The tournament in Carlsbad, San Diego has seen the completion of the first round where Melanie Oudin saved two match points to defeat Sloane Stephens, 1-6 7-6 6-0. It is one of the those matches that can be summed up by just reading the scoreline! Stephens is a great talent, but she will have to sort out her mentality if she is to progress further up the rankings. For Oudin, it was another example of her tenacious fighting spirit as she continues her remarkable turnaround in her career. Oudin was awarded a lucky loser into the draw after Sorana Cirstea withdrew. I wonder if she can follow in the footpaths of Coco Vandeweghe who as a lucky loser, managed to reach the final in Stanford last week.
In Bastad, the draw has opened up with the withdrawal of Sara Errani. Half of the second round matches have been played and all four winners are enjoying an upturn in form after a wretched run over recent months. Mona Barthel had set the WTA alight with excitement in Stuttgart when she beat Ana Ivanovic and Marion Bartoli, and pushed Victoria Azarenka hard in one of the best matches of 2012 so far; however she has since struggled to maintain her form going winless through May and June. She finally managed to turn things around in the first round of Bastad and despite struggling to find a balance between power and precision, she beat Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-2 7-5 and looks to be improving.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is at least starting to beat players she really should be now and has looked very comfortable in reaching the quarter-finals; the loss of Sara Errani in her section presents a significant opportunity for the Russian in Bastad. Polona Hercog also enjoyed a rare win having struggled with injuries since an impressive run to the semi-finals at Charleston. Hercog beat Julia Goerges to reach the quarter-finals and keep alive her hopes of retaining her title in Bastad. Tsvetana Pironkova progressed to the quarter-finals, which is somewhat of a surprise considering she seems to be a deadweight on tour on any surface other than grass.
You can follow all my predictions for this week’s tournaments; I am doing well in all of them so far, but particularly in Hamburg where I have successfully predicted 4/5 quarter-finalists so far 🙂