Thursday, 28 February 2013

KL, Florianopolis, Acapulco: In form Asians


Patricia Mayr vs. Karolina Pliskova
Ayumi Morita vs. Luksika Kumkhum
Ashleigh Barty vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. Hsieh Su-Wei


Venus Williams vs. Magdalena Rybarikova
Olga Puchkova vs. Jana Cepelova
Monica Niculescu vs. Timea Babos
Kristina Mladenovic vs. Melinda Czink


Sara Errani vs. Kiki Bertens
Alize Cornet vs. Lourdes Dominguez-Lino
Karin Knapp vs. Silvia Soler-Espinosa
Francesca Schiavone vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

Match focus:

Ayumi Morita vs. Luksika Kumkhum

Two very much in form players vie for a semi-final placing in Kuala Lumpur. Ayumi Morita has upset higher ranked players in Pattaya and in Fed Cup, while Kumkhum has also achieved stellar results playing for Thailand. Against someone like Kumkhum, Morita needs to be as consistent as she can be and hope Luksika misses. The Thai girl will go for her shots no matter the scoreline and if she's on, she will rampage you. I believe the crowd will be rooting for Kumkhum as she is from Thailand, and the crowd support might be what makes the difference.

Pick: Kumkhum in 3 sets

Monica Niculescu vs. Timea Babos

Babos faces the wily Monica Niculescu in this quarter-final. I see Niculescu as a benchmark; players who beat her are considered top players/players with prospects, and players who lose to her are just hopeless. It will be a good barometer to see which category Babos falls in. I would love to see Timea win but I don't think she's ready for it mentally. She needs everything to be working for her to win easily and that doesn't happen everyday.

Pick: Niculescu in 2 tight sets

Francesca Schiavone vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

2 players with very similar games meet. Will Francesca finally snap out of ways and start winning again? Or will Suarez Navarro continue her rich form and kick out the former French Open Champion? Schiavone is past her prime as well and I'm pretty sure this year will be her last year. Francesca can still string a couple of nice breath-taking points, but her consistency is lacking and the Spaniard will make sure to take advantage of that.

Pick: Suarez Navarro in 2 tight sets

Sure win bets: Venus Williams, Kristina Mladenovic, Sara Errani
Upset alert: Ayumi Morita, Hsieh Su-Wei, Silvia Soler-Espinosa

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