Wednesday, 27 August 2014

US Open day 4: Shaky Azarenka in doubt

Upset of the previous day:

Peng Shuai def. Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3 6-4

 There's something about New York that just doesn't gel well with Agnieszka. Of all of her appearances here, she has never made it past the 4th round, which is shocking given her first real breakthrough was here when she shocked Sharapova. While Peng is a capable player, able to cause real trouble on her day, Radwanska should have used her craft to move Peng around. Just a very weird and abnormal display from the 4th seed. Maybe she just doesn't have what it takes to win a major.

Schedule of play:

Match focus:

Christina McHale vs. Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka struggled against a lowly ranked Doi in her first round, and will face a sterner test against American McHale. Christina enjoys homeground advantage, and if there's a chance for an upset, it is now. Victoria has lost her groove on her service, and is leaking double faults on crucial moments. Christina will need to be steady, and let Victoria earn her points. If she can make it tight, Azarenka might break. Still, I think McHale doesn't have the mental fortitude to finish the job.

Pick: Azarenka in 3 sets

Sorana Cirstea vs. Eugenie Bouchard

Just when you classify Sorana Cirstea as a walking bye, she astonishes everyone with a drubbing of Heather Watson. While the Brit is no world beater, Sorana was clinical in her disposal of her opponent. Against Bouchard, Cirstea does stand a chance. The Canadian barely won matches in her lead up to US Open, and might be feeling the pressure. If Sorana gets the lead early, she has a good chance of causing the upset. As always, you'll never know which Cirstea will show up though.

Pick: Bouchard in 3 sets

Marina Erakovic vs. Elena Vesnina

Svetlana really should be punishing herself now for not taking her chance with a wide open draw. Marina fought to the bitter end, and deserves her spot in the 2nd round. Elena Vesnina has not had a good year after her breakthrough last year. This is a good chance to salvage some of her pride as she attempts to reach the 3rd round in a slam for the first time this year. Both players are pretty evenly matched, with their head-to-head tied at 2-2. I believe though that Erakovic has the bigger win, and should be more confident of her chances. Vesnina hasn't had a notable win for quite a while, so she's in danger.

Pick: Erakovic in 3 sets

Samantha Stosur vs. Kaia Kanepi

Kaia seems to be back with her straightforward win over Parmentier, and she stands a good chance against Stosur. The tall Estonian can counter Samantha's kick serve with her powerful strokes. Kaia just needs to have the belief and make Stosur hit that extra ball. Kanepi has made known that she won't be on tour for long due to a chronic heel injury, so I hope she gets her last hurrah here. Kaia has been very unlucky with her injuries, and would have definitely be ranked higher if not for her constant disruptions.

Pick: Kanepi in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Serena Williams, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Ekaterina Makarova, Petra Kvitova
Upset alert: Zarina Diyas, Samantha Stosur, Elena Vesnina, Carla Suarez Navarro

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