Thursday, 28 August 2014

US Open day 5: Venus's golden opportunity

Upset of the day:

Karolina Pliskova def. Ana Ivanovic 7-5 6-4

Ana's grand slam woes continues as she crashes out to her earliest defeat in majors this year to Karolina Pliskova. While the Czech is no pushover, as the tour leading player with the most wins, I expected Ivanovic to win this. As usual, the jittery and inconsistent Ana showed up, and Karolina was steady enough to cause the upset. This will cause a huge dent to Ana's chances of qualifying for Singapore. She will have to make it up with a congested fall schedule, which may result in another burnout.

Schedule of play:

Match focus:

Sara Errani vs. Venus Williams

Playing arguably her best tennis since her auto-immune diagnosis, this is Venus' golden chance to stay in the draw for the second week. Errani has had a horrific US Open swing, and barely made it against journeywoman Rodionova. Venus' power should be able to derail the pesky Italian, as long as she doesn't make silly mistakes. With the US crowd firmly behind her, an upset is likely here.

Pick: Williams in 2 sets

Maria Sharapova vs. Sabine Lisicki

Sharapova played an ultimate atrocious match in her 2nd round, and was only able to squeak through a lowly ranked Dulgheru. If she continues playing that badly, Lisicki will make her pay. The German's serve is already a weapon, but coupled with Maria's unstable serve, the match might be over soon if Sabine finds her range. However, being the tour's biggest fighter, Sabine might falter when nearing the finish line. So be prepared for a topsy turvy match.

Pick: Sharapova in 3 sets

Roberta Vinci vs. Peng Shuai

Confidence is a funny thing. When you just caused the biggest upset of tournament, can you carry the momentum forward to your next match? Peng will have to answer this question as she attempts to replicate the form that destroyed Radwanska. Vinci reached the quarter-finals here last year, but is plagued by bad form throughout the year. If Peng imposes her powerful game, it will be a straightforward victory for the Chinese. The trick for Peng is to concentrate on this match and not look ahead. She tends to overthink, causing her to lose matches and countless title matches.

Pick: Peng in 3 sets

Andrea Petkovic vs. Caroline Wozniacki

Wozniacki had a minor incident with her hair in her 2nd round match, but was straightforward in her dismissal of Sasnovich. She didn't need to get into second gear in fact. But against the dangerous Petkovic, she will have to play her best. While the German hasn't enjoyed the easiest wins so far, she tends to raise her level against quality opponents. It will be a close fight, but I believe Caroline's recent fine form will gain her the victory.

Pick: Wozniacki in 2 tight sets

Sure win bets: Simona Halep, Jelena Jankovic, Angelique Kerber
Upset alert: Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci, Lucie Safarova

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