Saturday, 18 January 2014

Melbourne day 7: 2nd week action begins

Upset of the previous day:

Garbine Muguruza def. Caroline Wozniacki 4-6 7-5 6-3

Seriously, this is getting very common for Wozniacki. Yet another loss to a player who isn't afraid to go for her shots. Wozniacki's aura of an breakable wall has been wrecked. And she's doing nothing to change her game. If her aim now is just to be a top 20 player, she can continue her defensive game. But for someone who was number 1 for a prolonged period of time, this is beyond disappointing. She needs to prioritize and add new dimensions to her game. Just retrieving isn't going to be enough.

Match focus:

Angelique Kerber vs. Flavia Pennetta

Kerber made her name by beating Pennetta in the US Open quarter-finals 3 years ago. Since then, they have been evenly matched, with the heads-to-heads tied at 2-2. Flavia's all court game should be able to beat Kerber, but the German's tenacity is what brings her her wins most of time. Can Pennetta sustain the level long enough to defeat Angelique? If the Italian wins this, it will mark another last 8 appearance in a slam, showing a nice late career revival. For that sake, I hope Flavia wins this.

Pick: Pennetta in 3 sets

Serena Williams vs. Ana Ivanovic

For someone as mentally iffy as Ivanovic, she stands not chance against the supreme Williams. Serena is chasing the record books, and it will take a lot more than Ana to stop her. Serena will be delighted by the cooler conditions, which spells more trouble for the Serbian. The only thing Ana can do is to hope she doesn't get totally humiliated.

Pick: Williams in 2 sets

Casey Dellacqua vs. Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard will like her chances of reaching her first quarter-final here in Melbourne. Casey Dellacqua is in fine form, but the Canadian's game should be enough to take out the gutsy Aussie. The only thing Eugenie needs to take care is her mental toughness. The crowd will be wholly behind Casey, so she needs to shut them off and play her game. If she plays to her normal standard, she will announce her arrival in the big leagues here.

Pick: Bouchard in 2 sets

Li Na vs. Ekaterina Makarova

Following her comical win over Safarova, I'm sure Li Na spent the next day just hitting balls after balls. Li Na got her bad day off her back, so I expect a smoother ride here. Beside, Makarova mirrors Safarova's game, so I expect her to edge this out one as well. Makarova will need to hope Li puts another stinker of a performance, and she needs to take her chances and take the initiative now. She has a chance, but I still believe the Chinese will come through.

Pick: Li in 3 tight sets

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