Friday, 17 January 2014

Melbourne day 6: Gutsy Garbine or Cool Caroline

Upset of the previous day:

Casey Dellacqua def. Zheng Jie 6-2 6-4

The Aussie heat claims another victim as Zheng Jie falls victim to resurgent Casey Dellacqua. The Aussie thrives in the heat, as the Chinese wilted in the cruel sun. Still, there are positives to take from this tournament for Zheng. She was barely winning anything before this tournament, but captured great wins over Madison Keys and Roberta Vinci. She just needs to build up her confidence again and start becoming the giant killer that she was.

Schedule of play:

Match focus:

Alize Cornet vs. Maria Sharapova

Sharapova was just lucky to escape from her performance against Knapp. She will be in the heat again as she opens up day 6 in Rod Laver Arena. Alize herself was embroiled in a tug of war with Giorgi, so both should know what it is like to play under the extreme conditions. Maria will no doubt be practicing her butt off after that horror show, and will have a point to prove. Alize will need to weather the storm and make Sharapova hit that extra ball. The Russian is shaky, but it'll take more than Alize to topple her mental strength.

Pick: Sharapova in 3 sets

Garbine Muguruza vs. Caroline Wozniacki

Garbine is on a red hot streak but will she have what it takes to topple the ever steady Wozniacki? Muguruza has the game that Caroline detests. A huge serve with big groundstrokes, the Spaniard can overpower the Dane no matter how many balls she manages to retrieve. The thing that separates these two is the belief. Muguruza is slowly getting there, and it'll be a sign of things to come if she can defeat the steady Dane. Wozniacki will need to play inspired tennis to stop the in form Garbine.

Pick: Muguruza in 3 sets

Sloane Stephens vs. Elina Svitolina

Sloane Stephens did not improve on her first round performance, and was almost knocked out of the tournament by Tomljanovic. She will need to return to her best form against Svitolina, who is poised for a breakthrough. This will be a test of Svitolina's belief. Does she believe that she's a world beater? Or is she content with being a top 30 player? Sloane's belief got her through her first 2 matches. If Elina wants this more than Sloane, she can win this and announce her arrival to the tennis world. However, somehow, I believe Sloane will edge Elina out.

Pick: Stephens in 3 tight sets

Sure win bets: Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Simona Halep
Upset alert: Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens

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