Monday, 20 January 2014

Melbourne QF: Surprises in store?

Upset of the previous day:

Dominika Cibulkova def. Maria Sharapova 3-6 6-4 6-1

Horrific, just horrific play from the Russian. Dominika didn't have to do much as the Russian sprayed errors all over the court. Maria has revealed that she is affected by a strained hip, which is unfortunate. Under normal cirumstances, like the first set, Sharapova would have cruised. Nevertheless, Cibulkova asserted herself well, didn't panic when she dropped a huge lead in the 2nd set. She has now finally reached the last 8 in all 4 majors. Not too shabby for someone whose highest ranked isn't even in the top 10.

Match focus:

Flavia Pennetta vs. Li Na

These 2 players are only born one day apart, but their careers are frankly miles away. Pennetta's form has been dazzling, apart from the second set hiccup against Kerber. Does she have what it takes to beat the formidable Chinese? The pair has played 3 times and surprisingly, Flavia leads 2-1. All the encounters happened on Australian soil and this will mark the 4th time they'll be playing in Australia. Flavia won their latest encounter in 2010, but since then Li has matured into a slam champion. Pennetta's game can trouble Li, but she needs to apply pressure constantly, which is difficult for the veteran.

Pick: Li in 3 tight sets

Ana Ivanovic vs. Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie started her rapid rise up the rankings with an upset win over Ana in Wimbledon last year. Can she do the same against the Serb who is heavily favoured to win? The one thing that is going Eugenie's way is that nobody is placing any expectations on her. Reaching her first quarter-final is already a milestone. Whereas Ana has the weight of the world on her following her upset win over Serena Williams. Will the flaky Ana make a comeback? Or will the mentally strong former world number 1 make a return. I am still not very convinced that Ana is ready to make it back into the big leagues. An upset here wouldn't be surprising.

Pick: Bouchard in 3 sets

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