Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Doha day 4: Lower seeds all ousted

Yesterday featured an absolute carnage of the lower seeds, denying us of several mouth-watering clashes. Nevertheless, there are still some matches which might whet your appetite.

Schedule of play:

Match focus:

Petra Kvitova vs. Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova must be suffering the effects from a long drawn Fed Cup weekend. The Czechs were delayed by rain in Spain, and only finished the tie on Monday. Showing no signs of fatigue yet, Lucie battled her way into the 3rd round. However, she will surely feel the effects against a well-rested fellow Czech who skipped Fed Cup. Kvitova fought her way through a tough Williams, and will be the favourite against the lesser version of her. I believe these 2 know each other's games inside out, and Petra will against prevail against Lucie to increase the heads to heads to 3-0. One thing's for sure, there will not be a lot of finesse and touch shots in this match.

Pick: Kvitova in 2 sets.

Alisa Klaybanova vs. Jelena Jankovic

Alisa signals her impressive comeback with a steady win over Voegele. However, Stephanie seemed to be bothered by an illness at the end of the match, so I wouldn't say that Kleybanova's fully back to her 2010 form yet. This will be the pair's 7th meeting, and the winner can claim the lead in the heads to heads. I would definitely give Alisa the edge in 2010, but she did lose to Jankovic last year in US Open. Jankovic does have the tendency to be too tentative though, so Alisa needs to apply pressure on her and just go for her shots. I hope this will be a close match, even if Kleybanova loses in the end, so that she can gauge her level now.

Pick: Jankovic in 3 sets

Yanina Wickmayer vs. Jana Cepelova

The only match to feature 2 unseeded players, one of them will advance to the quarter-finals of this Premier event. Yanina has been out of the spotlight for quite sometime, so it's heartening to see some fight left in her after subduing the tireless Wozniacki. What's more impressive is that she didn't let her recent poor form and abysmal record against the Dane bother her. Maybe the Belgian is back. Cepelova is also coming off an impressive win over Stosur, but we all know if Sam plays badly, she can be REALLY bad. Yanina just needs to continue her game against Cepelova and it will be enough. I believe she has the experience to come through, giving her a much needed confidence boost.

Pick: Wickmayer in 2 sets

Sure win bets: Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber
Upset alert: Jelena Jankovic

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