Sunday, 31 August 2014

US Open day 8: Makarova for the surprise

Upset of the previous day:

Belinda Bencic def. Jelena Jankovic 7-6(6) 6-3

The bottom half of the draw has officially collapsed with the higher seeds all dropping out. Sharapova was the highest ranked player to lose, but Jankovic's loss was more shocking. The Serbian has been on fire for the past week, but ran out of ideas against the feisty Bencic. The Swiss had an answer to everything Jelena threw at her, and saved 2 set points in the first set. This is a golden opportunity wasted by Jelena, where she had the chance to advance to the final. Peng, Bencic, Errani and Wozniacki are the 4 players who have the chance to make the finals. What a turn of event.

Schedule of play:

Match focus:

Flavia Pennetta vs. Casey Dellacqua

While Pennetta isn't playing the best tennis of her life, she was helped by the crazy upsets that happened throughout the tournament. Casey Dellacqua will be making her 4th round debut in US Open, and will no doubt be nervous about the match. Flavia, the seasoned veteran, will just need to keep her calm and let Casey's nerves get the best of her. If the Italian plays her steady game, she will get through without much fuss.

Pick: Pennetta in 2 sets

Serena Williams vs. Kaia Kanepi

Serena was tested by Lepchenko, but played well enough to subdue the tricky lefty. Kanepi's game is not as varied as Lepchenko, so Serena should be more used to Kaia's game. The Estonian has a dangeous game when it's on, but her mental game is fried whenever she faces top players. I don't expect a surprise here. Kaia might gain a lead early, but squander it when Serena raises her level.

Pick: Williams in 2 sets

Aleksandra Krunic vs. Victoria Azarenka

Aleksandra Krunic faces classic ball bashers in her previous matches, but she will be severely tested against Azarenka. The Belarussian can belt the ball, but she does it with a good margin. Victoria's safe but powerful game will definitely be difficult for Krunic to counter, who has been thriving off her opponents' errors. No fairtale ending for the young Serbian this time.

Pick: Azarenka in 2 sets

Ekaterina Makarova vs. Eugenie Bouchard

For 2 matches in a row, Bouchard struggled against her opponents. Makarova has been playing well this summer, and will not let Eugenie off the hook like her previous opponents. The Russian will need to serve well and punish the Canadian's weak 2nd serve for winners. If she keeps an aggressive mindset, Eugenie cannot get out of jail this time.

Pick: Makarova in 3 sets

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