Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Baku day 4: Where the real action is

Schedule of play:

Match focus:

Sorana Cirstea vs. Stefanie Voegele

Compared to yesterday's matches, today's matches are more interesting, with several title hopefuls in contention. Top seed Cirstea will be looking to advance to her first quarter-final this year and break out of her horrible slump. The Romanian has been lacklustre this whole season, and it's good to see her play lower tier events to gain confidence. Voegele's game is pretty much reactive, so if Cirstea can keep her errors low, she has a high chance of defeating the Swiss. Knowing Cirstea though, she will make things difficult for herself.

Pick: Cirstea in 3 sets

Kristina Mladenovic vs. Donna Vekic

This match of the rising stars pits Mladenovic against Kuala Lumpur titlist, Vekic. Kristina has been on a roll lately, reaching the semi-finals of Istanbul last week. She will be the favourite here despite her lower ranking. Vekic was expected to perform great things after her triumph in Kuala Lumpur, but failed to gain any momentum after that. Perhaps it's due to the weight of expectations on her young shoulders. It will be a good win if Vekic manages to beat Kristina, but the erratic Donna needs to get a few wins under her belt to get rolling.

PickL Mladenovic in 3 sets

Silvia Soler Espinosa vs. Elina Svitolina

Defending champion Svitolina has had a rough couple of months. She had some weird losses to players she's supposed to cruise by, so Elina's form is suspect. However, as this is played on hard courts, the Ukrainian will still have the advantage. Silvia's scrappy game works best on slow clay courts, and will find it difficult to track down so many of Elina's flat shots. Maybe we'll have a multiple Baku champion here.

Pick: Svitolina in 2 sets

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