Thursday, 13 February 2014

Doha QF: Li and Wozniacki out of the party

With only Li and Wozniacki failing to reach the quarters, the last 4 matches promise to be nail biting affairs.

Match focus:

Petra Cetkovska vs. Angelique Kerber

Cetkovska produced stunning tennis to knock out the reigning Australian Open champion, Li Na. It's heartening to see the Czech playing to her abilities now that her injuries are healed. However, she will have her hands full with Kerber. The pesky German will run down every single shot that Petra throw at her. And the cool and heavy conditions favour defensive players like Kerber. Petra needs to play deep balls and get to the net to finish the points. Easier said than done.

Pick: Kerber in 2 tight sets

Petra Kvitova vs. Jelena Jankovic

Petra Kvitova continues to live her life on the edge with another 3 set win over Safarova. The problem with Kvitova is that she loses her concentration too often and expends unnecessary energy going into 3 set matches. Against someone like Jankovic who can run all day, she may get into trouble. If Kvitova is clicking, nothing Jelena can do will derail the Kvitova express. The Serbian needs to hope that Petra is tired and a little off her timing. I do think that Petra will keep it simple this time though, being the favourite of the top half now.

Pick: Kvitova in 2 sets

Simona Halep vs. Sara Errani

This match is tough to call since Simona has improved leaps and bounds since last year. Their only meeting was in Miami 2013, where Halep was destroyed by Errani. Will history repeat itself? Or can the enhanced Halep get her first win over the Italian? Given that these two players play a similar game, it's very difficult to choose who has the edge. Errani did struggle against Niculescu, but so did Halep against Kanepi. Whoever is the victor, you can expect long drawn rallies with both players running all over the court.

Pick: Errani in 3 tight sets

Yanina Wickmayer vs. Agnieszka Radwanska

This match is almost cast in stone with a Radwanska victory. Wickmayer's last win over Agnieszka was way back in 2010, and she barely clinched the win. Since then, it has been straightforward victories for the Pole. I don't expect a meltdown like in Melbourne, since this is a smaller event with less pressure on Radwanska.

Pick: Radwanska in 2 sets

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