Two of the seeds fell on the second day of action at the Apia International in Sydney. Sam Stosur was out-of-sorts as she was defeated by Francesca Schiavone, 6-2 6-4. There were some exciting points in the match (see highlights below) and Schiavone continued her solid start to the 2012 season. It was another disappointing defeat for Stosur though who will not go into the Australian Open as one of the favourites based on this early form. I question whether she quite has what it takes to handle the pressure of playing in front of her home crowd. The other seed to exit was Vera Zvonareva who was well and truly beaten by Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-1 6-2. Zvonareva struggled on serve and made numerous errors allowing her fellow compatriot to move into the second round where she will play Lucie Safarova.
Two mouthwatering second round clashes were also set; Andrea Petkovic cruised past a disappointing, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-2 6-3 to set up a clash with Agnieszka Radwanska, who strolled past her sister, Urszula Radwanska, 6-1 6-1. Victoria Azarenka made a confident start to 2012 and was hitting the ball well as she beat Stefanie Voegele, 6-1 6-2 in a hard fought encounter. She will now play Jelena Jankovic who was playing well before Julia Goerges had to retire at 6-1 3-1 down with a viral illness. Jankovic and Azarenka have not played since the season-ending championships in 2010 and this will be a good early test for Azarenka… i’m going for Azarenka to win in 3 sets.
In Hobart, my predictions were well and truly blown out of the water! My prediction for the finalist, Galina Voskoboeva was bundled out of the tournament by Casey Dellacqua in a three set encounter. British hopes were extinguished as Heather Watson lost an epic match with Tsvetana Pironkova as she wasted 2 match points in a 7-6 3-6 7-6 loss. Mona Barthel won against Romina Oprandi, 6-1 6-4 as she continues her excellent start to 2012. I tipped her in my post about WTA predictions and she is definitely proving to be one to watch out for this year. Three seeded players in Yanina Wickmayer, Angelique Kerber, Jarmila Gajdosova all won in straight sets to progress to the second round.