samedi 7 janvier 2012

Apia International 2012 Preview : Main Draw and Predictions

The Sydney Premier event is one of the strongest in this beginning of the year as the top players want to get ready for the Australian Open, the upcoming week. In fact, appart from Maria Sharapova, still recovering from an ankle injury, all the Top 10 is present in Sydney to try to play some matches and to get some confidence before the first Slam of the year. Last Year, Li Na, won there against Kim Clijsters in the final, which was the beginning of a great season for the chinese player. But, now Let's take a look first at the draw

(1/DEN) Caroline Wozniacki vs BYE
(SVK) Dominika Cibulkova vs (CHN) Shuai Peng 
(RUS) Anasatasia Pavlyuchenkova vs (GER) Andrea Petkovic 
QUALIFIER vs (7/POL) Agniezska Radwanska

(3/BLR) Victoria Azarenka vs QUALIFIER
(SRB) Jelena Jankovic vs (GER) Julia Goerges
(WC/AUS) Jelena Dokic vs (WC/AUS) Isabella Holand 
QUALIFIER vs (8/FRA) Marion Bartoli

(6/RUS) Vera Zvonareva vs (RUS) Svetlana Kuznetsova
(CZE) Lucie Safarova vs (SRB) Ana Ivanovic
(ITA) Flavia Pennetta vs QUALIFIER

(5/AUS) Samantha Stosur vs (ITA) Francesca Schiavone 
(ITA) Roberta Vinci vs (SVK) Daniela Hantuchova 
QUALIFIER vs (GER) Sabine Lisicki 
BYE vs (2/CZE) Petra Kvitova

Interesting 1st rounds matchs-up 

(SVK) Dominika Cibulkova vs (CHN) Shuai Peng 

Two players who are really able to pull out big upsets and play great tennis when they are on. Shuai Peng is back from injury and played a strong first half of season in 2011, she's got a lot of points to defend while Dominika have beatten Caroline Wozniacki, the world number one, in Sydney, in the second round. This match will be a great test for the chinese player who will figure out how much she still have to work to be back to the level she had. Dominika Cibulkova is indeed, one of the solidest and steadiest players on tour, no doubt she'll force Shuai to play strongly to beat her. The play should be around who will be the best at backhand as it's both ladies' biggest weapon on court. The player who will make the other hit the extra shot will probably take this one. 

Prediction : Dominika Cibulkova in two sets

 (RUS) Anasatasia Pavlyuchenkova vs (GER) Andrea Petkovic
 A good opposition to start with for both ladies who have been upset by the same Kaia Kanepi in Brisbane and had not the occasion to face each other. But here it is. Andrea Petkovic always got a quite good level during matches, she's very solid and stable from the baseline. Most of all, she's got a quality that Anastasia yet lacks of : regularity. Even when her level drops, Andrea Petkovic still has a minimum that allows her to win matches while Pavlyuchenkova, when she's off, can lose to anyone. It will really depend on how Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova shows up, if she plays good she should take this match. Let's bet on it, with her powerful backhand she'll force Andrea to defend from the baseline , but the german won't make it any easier... 

Prediction : Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets 

 (SRB) Jelena Jankovic vs (GER) Julia Goerges
Two talented ladies are going to face each other during this first round : both Jelena and Julia got a great tennis even though their style are very different. While Julia is a grinder from the baseline who hits the ball flat, hard and deep, Jelena really knows to do everything with the ball and prefer to stay behind the baseline striking and defending her side. The one who will take advantage will be the one who will make the less errors and the one who will also take chances when they will be some. By the way, Jelena's tennis seemed to improve from last year, during the Brisbane tournament and we hope this dynamic will keep on and that she'll play a good tournament in order to get right in track for the Australian Open ! Julia will count on her awesome forehand, on her solid serve and her sense of game, she's lived a great 2011 season and has to confirm this year. She's got what it takes to beat Jelena but will she handle the preassure out there ? 

Prediction : Jelena Jankovic in three sets

(6/RUS) Vera Zvonareva vs (RUS) Svetlana Kuznetsova
All Russian match between Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Svetlana has been struggling with herslef for two year now and I can't see her coming back on track, even though she had a run until the semi-finals at Auckland last week. In fact, her tennis collapses when she faces a solid tennis player who can hit one more single shot again and again and this is exactly what Vera Zvonareva does the best. We can count on Vera when it's about being regular and steady because all her game is based on those two qualities that could make her prevail. 

Prediction : Vera Zvonareva in two sets 

(CZE) Lucie Safarova vs (SRB) Ana Ivanovic

Those two players are one of the most talented of their generation, Ana showed it by winning Roland Garros three years ago... Then nothing, or almost... Ana, when her forehand is on can beat anyone, when she hits deeply and hard she's one of the best in the world while Lucie's left-hand is one of the best out there. She's able to do whatever she wants with the ball and, when she's on, produce one of the cleanest ball striking but she's way too iregular... Her left hand will make her find Ivanovic's forehand on her backhand which could cause some troubles

Prediction : Ana Ivanovic in three set

Predictions for the title : Petra Kvitova, Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka
Outsiders : Sabine Lisicki, Vera Zvonareva, Caroline Wozniacki, Marion Bartoli
Able to make big surprises : Jelena Dokic, Dominika Cibulkova, Daniela Hantuchova

vendredi 6 janvier 2012

Brisbane International Final Preview : Daniela Hantuchova vs Kaia Kanepi

Kaia Kanepi's forehand, a strong weapon that can sometimes, collapse (Brisbane, Australia)
Sorry for this little absence, been busy with exams and I work on that blog on my own. I bet you already know everything about Brisbane's result of the week, about both Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams getting injuried during matches. I really hope both will be able to compete at their best during the Australian Open. However, Daniela Hantuchova's been lucky on her way to the final, because of both Serena and Kim's retirement she had on her way to the final while Kaia Kanepi had to fight at a great level to win against players such as Andrea Petkovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Francesca Schiavone.

Tomorrow, those both ladies will compete in order to win the first Premier Tournament of the year. No doubt they will try all their best to do so. By the way, the objective is also about getting (well) seeded at the Australian Open. In fact, this will be the last week before seeding and it would be a great way for both to improve their rankings.

If Daniela Hantuchova wins the tournament she'd reach the 21th spot at the WTA Rankings while Kaia Kanepi would grab the 26th if she somehow manages to win the title. This shows that both ladies are approximately at the same level in term of rankings. But what about game ?  I know that Kaia Kanepi played solid tennis in order to reach the final, she's been really mentally strong and sometimes, tennistically, impressive but I still believe that Daniela Hantuchova got all what it takes in her racquet to clinch the Brisbane title.  In fact, while Kanepi hits the ball really flat and hard, Daniela knows to do a bit more with the ball and hits more pure and much cleaner baseline storkes. She'll have to try to set up the game around her forehand, which, for me, when, it's on, is her best shot, by faf. It's anyway,  her match to win or to lose, and I think she'll take her chance and win it in a tough three-setter as Kaia Kanepi will be here and play a great tennis during the final.

This final could be really important for Daniela Hantuchova. In fact, she's the kind of player with a really fragile confidence but that could also be highly boosted with a big title, like the Brisbane International. This is already a big moment for Daniela as, if she manages to hold her nerves and to win this. Actually, I can see this potential title being a start to a really strong season to one of the most talented players on the tour...
Daniela Hantuchova focussing on the ball (Brisbane, Australia)

lundi 2 janvier 2012

Brisbane International : Second Round Preview

First round is over in Brisbane and there was no big suprises, except maybe Benesova beating Safarova, I mean, I was a little bit suprised and of course Bratchikov's breakthrough beating Klara Zakopalova.  Now, Let's head onto to the second round. Let's first take a look at the 2nd round draw


(1/AUS) S.Stosur vs (CZE) I.Benesova
(SRB) A.Ivanovic vs (BEL/5) K.Clijsters
(USA/4) S.Williams vs  (SRB) B.Jovanovski
(USA) V. King vs (SVK) D.Hantuchova 
(SRB) J.Jankovic vs (RUS) N.Bratchikov 
(KAZ) G.Voskoboeva vs (ITA) F.Schiavone 
(RUS) A. Pavlyuchenkova vs (EST) K.Kanepi 
(CZE) B. Zahlavova vs (GER) A.Petkovic

Interesting 2nd Rounds match-ups

(SRB) Ana Ivanovic vs (BEL/5) Kim Clijsters
One of the most interesting match-ups in this 2nd round. Kim Clijsters is coming back from injury and played a quite strong tennis in order to win the first round while Ana Ivanovic came up strong too at the end of the year to clinch the Bali Masters. If both players are able to produce great tennis at the same level, then this could be one of the greatest matches in the tournament so far. 

Predictions : Kim Clijsters in three sets

(RUS) A.Pavlyuchenkova vs (EST) K.Kanepi 
Two talented players are going to face each other during the Brisbane 2nd Round, one youngester russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who is one of the biggest hopes in Russia will face Kaia Kanepi, a great hard-hitter from the baseline who will test her a lot in this beginning of season. Will really depend on how they both show up and if Anastasia comes with a fixed serve and not hitting tons of double faults... 
Predictions : Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets

Quarters Finals predictions : 

S.Stosur vs K.Clijsters
S.Williams vs Hantuchova
Jankovic vs Schiavone 
Pavlyuchenkova vs Petkovic.

dimanche 1 janvier 2012

Brisbane International : Main Draw and Predictions

Here it is ! Sorry for the delay but it is the end of the year, so you know, u gotta shop, meet friends, family and so on. But I'm back and I'm here talk to you about Brisbane's Main Draw and predictions about it. I love making predictions you know it, but first, let's take a look at the Main Draw featuring Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic and many others.

(1/AUS)Stosur v Yakimova
Benesova V Safarova
Ivanovic v Paszek
Halep v (5/BEL)Clijsters

(4/USA)Williams v Scheepers
(WC/AUS)Dellacqua v Jovanovski
Q v Czink
Hantuchova v (8/SVK)Cibulkova

(6/SRB)Jankovic v Suarez Navarro
Zakopalova v Q
Voskoboeva v Q
Pervak v (3/ITA)Schiavone

(7/RUS)Pavlyuchenkova v Hercog
Q v Kanepi
(wc)Rogowska v Zahlavova Strycova
Peer v (2/GER)Petkovic

Intersting First Rounds Match-Ups

Ana Ivanovic (SRB) vs. Tamira Pazsek (AUS)
Tough first round to deal with for Ana Ivanovic, the Bali Masters winner. Those two girls are among the most talented of their generations but got to deal with different issues. But, while Ivanovic won Bali, Paszek managed to reach quarter-finals at Wimbledon, beating Fransesca Schiavone on her way. The match could go either way, depending on how those two ladies will show up and who will take advantage. Ana will have to direct the rallies on the forehand side while Tamira will try to set on her backhand. Advantage to the one who will make the other run. Since Ana seems fitter, I guess she shoud prevail. 
Predictions : Ana Ivanovic in two sets

Shahar Peer (ISR) vs Andrea Petkovic (GER/2)
Intersting first round for both girls. Andrea played a good tennis in 2011 in order to reach the tenth spot at rankings while Shahar had to struggle at little bit, but we know what she is able to do. So, it will be interesting to see how much Shahar will challenge Andrea in the beginning of the year, and, if, this year she is going to play that tennis that lead her in 2010, almost to the top 10. If they both play well, we could really watch an entretaining match ! 
Predictions : Andrea Petkovic in three sets

Iveta Benesova (CZE) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 2/6 7/5 7/5
In the czech battle, Benesova prevailed not because of her talent or her outstanding tennis, but just because she's been way more consistant than her compatriot Lucie Safarova, who, after playing a clean first set, began comitting more and more erros. Credit to Benesova for making her play one more shot again and again. Tough second round against, probably Samantha Stosur who will try to shine in front of home crowd. 

Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. Simona Halep (ROU) 6/1 6/4 
Successful comeback for the belgian player who, right after the Australian swing in 2011 had to struggle with injuries, withdrawing from both Wimbledon and US Open. She played a quite clean match against the talented roumanian who couldn't handle Kim's power and will to play, and to play well in front of the Aussie crowd, who always loved her from her love affair with Leyton Hewitt. She's gonna face either Ana Ivanovic or Tamira Pazsek, tough round to go for her but if she keeps playing this way, she could prevail. 

(SRB) Bojana Jovanovski d. (AUS) Casey Dellacqua 6/4 6/2
This was Casey's big come back on a WTA event after lot of success on the ITF tour. Unfortunately, she had to face a Strong Bojana today who did not give her a single chance to set up her game correctly and was on fire. Credit to the Serbian for playing that good against an Aussie ... In Australia ! Next round will be tough as she'll probably face Serena Williams who will give her much more troubles.

(SVK) Daniela Hantuchova d. (SVK) Dominika Cibulkova 3/6 6/4 6/3 
Daniela Hantuchova won this first round who was one of the most exciting out there. Beating Dominika is never easy as she's one of the steadiest and solidest player on the tour. Somehow, Hantuchova prevailed playing solid and smooth tennis. Her groundies were totally awesome and after a routine first set, she leveled this up to take the match. Credit to her for being mentally ready for the battle and pulling out the win. Next round will be against either Czink or a qualifier and she should prevail if she keeps playing this way.

(ITA) Fransesca Schiavone d. (KAZ) Ksenia Pervak 4/4 w.o
There was no match as Ksenia retired but here is the result !