Thursday, 16 January 2014

Melbourne day 5: Will Stosur live up to Aussie hopes?

Upset of the previous day:

Kurumi Nara def. Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4 6-3

After her impressive dismantling of Petkovic, Rybarikova took a tumble against the diminutive Kurumi Nara. The Slovak's record in majors remain extremely disappointing, and she wastes her chance to live up to her seeding for once. Rybarikova needs to get it together for the events that matter, not tournaments that lead up to the slams. If she can string together her good form in a major, she should be a steady top 25 player.

Schedule of play:

Match focus:

Smanatha Stosur vs. Ana Ivanovic

The match most people will be focusing on is this closely contested match between fan favourite Ana Ivanovic, and hometown hope, Samantha Stosur. Stosur actually leads their heads to heads at 4-3, but she's a complete headcase in Australia. However, she showed that her head is back in the game with her demolition job of Pironkova, so Ivanovic better be careful. Ana will need to remain mentally tough and not let the home support get to her. If she can grind down Stosur and make her mishit a few balls, she can win this match.

Pick: Ivanovic in 3 sets

Zheng Jie vs. Casey Dellacqua

Out of nowhere, Zheng Jie strings together 2 good matches to reach the third round of Melbourne. There must be something she really like about this place as she made the semifinals here a few years ago. She will be facing Aussie hope, Casey Dellacqua, who is on her comeback trail. There's no doubt who the crowd will be cheering for, but Zheng Jie thrives under such pressure. Her short swings suit the fast bouncing surface of Melbourne. Casey will need to carry on her form, but I guess she will be distracted by the media attention on her and falter here.

Pick: Zheng in 3 sets

Angelique Kerber vs. Alison Riske

Kerber was almost swept away by Gajdosova's crazy hitting, but she recovered well to brave out the win. That is what she's going to do to Riske as well. Alison's aggressive game is set up by her big serve. If Kerber can put enough returns in court, Riske will be flustered and make the errors. The danger for Kerber is that she's almost powerless when her opponent is disticting play and making the winners. But I'm sure the pesky German will outlast Riske's risky play.

Pick: Kerber in 2 sets

Sure win bets: Eugenie Bouchard, Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber
Upset alert: Li Na, Flavia Pennetta

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