I have to apologize for going MIA for the past 2 days as I was on a short trip and there was no internet access! Anyway, I''m back just in time for Istanbul!
Victoria Azarenka vs. Sara Errani
Both players are not in good form right now, but Errani is obviously the weaker player. Azarenka suffered early exits in Tokyo and Beijing, but these defeats will only spur her to work harder. Compared to Errani, who is still very prone to being overpowered and currently low on confidence, the Belarussian should be able to cruise through this match.
Pick: Azarenka in 2 sets
Serena Williams vs. Angelique Kerber
Kerber got here under dubious circumstances, getting a wild card where sh wasn't supposed to have under the rules. However, she won Linz and that''s what got her here, so she still deserves to be here. Serena seems to be back in full control as she won Beijing comfortably. If her back holds up well, I do not see anybody stopping her in this tournament. Kerber will be the perfect opponent to hit a lot of balls and get back into match rhythm.
Pick: Serena in 2 sets
Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Petra Kvitova
When Kvitova is hitting her strokes, there is barely anyone who can stop her, including Radwanska. The Czech owns a commanding 4-1 heads to heads lead over the Pole, as well as winning their last encounter in Dubai. Still, Radwanska has a chance as she did defeat Petra last year here in the same round with a straightforward victory. I expect a close fight here with the big hitting Czech signalling her return to form. She seems to be finally connecting the dots again and ready to assaultfor the top spot.
Pick: Kvitova in 3 sets