Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Miami QF: Jankovic to break her slump?


Sara Errani vs. Maria Sharapova

If there is a match-up that is more never in doubt than this, it would be anyone vs bye. Sara Errani ill play Sharapova tough for a set at most, but the Russian will take her out nonetheless. Miami is heading for a Serena vs. Sharapova final that the semi-finals are kind of redundant.

Pick: Sharapova in 2 sets

Roberta Vinci vs. Jelena Jankovic

Woah... We have a surprise here. Jelena Jankovic stops losing silly matches and is in the quarter-finals of a Premier event since... I don't know. Roberta has played Jankovic several times and almost everytime is a close affair. Will the Serb finally break her slump and advance to her first semi-final of a Premier event this year? It seems like the Jankovic train is picking up steam and with her comprehensive win over Cirstea, Jankovic looks poised to win this match.

Pick: Jankovic in 3 sets

By the way, I will be away for holidays for the weekend so let's not waste time. Serena vs. Maria finals with Serena winning. Serena ups her game against the Russian until a point where she's unplayable. Don't think this time will be different.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Miami QF: Shaky Serena


Serena Williams vs. Li Na

Serena started out crazily slow against Cibulkova and she cannot afford to do the same against Li Na. The Chinese will not hesistate to take the advantage and before Serena knows it, the match is over. Li is looking very strong after a long layoff which is surprising. Normally players take one or two tournaments to get back into rhythm. Serena needs to be 100% and it remains to be seen if she's fully recovered from her injury in Melbourne. Li will challenge Serena that's for sure, but will she finish the job is the question.

Pick: Williams in 3 tight sets

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Kirsten Flipkens

Kirsten Flipkens is in her first Premier quarter-final and will be bound to feel the pressure. This is going to work to Radwanska's advantage having been in this stage for numerous times. Still, the Pole is not playing her best but she might be saving the best for last. Both players do not use raw power to win so it should be an interesting contest. Flipkens needs to hit good approach shots and not let Radwanska pass her too much at the net. If Flipkens keeps her errors low, she might have a chance, but I believe Radwanska is too steady for her.

Pick: Radwanska in 2 sets

Monday, 25 March 2013

Miami day 7: Apologies!

Firstly, I want to apologize for the predictions yesterday which all went wrong! LOL... Hopefully today will be better!


Garbine Muguruza vs. Li Na
Serena Williams vs. Dominika Cibulkova
Klara Zakopalova vs. Maria Sharapova
Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Sloane Stephens
Alja Tomljanovic vs. Kirsten Flipkens
Roberta Vinci vs. Alize Cornet
Sara Errani vs. Ana Ivanovic
Sorana Cirstea vs. Jelena Jankovic

Match focus:

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Sloane Stephens

Agnieszka's title defense is looking shaky as she has been losing sets to players who's she's not supposed to. Will Sloane end her campaign prematurely? Well, Sloane had a lucky break when Venus withdrew from the tournament or else we might be seeing Venus here. Not doubting Stephens' ability here, but her game doesn't match up well with Radwanska's tricky all court game. Sloane will probably be frustrated and try to hit winners from impossible positions. A set is possible, but I think Radwanska will scrape through despite not playing her best.

Pick: Radwanska in 3 sets

Sara Errani vs. Ana Ivanovic

Now, this will be a match worth noticing. Ivanovic lost the plot last year in Roland Garros when she was having a comfortable lead in their 3rd round match. Who knows what would have happened if she kept that lead? And Sara is an opponent which Ana can easily boss around, something that doesn't really happen with Ivanovic. Will Ana finally get over demons and clinch a top 10 win in... god knows when? I believe she demonstrate great mental strength dismissing Kuznetsova and she's ripe for a top 10 win.

Pick: Ivanovic in 2 tight sets

Sorana Cirstea vs. Jelena Jankovic

Despite having a more illustrious career, Jankovic actually trails their heads to head 1-2. Both wins of Sorana came from clay and they were as tight as they can be. Jankovic might just be turning her year around with a gritty win over Petrova. She must carry this confidence over as Sorana is brimming with confidence after trashing Kerber in the 3rd round. As this is a hard court, Jankovic should have the advantage. But as usual, Cirstea can be ridiculously good or bad on any given day. Let's see if Jelena can weather the storm.

Pick: Jankovic in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Li Na
Upset alert: Sara Errani

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Miami day 6: Former Roland Garros champs clash


Angelique Kerber vs. Sorana Cirstea
Elena Vesnina vs. Maria Sharapova
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Ana Ivanovic
Roberta Vinci vs. Carla Suarez Navarro
Jelena Jankovic vs. Nadia Petrova
Maria Kirilenko vs. Klara Zakopalova
Sara Errani vs. Simona Halep
Alize Cornet vs. Lauren Davis

Match focus:

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Ana Ivanovic

It seems like whoever Svetlana Kuznetsova faces will be featured here. Well, as a former champion, every match she plays versus someone in the top 20 is a chance for an upset. And it applies here as well. Kuznetsova is performing very well in her comeback and it won't be long before we see a seed before her name. Ivanovic looks likely to be her next victim. The Serb just crumbles against anyone who's playing well and of a certain calibre. Ana can destroy scrubs but when she faces a big name, she folds like a cheap tent.

Pick: Kuznetsova in 3 sets

Jelena Jankovic vs. Nadia Petrova

I have no idea why Jelena Jankovic is still touring. She has the game but her desire to compete is simply gone. She's just going through the motions and it's just sad to see a former number 1 struggle like her. She faces a resurgent Nadia Petrova who unlike her, re-lit her passion and found a way out of her late career slump. Jelena should learn from Nadia, or else her career will end when she's out of the top 50 and realise no one cares anymore.

Pick: Petrova in 2 sets

Roberta Vinci vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

Carla Suarez Navarro is playing very well this year and I expect her to put up a good fight against Roberta Vinci. Both play similar games but I believe Carla has more firepower. If the Spaniard can focus and not let Vinci's net rushing game affect her, she can hit some beautiful passing shots. Moreover, Roberta's form is a bit suspect with her early exit in Indian Wells. Might be an upset here.

Pick: Suarez Navarro in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Maria Sharapova, Sara Errani, Nadia Petrova
Upset alert: Roberta Vinci, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Miami day 3: Slump queens in action


Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Hsieh Su-Wei
Serena Williams vs. Flavia Pennetta
Venus Williams vs. Kimiko Date-Krumm
Kiki Bertens vs. Li Na
Peng Shuai vs. Petra Kvitova
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Karolina Pliskova
Marion Bartoli vs. Andrea Petkovic
Olga Govortsova vs. Sloane Stephens
Kristina Mladenovic vs. Dominika Cibulkova
Varvara Lepchenko vs. Irina-Camelia Begu
Lucie Safarova vs. Romina Oprandi
Ajla Tomljanovic vs. Julia Goerges
Ayumi Morita vs. Yanina Wickmayer
Kirsten Flipkens vs. Stefanie Voegele
Garbine Muguruza vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Mona Barthel

Match focus:

Marion Bartoli vs. Andrea Petkovic

Marion Bartoli isn't playing well this year even though she isn't exactly slumping. She's not living up to her seeding and in cases where she faces a higher ranked player, she gets outplayed easily. This spells hope for comeback queen, Andrea Petkovic. The German disposed of Jovanovski easily in her previous round and seems to be healthy again. She should be able to challenge a sub-par Bartoli.

Pick: Petkovic in 3 sets

Olga Govortsova vs. Sloane Stephens

Doing basically nothing since her Australian Open breakthrough, Sloane Stephens gets the perfect draw to get the ball rolling again. Govortsova is a typical ball-basher with no plan B; so Stephens should be able to push her around the court and induce some errors from the Belarussian. If Stephens manages to lose this match, I smell big trouble coming from this hyped up player.

Pick: Stephens in 2 sets

Lucie Safarova vs. Romina Oprandi

Lucie Safarova and variety do not mix. Which is why Safarova's woes will continue with the ever tricky opponent like Oprandi. Romina's drop shots and slices will drive Lucie nuts as she commits tons of unforced errors off them. The nightmare year for the Czech looks set to continue as she's handled another unfavourable draw.

Pick: Oprandi in 2 sets

Garbine Muguruza vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Another player in a puzzling slump is Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. In a wide open field of Kuala Lumpur, she collapsed spectacularly and lost a chance to capture a title and boost her confidence. Garbine Muguruza is a handy player who reached the 4th round last year, so the Russian will have her hands full. Look out for another choke from the Russian as she struggles to close out sets.

Pick: Muguruza in 2 tight sets

Sure win bets: Serena Williams, Julia Goerges, Kirsten Flipkens
Upset alert: Lucie Safarova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Marion Bartoli

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Miami day 2: Comeback queens part 2


Tsvetana Pironkova vs. Daniela Hantuchova
Lourdes Dominguez Lino vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova
Anett Kontaveit vs. Christina McHale
Jamie Hampton vs. Monica Niculescu
Victoria Duval vs. Andrea Hlavackova
Francesca Schiavone vs. Jana Cepelova
Pauline Parmentier vs. Silvia Soler-Espinosa
Madison Keys vs. Allie Kiick
Katerina Siniakova vs. Garbine Muguruza
Simona Halep vs. Sabine Lisicki
Laura Robson vs. Camila Giorgi
Zheng Jie vs. Yaroslava Shvedova
Monica Puig vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Lucie Hradecka vs. Karolina Pliskova
Anabel Medina Garrigues vs. Alexandra Dulgheru
Stefanie Voegele vs. Petra Martic
Olga Govortsova vs. Melinda Czink
Romina Oprandi vs. Arantxa Rus
Annika Beck vs. Urszula Radwanska
Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Mallory Burdette
Eugenie Bouchard vs. Shahar Peer
Yulia Putintseva vs. Donna Vekic

Match focus:

Lourdes Dominguez Lino vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova

Well, Kuznetsova's comeback has been quite a while but she is still making up for lost time. She faces the human backboard, Lourdes Dominguez Lino. If there is a match that is never in doubt, it is this match. Kuznetsova has more tricks up her sleeves to outplay Lourdes than your fingers can count. It should be a no brainer that the former Miami champion will emerge unscathed.

Pick: Kuznetsova in 2 easy sets

Anabel Medina Garrigues vs. Alexandra Dulgheru

Alexandra Dulgheru won her first match last week in Indian Wells after recovering from a career threatening knee injury. She will attempt to make it 2 wins against the aging veteran, Medina Garrigues. Anabel has been on the tour for more than 10 years now and it's amazing that she's still competing out there. However, against the younger and more energetic girls, she's on the losing end. Alexandra has the game to beat Anabel, and I always root for the underdog.

Pick: Dulgheru in 3 sets

Stefanie Voegele vs. Petra Martic

Petra Martic isn't really injured and she's not on a comeback trail. But one has the urge to call out for the real Martic to "come back". This year, Petra Martic has been missing and she is winless in 3 events. She's not participating in many tournaments and seems to be going through the motions. Maybe something is bothering her in her personal life, we will never know. In this rematch of the Indian Wells opener, the results shoudn't differ. Martic in this state is a walking bye.

Pick: Voegele in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Svetlana Kuznetsova, Christina McHale, Madison Keys
Upset alert: Anabel Medina Garrigues, Andrea Hlavackova, Tsvetana Pironkova

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Miami day 1: Comeback queens


Heather Watson vs. Ayumi Morita
Flavia Pennetta vs. Johanna Larsson
Kimiko Date-Krumm vs. Chanelle Scheepers
Bojana Jovanovski vs. Andrea Petkovic
Hsieh Su-Wei vs. Lesia Tsurenko
Kristina Mladenovic vs. Aleksandra Wozniak
Sofia Arvidsson vs. Peng Shuai
Ksenia Pervak vs. Alja Tomljanovic
Marina Erakovic vs. Irina Camelia Begu
Anna Tatishvili vs. Kiki Bertens

Match focus:

Flavia Pennetta vs. Johanna Larsson

The first of the comeback queens is Flavia Pennetta. This is her 3rd or 4th event of this year and this should be the pivotal match. It will show whether Flavia is back in the groove or she's lagging too far back to make an impact on tour again. Johanna has a nice handy game but there are flaws to be exploited like how Sara exposed her in Indian Wells. Hopefully Errani gives her Italian compatriot some advice because Flavia needs all the wins she can get now.

Pick: Pennetta in 3 sets

Bojana Jovanovski vs. Andrea Petkovic

Andrea Petkovic is another featured comeback queen whose injury came at the wrong time. She was peaking in her form and was looking to make the top 10 her mainstay. Attempted comebacks have resulted in more injuries and one has to wonder if she will ever make it back in the top echelons of the game. She faces a vulnerable Jovanovski, who she will easily take out back in 2011. Andrea's main aim I think is to make it through a match without getting injured. If she can do that, it's good enough for her. Her body is too fragile and the injuries cast a doubt over her once impressive movement.

Pick: Jovanovski in 3 sets

Kristina Mladenovic vs. Aleksandra Wozniak

Aleksandra Wozniak hasn't played this year and her last event was way back in Quebec City last year. Will she stand a chance against the wildly inconsistent Kristina Mladenovic? Well, it's her first event back and I'm sure Aleks is expecting nothing much. Against someone as aggressive as Kristina, Aleksandra will be expected to make a lot of running. With her injury fresh in her mind, I'm not convinced that Wozniak will be pushing herself too much.

Pick: Mladenovic in 2 sets

Sure win bets: Kiki Bertens, Ksenia Pervak, Kristina Mladenovic
Upset alert: Hsieh Su-Wei, Chanelle Scheepers, Heather Watson

Monday, 18 March 2013

Indian Wells scorecard: Sharapova, the next best thing

A+: Maria Sharapova

Climbs to number 2 with this win, steps up when the higher ranked players fall.

A: Maria Kirilenko

Upsets Dubai champion, Kvitova and outwits Agnieszka Radwanska for a semi-final appearance.

A-: Caroline Wozniacki

Did well to hold off Kerber, but extremely lucky to not face Azarenka

B+: Angelique Kerber

Signalled her return with a semi-final appearance, but lost the momentum against Wozniacki

B: Sara Errani

Proves doubters wrong again but living up to her seeding and putting up a good fight against eventual champion.

B-: Victoria Azarenka

Seemed to be genuinely injured this time. Still managed to defeat Urszula Radwanska on one leg.

C+: Mona Barthel

Insane form against Ana Ivanovic. However, couldn't continue that form against Stosur.

C: Urszula Radwanska

Silenced the hyped up players in Sloane Stephens and Jamie Hampton. Folded like a cheap tent against Azarenka though.

C-: Agnieszka Radwanska

Paying the price for over-playing this year. Falls to a less talented version of herself.

D: Ana Ivanovic

Nervous wreck when facing someone playing well. Looks lost on court with zero plan B.

E: Jelena Jankovic

Won the first set with a bagel but eventually lost the entire match. Just couldn't catch a break even after winning a small title.

F: Yaroslava Shvedova

Winless since Hobart in 2013. Enough said.

Indian Wells: Sharapova claims her title


Maria Sharapova def. Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-2

If there was a match that was never in doubt, it has to be this one. Caroline appearing in the final is a big surprise, but Sharapova routing her in straights is a foregone conclusion even before it began. Maria's game is just too powerful and will rip the Dane's passive game into shreds. Sharapova now has won at least a title since 2003, an impressive feat that only the legends can claim to have. Wozniacki should be counting her lucky stars for this final appearance, as this will keep her in the top 10 for quite a while. However, she only made it this far due to the withdrawal of Azarenka. Let's hope the top girls stay healthy enough to prevent this from happening again.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Indian Wells final: Maria ascends to number 2


Caroline Wozniacki vs. Maria Sharapova

Caroline is back in a premier final! She did well to overcome Kerber despite a late comeback from the German. However, there are still vast improvements that can be made to her game. Look out for Maria to expose those flaws as the Russian will ruthlessly tear the Dane's game apart. Even in their exhibition matches, Sharapova always had a upper hand. So I won't bet against the most famous tennis player in the world. Also, by reaching the final, Sharapova overtakes Victoria as the number 2 player in the world. Well done Maria! :)

Pick: Sharapova in straight sets.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Indian Wells SF: Masha's title to lose

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Angelique Kerber

Both beneficiaries of their quarter-final walkovers, these 2 are the surprise semi-finalist of the top half. When the draw was announced, many predicted these 2 seeds to fall early but they have proven the naysayers wrong. Woznaicki and Kerber do play a similar scrappy game but as a whole, Kerber is more willing to take risks. Another positive for Angelique is that she absolutely owned Wozniacki in 2012, winning all 3 matches. She will be prepared for Caroline unless the Dane changes her game.

Pick: Kerber in 3 sets

Maria Sharapova vs. Maria Kirilenko

A rematch of last year's quarter-finals, Maria Kirilenko attempts to stop Sharapova from winning another Indian Wells title. Kirilenko famously upset Sharapova in Australian Open 2010 but Sharapova was fresh after her shoulder injury. Even last year's 3 set quarter-final match was due to sloppy play from Sharapova. It is needless to say that the match is on the more famous Russian's hands. If Sharapova serves well and dominates with her ground game, Kirilenko has nothing to hurt her. With Azarenka out, this is really Sharapova's title to lose.

Pick: Sharapova in 2 sets

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Indian Wells day 8: Can Kirilenko topple Petra?


Petra Kvitova vs. Maria Kirilenko

Kirilenko wil attempt to beat Petra for the 2nd consecutive time after upsetting her in the important Olympics. Maria is coming off an impressive win over Radwanska and will be very confident of her chances. However, that match was gruelling and Kvitova will be the fresher one. After struggling with form the whole week, Kvitova showed what she's capable of by demolishing Klara Zakopalova. Given the slow conditions of the court, it might favour Kirilenko, but if Petra is patient enough, she can come to the net to knock some winners of it.

Pick: Kvitova in 3 sets

Sara Errani vs. Maria Sharapova

Sara Errani, the ever pesky player, confirms her top 10 spot with a win over Marion Bartoli. However, there's always a player who they just cannot defeat. Errani's nightmare is Maria Sharapova. Sharapova's deep and penetrating groundstrokes went away in her 4th round match's first set. But once it's back, she was absolutely untouchable. Sara won't stand a chance against the relentless ball bashing of the tall Russian.

Pick: Sharapova in 2 easy sets