Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Dubai, Rio day 3: Doha woes for Dubai

Yesterday saw the 2 finalists of Doha crash out as Halep retired tamely to Alize Cornet, while Kerber lost a heartbreaker to Ana Ivanovic. Maybe playing these 2 tournaments back to back wasn't such a good idea.

Dubai schedule of play:


Rio schedule of play:


Match focus:

Ana Ivanovic vs. Venus Williams

A rematch of the Auckland final in January, Venus and Ana will clash as these 2 former world number 1s attempt to regain their former glory. Venus was impressive in her demolition of Vesnina, not letting the Russian bother her and hitting her serves to great effect. This bodes well against Ana, as Venus's problem now is she tries to overdo things. If the American plays steady by aggressive tennis, Ana will hit the panic mode and hit crazy unforced errors. Besides, Ana barely survived her match against Kerber, so she might be a bit tired physically and mentally.

Pick: Venus in 2 sets

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Annika Beck

A rematch of last year's Luxembourg final, Wozniacki will take on the improving Annika Beck for a place in the quarter-finals. Beck has already accounted for 2 top 20 players in Eugenie Bouchard and Samantha Stosur. Looks like the German's game has matured much more since last year. Wozniacki was lucky to have escaped Lisicki, as the German went AWOL again after clinching the first set. This definitely won't happen to Beck, whose steady though unspectacular game will not break down. Annika is the more aggressive player, but then anyone playing Wozniacki will be, so it will her her dictating the points. Sadly, Beck doesn't have a killer shot to end the points, so I believe Wozniacki will survive to live another day.

Pick: Wozniacki in 2 tight sets

Petra Kvitova vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

Predicting a match with Kvitova in it is like trying to strike lottery. You'll never know the outcome and can only pray and hope for the best. The Czech is horribly inconsistent for a top player, and strings together impressive wins and drops a few ghastly losses in between. Carla trails the heads to heads 1-5, but I won't count her out, as Kvitova might just hit herself off the court these days. Carla needs to keep the ball low with her slices, and annoy the Czech with her endless retrieving. If Kvitova's footwork is not there, she tends to spray the balls all over. It will be tough, but I do believe an upset here is possible. The only thing is, Carla's not a mental giant, so even if she gets into a lead, she might blow it.

Pick: Kvitova in 3 tight sets

Sure win bets: Agnieszka Radwanska, Sara Errani, Alison Van Uytvanck
Upset alert: Ana Ivanovic, Kirsten Flipkens

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