Monday, 10 February 2014

Doha day 2: The main action starts

Schedule of play:

Match focus:

Ana Ivanovic vs. Daniela Hantuchova

Ana Ivanovic looks to be revived after her impressive win over Serena Williams. She will be fully confident against old rival, Daniela Hantuchova. These 2 have a long history, with Hantuchova accusing Ana of cheating in their Australian Open semi-final back in 2008. Despite that, Daniela has been unable to beat Ana on any other surface other than grass. I don't expect this to change here. Ana's resurgence will continue, and Daniela will continue her mediocre results.

Pick: Ivanovic in 2 sets

Eugenie Bouchard vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands

I have a soft spot for Genie as she came down here to Singapore to promote the Year-End Championships. However, I do think that the attention drawn to her is too much too soon. She may have impressive wins over the past 6 months, but the media attention and touting her to be the next-best-thing might be detrimental to her. She will face the tricky Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who just beat her in Sydney earlier this year. This will be a good test of Genie's maturity. If she wins this, she will show the world that she's capable of handling the extra attention. If not, maybe she needs to tone down the media hype and focus on her game more.

Pick: Mattek-Sands in 2 tight sets

Dominika Cibulkova vs. Alisa Kleybanova

Another case of handling the hype after her grand slam success, Dominika choked a tight match against Petkovic in Fed Cup just last week. Can she handle the pressure of being hunted? She has a relatively soft opening in Kleybanova despite the Russian owning a 2-0 heads to heads lead. I cannot really judge Alisa's form as I haven't seen any of her matches since her comeback. It's hard to gauge how much she has regressed from her former self. I believe the old Alisa would have a chance of blasting Cibulkova's serves for winners. Now, I'm not too sure. Heart says Kleybanova, but my head says Cibulkova.

Pick: Cibulkova in 2 sets

Sure win bets: Samantha Stosur, Karolina Pliskova, Monica Niculescu
Upset alert: Kirsten Flipkens, Klara Zakopalova, Kaia Kanepi