance of reaching the finals. Well done Sloane!

Victoria Azarenka def. Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5 6-1

Kuznetsova sprinted to a quick start, breaking azarenka early and establishing a 4-1 lead. However, the wheels fell off and Victoria was able to inch out the first set. After losing the first set, sveta's game crumbled as her unforced errors piled up. This is what you get from kuznetsova. One day she can be a world beater, the next she can hit herself out of the court. Azarenka will be happy to see Serena ousted and she stands a very good chance of defending her title from last year.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Australian Open day 10: Can Svetlana upset Azarenka?

Australian Open QF:

Victoria Azarenka vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova

Comeback kid Svetlana Kuznetsova takes on the top seed for a place in the semi-finals. Interestingly, Kuznetsova leads their heads-to-heads 4-3. However, most of the matches were when Azarenka was still young and a headcase. Victoria has won the last 2 encounters last year. Will Kuznetsova's resurgence continue? Or will the number 1 seed remain on course to another title? Azarenka will definitely be the fresher player as Kuznetsova laboured through her last match against Wozniacki. Like what Vesnina should have done, Kuznetsova needs to mix it up and attack the net when possible. Having a slugfest with Azarenka isn't going to cut it. Tough task to ask of Svetlana, so I think the Belarussian will advance to the last 4.

Pick: Azarenka in 2 tight sets

Serena Williams vs. Sloane Stephens

I'm sorry Sloane, but when Serena's zoned in like she has been, there's nothing you can do. Serena has been ploughing through the field like her opponents were bowling pins and I don't expect anything different. Sloane may be the new American hope, but Serena will show her who's the boss. Stephens did well in Brisbane but that was a non-slam Serena. Serena in a slam is a completely different player, so I don't expect a similar match compared to Brisbane.

Pick: Serena Williams in 2 easy sets

Australian Open Day 9: No longer Miss Perfect

Australian Open QF:

Li Na def. Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5 6-3

Agnieszka Radwanska's perfect 2013 campaign is stopped by the fabulous Li Na. In a match where both players struggled to hold serve, it was Li who held at the crucial moment and broke the Pole's serve to clinch the set. Despite getting broken and trailing 0-2 in the second set, Li once again powered her way to a double break to lead 5-2. There was nothing much Radwanska could do as Li's balls were all very deep and Aga could find a chance to pounce. Finally, the Chinese held serve to reach her third semi-final here in the last four years. She will face the ruthless Sharapova, who is in ominous form.

Maria Sharapova def. Ekaterina Makarova 6-2 6-2

Sharapova as expected, trampled Makarova in straight sets. Even though Mharapova played well, the match was really undone by Ekaterina's errors. She committed twice the amount of errors compared to her fourth round match with Kerber. Having set another record for the least amount of games lost en route to the semi finals, I'm sure Sharapova will be looking to break new records in her next round. Look out Li, this girl means business. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Australian Open Day 9: Can Li stop Aga?

Australian Open QF:

Li Na vs. Agnieszka Radwanska

WTA's hottest player will meet the volatile Li in a rematch of their Sydney semi-final match. Will Li learn from her lessons last week and finally stop Radwanska's winning streak? To be honest, Li hit herself out in their last encounter and when she's no being an error machine, she was actually on top of most of the rallies. So Li needs to play smart and no be on the aggressive from the first ball. If she is patient and waits for the right moment to pounce, Radwanska can be defeated, but it definitely won't be easy.

Pick: Radwanska in 3 tight sets

Maria Sharapova vs. Ekaterina Makarova

Sharapova set the record for losing the least number of games going into the quarter-finals. With the exception of Venus Williams, her opponents are frankly... scrubs. So it's no surprise she has only lost this amount of games. Things will be different with the lanky Makarova. The aggressive lefty plays risky and seems to be having the form of her life. Sharapova's easy passage to the quarter-finals might not help her as she won't be used to pressure situations. Makarova on the other hand had plenty of them, and might cause a few wobbles from the other Russian. Still, I believe Sharapova is too strong for Makarova and will emerge the winner.

Pick: Sharapova in 2 sets

Australian Open Day 8: Ain't no sunshine

Day 8 results:

Svetlana Kuznetsova def. Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 2-6 7-5
Victoria Azarenka def. Elena Vesnina 6-1 6-1
Sloane Stephens def. Bojana Jovanovski 6-1 3-6 7-5
Serena Williams def. Maria Kirilenko 6-2 6-0

Upset of the day:

Svetlana Kuznetsova def. Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 2-6 7-5

Even though it is blazing hot in Melbourne, I am sure Caroline Woznaicki isn't feeling any sunshine. Kuznetsova has once again kicked her out of the tournament and the Dane is now out of the top 10. Kudos to Sveta for hanging tough after losing the second set and there are signs of Caroline upping the aggressiveness. However, Kuznetsova played well when it mattered and walked away the victory. 2 to 3 years ago, Caroline was unbreakable. Her mental resilience was top notch, even though her game was not. Having lost that mental toughness, she is fast dropping down the rankings with her limited game. Like I've said, she needs to lose her father as a coach. A new opinion will make a world of difference for her.

Serena Williams def. Maria Kirilenko 6-2 6-0

Ouch... Serena Williams was in no mood to play today as she bulldozed her way into the quarter-finals. Serena played possibly her best match of the tournament so far, blasting down 80 plus percent of her first serves and committing only 6 errors. Poor Maria must have felt like a spectator on court. Serena lost only 8 games in 4 matches. Not as impressive as Sharapova's 5, but still pretty neat. She will face Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals, who gave Serena a good fight in Brisbane. But with her form now, I'm afraid there's nothing much Stephens can do to hurt Williams.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Australian Open Day 8: Svetlana for the win


Caroline Wozniacka vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova
Victoria Azarenka vs. Elena Vesnina
Serena Williams vs. Maria Kirilenko
Bojana Jovanovski vs. Sloane Stephens

Match focus:

Caroline Wozniacka vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova

A rematch of their Sydney match just 2 weeks ago. Can Sveta replicate her success over Wozniacki? Or will Caroline learn from her lesson and put Kuznetsova back in her place? Caroline's win over Tsurenko in her last match shows that she really doesn't have much to offer. The horrendous match was filled with errors and the Dane only came through because frankly, Tsurenko sucked big time. Kuznetsova is prone to these kinds of error fests as well, but when she's playing well, she has to game to rip Woznaicki apart. I would say Kuznetsova has all the shots and the confidence to upset Caroline again.

Pick: Kuznetsova in 3 sets

Victoria Azarenka vs. Elena Vesnina

Vulnerable Vika will take on Vesnina in this 4th round match. If Victoria is as tentative as her 3rd round match, she might lose this against a tough opponent. Vesnina will need to use her all court game and keep Victoria guessing. If she tries to out hit Azarenka, she will definitely lose this easily. Even though the top seed looks to be shaky, I believe her hunger to improve will shine through and she will hit her way to another victory.

Pick: Azarenka in 2 tight sets

Australian Open Day 6 & 7: Kerber hits a curb

Day 7 results:

Ekaterina Makarova def. Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-4
Maria Sharapova def. Kirsten Flipkens 6-1 6-0
Li Na def. Julia Goerges 7-6(6) 6-1
Agnieszka Radwanska def. Ana Ivanovic 6-2 6-4

Day 6 results:

Svetlana Kuznetsova def. Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 4-6 6-3
Victoria Azarenka def. Jamie Hampton 6-4 4-6 6-2
Maria Kirilenko def. Yanina Wickmayer 7-6(4) 6-3
Serena Williams def. Ayumi Morita 6-1 6-3
Elena Vesnina def. Roberta Vinci 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4
Caroline Wozniacki def. Lesia Tsurenko 6-4 6-3
Sloane Stephens def. Laura Robson 7-5 6-3
Bojana Jovanovski def. Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-2 7-6(3)

Upset of the day:

Ekaterina Makarova def. Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-4

Ekaterina Makarova overcomes another player who she has lost to easily in her past encounters. 5th seed, Angelique Kerber is the highest seed to fall so far in the tournament, and it was due to inspired play from the Russian. Makarova just had her day, bossing Kerber around with her huge groundstrokes. Normally, Kerber's game will break down these big hitters with her retrieving skills, but Makarova was relentless. Although she couldn't serve the first set out in her first try, she did so in her second. Just amazing play from the Russian. Kerber looks to be nursing a back injury, so hopefully she recovers soon and add more dimensions to her game.

Agnieszka Radwanska def. Ana Ivanovic 6-2 6-4

To play Agnieszka Radwanska, you need to outsmart her. What Ana did today was hit everything at 200km/h and obviously, it wasn't going to work. Radwanska hasn't lost a match or even a set this year. She kept her game super clean by hitting only 4 errors. Not that she had to chance to anyway with Ana hitting the errors first. If Agnieszka continues like this, Sharapova better watch out, because she might just sneak into the finals. Ivanovic seems to be satisfied with being a top 11 to 15 player with her one dimensional game. If she wants go go back into the top 10, or even number 1, she needs to be less brainless and improve that dreadful backhand.

Elena Vesnina def. Roberta Vinci 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4

Look what winning a title can do to you. Vesnina was never known as the mentally tough one. But after clinching her first career title, she outlasts and fights her way to a victory over much-fancied Roberta Vinci. This match featured entertaining rallies and  great use of the court from these 2 doubles specialists. Elena looks to be hitting her stride and could very well trouble top seed Azarenka in her next round.

Victoria Azarenka def. Jamie Hampton 6-4 4-6 6-2

What a heartbreaker. This match was torturous to watch as Jamie was winching in pain throughout the third set. After playing brilliantly to snatch the second set, Jamie aggravated her back injury and was playing with pain after that. It's sad to see a player being so close yet so far. Jamie shortened the rallies and was very aggressive while Azarenka could only watch winners zip past her. Victoria was tentative and lost her cool in the third set. If Jamie was healthy, she could very well be out of the tournament. Vika better be prepared for her next opponent Vesnina, or she might be bidding an early farewell to the tournament.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Australian Open Day 6: Future of tennis

Schedule of play:

Victoria Azarenka vs. Jamie Hampton
Elena Vesnina vs. Roberta Vinci
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Lesia Tsurenko
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Carla Suarez Navarro
Serena Williams vs. Ayumi Morita
Yanina Wickmayer vs. Maria Kirilenko
Kimiko Date-Krumm vs. Bojana Jovanovski
Sloane Stephens vs. Laura Robson

Match focus:

Sloane Stephens vs. Laura Robson

We might be looking at the future of tennis here. These 2 players have already met in Hobart, with Stephens winning that match. Will the American continue her winning ways? Or will Laura be lifted by her win over Kvitova? I believe Laura was helped a lot by Petra in her win the previous round. Sloane isn't going to do that, Robson has to win the points on her own. With Stephens' movement around the court, she will be looking to make Robson hit that one extra shot which will cause an error.

Pick: Stephens in 2 tight sets

Elena Vesnina vs. Roberta Vinci

Now that Elena Vesnina has finally won her first title, she seems to be going from strength to strength. She took out Lepchenko convincingly and will be very much favoured against Vinci. Even though Roberta is the higher ranked player, Vesnina leads their heads to heads 3-1. With her new found confidence, I think Vesnina will be tough to stop. Vinci needs to mix it up and throw in drop shots and volleys to confuse Elena.

Pick: Vesnina in 3 sets

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

Svetlana Kuznetsova is at her lowest ranking since... I can't recall a time when she was ranked 75. This is how long Kuznetsova has managed to stay at the top of the game. After a lengthy break, Kuznetsova is back, bigger and better. Carla will not go down easily though but the Russian has more talent and game. It's only a matter of how Kuznetsova's brains adsorb.

Pick: Kuznetsova in 2 tight sets

Sure win bets, Victoria Azarenka,Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki
Upset alert: Roberta Vinci, Kimiko-Date-Krumm