Friday, 1 March 2013

KL, Florianopolis, Acapulco: Sara to defend her title


Ayumi Morita vs. Karolina Pliskova
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands


Monica Niculescu vs. Olga Puchkova


Sara Errani vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

Match focus:

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Anastasia finally hits her stride here in Kuala Lumpur, destroying Ashleigh Barty in the quarter-finals. She takes on another lowly ranked but dangerous player in Bethanie Mattek-Sands. After her injury, Bethanie has struggled to climb back up the rankings and is languishing in the low 100s now. With this semi-final appearance, she is bound to rise up the rankings. The good thing for the American is that she has nothing to lose. Even if she loses here, she has already gained enough points and not play qualifying for most of the events. She can come out and swing freely. However, I believe Pavlyuchenkova has the game to knock Bethanie out. If she keeps her cool and not be rushed by Bethanie's net-rushing game, she get through comfortably.

Pick: Pavlyuchenkova in 2 sets

Monica Niculescu vs. Olga Puchkova

A few weeks ago, Olga Puchkova was double bagelled in Melbourne. Today, she in a final of a WTA event. Shows how wildly fluctuating this girl's form can be. Olga benefited from Venus's injury but did have a few nice wins of her own. She faced the benchmark girl, Monica Niculescu. Given how badly she has been beaten in her previous final, Puchkova will be eager to improve on that. However, Monica will drive her crazy with her unorthodox game. The Russian might win a few games, but pencil Niculescu in for the win.

Pick: Niculescu in 2 easy sets

Sara Errani vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

These 2 girls meet again. Sara Errani lost the big one in Melbourne but bounced back in Paris, knocking the Spaniard out in 3 close sets. Carla has a more flamboyant game while Errani is very conservative with her style. Suarez Navarro will try to outhit the Italian; which is not an easy thing to do. I miust say that I was wrong about Errani. I thought she's on her way down after abysmal showings in Melbourne and bullshitting her way to the finals of Paris and Dubai. But she's on red clay where she really feels at home and she should be able to defend her title. Carla will not make it easy on Sara, but Errani's mental toughness will tide her through to another mickey mouse title.

Pick: Errani in 3 close sets

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