WTA Birmingham: 3rd Round Predictions

The top three at Birmingham on Thursday

Heather Watson
1. Roberta Vinci (4) v Heather Watson
Roberta Vinci has avoided the exodus of the seeds so far as she came through her opener when Virginie Razzano retired in their second round match after losing the first set.  She takes on the only British player left in the draw, Heather Watson.  Watson beat the fellow Brit, Elena Baltacha as she recovered superbly after a rain break from a 1-4 first set deficit to record a 7-6 6-3 victory.  Watson is extremely consistent from the back of the court and has recently added more power to her serve.  However she will be up against it against Vinci who has great variety to her game and knows how to win on this surface having won the title in S’Hertogenbosch last year.  I think the Italian will progress to the quarter-finals…

Prediction – Vinci to beat Watson in 2 sets 

2. Casey Dellacqua v Jelena Jankovic (5)
Jelena Jankovic came through a testing opener in Birmingham as she saved two set points in the second set of her match with Mel South, which finished 6-1 7-6.  Jankovic has a great draw this week following the departure of the number one seed, Francesca Schiavone (who somehow lost to Misaki Doi in straight sets!); however the Serb’s form has significantly dipped in recent months so nothing should be taken as granted.  Casey Dellacqua has been winning bundles of matches on the ITF tour, but has yet to fully translate that to the main tour.  She beat the British girl, Tara Moore in 3 sets and definitely has a chance of the upset in this 3rd round match.
Prediction – Jankovic to beat Dellacqua in 3 sets

3. Ekaterina Makarova (8) v Marina Erakovic (9)
Ekaterina Makarova won a tight two setter against Sesil Karatantcheva, 7-6 6-3 to kick off her grass court season in style.  She now plays Marina Erakovic in the only all seeded third round match as she fended off a spirited effort from Laura Robson, 6-4 3-6 6-4.  Makarova’s game has always suited the grass as she proved in 2010 when she beat a number of seeds to claim the Eastbourne title.  Erakovic has become a consistent performer on tour, but I think Makarova is now one of the favourites for the title and will use her heftier groundstrokes to measure…
Prediction – Makarova to beat Erakovic in 2 tight sets

The other matches:
Stephanie Foretz Gacon to beat Misaki Doi in 3 sets
Zheng Jie to beat Andrea Hlavackova in 3 sets
Melinda Czink to beat Hsieh Su-Wei in 2 tight sets

Melanie Oudin to beat Elena Vesnina in 3 sets
Urszula Radwanska to beat Irina Falconi in 2 sets

My predictions in Birmingham have been pretty shocking, but I think I can be excused when you see that  just 5 out of the 16 seeds have made the 3rd round and the top three seeds have all gone!!!!

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