Sunday, 2 June 2013

Roland Garros day 9: Jankovic's back

Upset of the previous day:

Svetlana Kuznetsova def. Angelique Kerber 6-4 4-6 6-3

Well, this is not really an upset considering Kuznetsova's credentials here but you know Kerber will fight to the bitter end. Eventually, Svetlana stopped her mental walkabout and came back strong to win this match. Kuznetsova became more patient and despite Kerber's best efforts, the Russian had too much game for her. Well done on another quarter-final appearance.

Match focus:

Francesca Schiavone vs. Victoria Azarenka

Familiar hunting ground for the Italian, Azarenka has to be careful. If she lets her guard down, she might very well be sent home at this stage again. Azarenka is obviously not at peak form, losing a set to Cornet. She needs to be more patient and not pull the trigger too early. This is the perfect match to practice this as Schiavone will scramble all day long. It will be a tough and long fight, but I believe Azarenka has too much belief and firepower for the veteran.

Pick: Azarenka in 3 sets

Sloane Stephens vs. Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova's march to the title seems to be smooth sailing. Sloane Stephens has a good and handy game, but it's not enough to topple the mighty Russian. Despite having upset Serena in Melbourne, Sloane's not ready for the pressure as a top player yet, evidenced by her dismal results after Australian Open. She can give Maria a run for her money, but Maria should emerge the victor.

Pick: Sharapova in 2 sets

Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. Maria Kirilenko

Bethanie's aggressive game paid huge dividends here in Paris. Can she notch another upset? Kirilenko's steady game is a perfect test for the American. The Russian isn't going to give her cheap points and Bethanie needs to know which shot to attack. Both will be hungry for their first quarter-final appearance here so I expect these ladies to give their all. I would love to see Mattek-Sands upset another player but Kirilenko should come through.

Pick: Kirilenko in 2 tight sets

Jamie Hampton vs. Jelena Jankovic

The Serbian is finally showing signs of her old form as she impressively took down Stosur. She will be the firm favourite here against Jamie Hampton As much as I like Jamie, Kvitova basically hit herself off the court in her previous match. This will not happen here against Jankovic. The Serb will dictate points with her crosscourt backhand and Hampton needs to be ready for it. The only way Jamie is going to win this is hope that Jelena has an off day and she can get the first strike with hr forehand. If they get into a backhand battle, Jankovic will emerge 9 out of 10 times.

Pick: Jankovic in 2 sets

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