Monday, 25 February 2013

Kuala Lumpur, Florianopolis, Acapulco Day 1: Flavia makes her comeback

KL schedule:

Patricia Mayr-Achietner vs. Claire Feuerstein
Vera Dushevina vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Aslina An Ping Chua vs. Shuai Zhang
Kurumi Nara vs. Su-Wei Hsieh
Alberta Brianti vs. Misaki Doi
Ayumi Morita vs. Cagla Buyukakcay
Marta Sirotkina vs. Ying-Ying Duan
Casey Dellacqua vs. Karolina Pliskova
Donna Vekic vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Yuliya Beygelzimer vs. Eleni Daniilidou


Melinda Czink vs Yaroslava Shvedova
Anabel Medina Garrigues vs Monica Niculescu
Chieh-Yu Hsu vs Beatriz Haddad Maia
Kirsten Flipkens vs Olga Puchkova
Venus Williams vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
Adriana Perez vs Chanelle Scheepers
Beatriz Garcia Vidagany vs Nina Bratchikova
Caroline Garcia vs Maria Irigoyen
Garbine Muguruza vs Kristina Barrois
Shahar Peer vs Tereza Mrdeza


Flavia Pennetta vs. (7)Lourdes Dominguez Lino
Ximena Hermoso vs. Sesil Karatantcheva
Ajla Tomljanovic vs. (4)Irina-Camelia Begu
Estrella Cabeza Candela vs. Maria Joao Koehler
Arantxa Rus vs. (5)Kiki Bertens

Match focus:

Vera Dushevina vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

It's hard to reconcile this but Vera Dushevina was once a promising upstart with a stellar juniors career, the same as Pavlyuchenkova. Anastasia fared better in the seniors tour, breaking into the top 20, while Vera's career just never took off. One has to wonder how Dushevina got her juniors success with her god-awful forehand and weak mentality. Pavlyuchenkova has gone missing since her Brisbane breakthrough and although her form is suspect, she should emerge out of the the victor.

Pick: Pavlyuchenkova in 2 sets

Venus Williams vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni

I will never forget the US Open match between these 2 players in 2002, where Venus ruthlessly murdered Mirjana Lucic with a double bagel. Well, Venus didn't have to do much as Lucic was just hitting the ball hard and missing it by miles. Fastforward to 11 years later, these 2 meet again. Venus is no longer the untouchable top player that she was and Mirjana has finally gotten her control back. Ever the fighter, I'm sure Venus will try her best even though she is not her peak form but she has to be careful of Lucic, who can hit a mean ball. One thing's for sure, there won't be a double bagel this time.

Pick: Venus Williams in 2 sets

Flavia Pennetta vs. (7)Lourdes Dominguez Lino

Flavia Pennetta finally makes her comeback after missing the first part of the year. Even though she lost early in her previous tournament in Bogota, it's nice to see her trying despite her age. And when Flavia is playing well, it is a sight to behold. On the other hand, Lourdes' game of retrieving everything puts anyone to sleep, even if she is playing at her peak. Even though Pennetta will get a lot of balls to hit this time, I suspect she will run out of energy against someone as resilient as Dominguez Lino. Sometimes, tennis doesn't win. It is too early in her comeback but give her a month or so, Flavia will be back.

Pick: Dominguez Lino in 3 tight sets

Sure win bets: Shuai Zhang, Venus Williams, Irina Camelia Begu
Upset alerts: Yaroslava Shvedova, Shahar Peer

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