Monday, 17 February 2014

Dubai, Rio day 2: Serena back in action

Dubai schedule of play:

Rio schedule of play:

Match focus:

Serena Williams vs. Ekaterina Makarova

World number 1 Serena Williams takes a last minute wildcard to enter Dubai and she faces the tricky Makarova in her first match. The Russian is on a winning streak, clinching the title in Pattaya. Can she upset Serena again like she did in 2012 Australian Open. It has to be noted that Serena was bothered by an injury in her loss, and if she's still hampered by her back injury, Makarova will make her pay. I believe Serena isn't one to rush things, so she should be able to get through this. 

Pick: Serena in 2 sets

Angelique Kerber vs. Ana Ivanovic 

Doha finalist Kerber will take on the dangerous Ana Ivanovic in her opening match. The Serbian leads the heads to heads 3-2, but Kerber has won the last two meetings on hard courts. Ana tends to panic when playing players who make her hit that extra shot. So Kerber will be sure to scramble around the court tirelessly. The only fear for Angelique is that she has played for consecutively three weeks, Fed Cup, Doha and Dubai. Maybe fatigue will set in and Ana might benefit from it. 

Pick: Kerber in 3 sets

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Sabine Lisicki

Troubled Wozniacki will face another big hitter in Sabine Lisicki. The Dane has been losing left and right to power hitters and she's going to be in real trouble against the bombastic German. The only thing Caroline can hope for is a meltdown from Lisicki. The emotional German tends to break down when things don't go her way. However, coupled with Wozniacki's total lack of form, the German should be able to cause the upset. 

Pick: Lisicki in 2 sets

Francesca Schiavone vs. Lourdes Dominguez Lino

A brand new tournament in Rio didn't attract many top players, maybe because  playing a clay court event before Indian Wells and Miami wasn't that good an idea. Anyway, two clay court specialist veterans will clash for the 6th time and it looks like another Schiavone victory again. The Italian has never lost to the Spaniard and it's hard to see this changing. Francesca should be able to pick up her first win this year, and maybe a chance to hoist the trophy at the end of the week. 

Pick: Schiavone in 2 sets

Sure win bets: Jelena Jankovic, Samantha Stosur, Vania King
Upset alert: Kirsten Flipkens, Caroline Wozniacki, Barbora Strycova Zahlavova

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