US Open: Womens 3rd Round Predictions for Day 5

The Top 3 on Day 5
1. Victoria Azarenka v Zheng Jie
Victoria Azarenka has sailed through the tournament so far with dominant wins over Alexandra Panova and Kirsten Flipkens.  The world number one had not played a full match since the Olympics, but she has hit the ground running in New York.  Her third round match will really show us what can kind of level she is playing at as the number 28 seed, Zheng Jie awaits.  Zheng beat Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round and is a dangerous hard-hitter; just ask Serena Williams who battled deep into a third set at Wimbledon earlier this year in what was her toughest match of the two weeks.  Azarenka and Zheng have not played since 2009 in Tokyo but expect an early scare for Azarenka before she eventually finds her feet…
Prediction – Azarenka to beat Zheng in 2 tight sets

2. Li Na v Laura Robson
Laura Robson produced a superb performance to oust Kim Clijsters who had won 22 consecutive matches at the US Open.  The Brit looked dealt with the occasion remarkably well considering she has been prone to a choke or two in the past.  Things do not get easier in the third round in the shape of Li Na.  Under the watchful gaze of Carlos Rodriguez, Li is the in-form player on the WTA tour and showed her toughness in the second round as came back from a 4-0 second set deficit to defeat Casey Dellacqua, 6-4 6-4.  This will be a first encounter between the two, but I think Li will be too strong for Laura on this occasion…
Prediction – Li to beat Robson in 2 sets

3. Nadia Petrova v Lucie Safarova
This section of the draw has been a big downfall in my predictions as the two seeds, Nadia Petrova and Lucie Safarova successfully passed some tricky obstacles.  Safarova has had her best Grand Slam appearance of the year and did well to beat Aleksandra Wozniak in a tight three setter in round two.  Petrova has sailed through the tournament with straight set wins over Jarmila Gajdosova and Simona Halep.  Petrova leads the head-to-head by 4 wins to 1, but their last three matches have all gone the distance.  I am going for Safarova to dig the win out for her best Slam performance yet…
Prediction – Safarova to beat Petrova in 3 sets
Best of the rest
Sam Stosur has looked great this week and with Kim Clijsters already out, I think she will reach the quarter-finals beating Li Na in the 4th round.  Firstly, she will have to execute a path past Varvara Lepchenko who has looked useful so far this week.  Petra Kvitova should not have any problems against Pauline Parmentier, meanwhile an all French battle between Marion Bartoli and Kristina Mladenovic should be much tighter.  Maria Sharapova‘s cakewalk will continue against Mallory Burdette, who has had a terrific week so far but ultimately stands little hope against the Russian.

Anna Tatishvili to beat Mandy Minella in 3 sets
Sam Stosur to beat Varvara Lepchenko in 2 sets
Maria Sharapova to beat Mallory Burdette in 2 sets
Marion Bartoli to beat Kristina Mladenovic in 2 tight sets
Petra Kvitova to beat Pauline Parmentier in 2 sets

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