Thursday, 3 January 2013

Brisbane, Shenzhen, Auckland: Titanic clashes


Victoria Azarenka vs. Serena Williams
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Lesia Tsurenko


Li Na vs Peng Shuai
Monica Niculescu vs. Klara Zakopalova


Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Jamie Hampton
Yanina Wickmayer vs. Mona Barthel

Match focus:

Victoria Azarenka vs. Serena Williams

Will the real number 1 please stand up? This is the match where everyone's been waiting for since the draw was released. Victoria Azarenka would want to prove to the world that she's the real number 1, while Serena will be eager to show that she is the player to beat despite the rankings. Azarenka is getting closer to solving the Williams riddle as shown in the US Open final and will no doubt be anxious for this win. Serena will need to be at the top of her game and continue serving well. Knowing Serena, she will definitely lift her level for this match.

Pick: Williams in 3 sets

Li Na vs Peng Shuai

The Chinese home crowd will have something to cheer about as a Chinese will definitely be in the finals. Peng came through a tough 3 setter in her previous round while Li hasn't lost a set yet in this tournament. Li Na will definitely be the favourite here but the pressure might just get to her. Also, Peng has improved on her fitness and will no doubt have extra motivation to beat her compatriot. Their last encounter went into a third set tiebreak, so it's anyone's game.

Pick: Li in 3 tight sets

Yanina Wickmayer vs. Mona Barthel

Like last year, Mona Barthel is starting her year well. She will face Yanina Wickmayer, who is also returning to form after finishing off her compatriot in her previous round. These 2 have met last year in Hobart, where Barthel came from nowhere to upset Wickmayer in 2 easy sets. However, Yanina has won the other 2 encounters. Will Mona reach her full potential? Or will bratty Yanina get her way again? I'm going with the German as she is a more natural ball striker and she seems to have found a way to keep her level constant.

Pick: Barthel in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Anastasia Pavluchenkova, Agnieszka Radwanska
Upset alert: Klara Zakopalova, Yanina Wickmayer

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