Dominika Cibulkova, Marion Bartoli, Agniezska Radwanska and Maria Sharapova all moved into the Quarter-finals of Stanford. Cibulkova completed a difficult 6-4 2-6 6-3 victory over Christina Mchale. Mchale led 3-1 in the third set but could not pull her advantage through against the Slovakian. I have been particularly impressed with Mchale of late and fancied an upset in this match. I remember watching her play against Jelena Jankovic earlier this year in Charleston and despite a rather heavy defeat, I was impressed with her game and she seemed a good tactician on the court. The issue for me is whether she has the mental strength. There have been quite a few episodes where she has shown some wobbles; most notably wasting a 5-1 third set lead to Sara Errani in her first round match at Roland Garros this year.
Cibulkova will now play either Victoria Azarenka or Marina Erakovic in the next round. Cibulkova has produced some big wins this year but her all-out attack game leaves her vulnerable when shes not hitting her A-game. Yesterday was a postive sign that she managed to pull through when she was not playing at her best. In the second match of the day, Bartoli produced a strong performance to beat the talented, Rebecca Marino. This was another match where I expected an upset but as per usual, I was proved wrong! Bartoli has been really impressive of late and I must say she has really grown on me. The constant “allez” shouting during her matches can get frustrating, but she appears very sweet in her interviews and I really like her relationship with her father. I hope she continue her good form over the next couple of weeks.
In the third and fourth matches, Radwanska and Sharapova came through three setters. Radwanska lost the middle set to Kai-Chen Chang but eventually came through 6-4 3-6 6-0. Her next match against Stosur or Lisicki will be much tougher and one I don’t expect her to win. Sharapova managed to avenge a 2-0 third set deficit to Daniela Hantuchova to win 6-2 2-6 6-4. Hantuchova has really raised her game this year and will be heartened to push Sharapova to a third set. However she lacked the power to beat Sharapova who will now be eyeing up a potential quarter-final with Serena Williams.
In tonight’s matches, the highlight match will be between Sabine Lisicki and Sam Stosur. Lisicki was mightily impressive in her opening 6-1 6-2 win over Simona Halep and I anticipate her to cause an upset here. Serena and Azarenka should have little problems in overcoming their opponents, meanwhile the match between Ayumi Morita and Urszula Radwanska promises to be tight; however i’m sticking with Morita to follow up her impressive victory over Ana Ivanovic.