The end to the 2012 tennis season for the women is fast approaching as we enter the final week of tournaments in Moscow and Luxembourg. It has been an especially long season this year with the Olympics and my predictions lately have been just as tired as the players! Lets see if I can go out with a bang…
WTA Kremlin Cup, Moscow
The indoor event in Moscow has drawn a very impressive line-up this week with Sam Stosur, Marion Bartoli, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic topping the bill and receiving byes in the first round. Stosur looked a dead cert for the title in Osaka, but fell in the semi-finals to Kai-Chen Chang. On paper, she should make at the least the quarter-finals where she should meet the dangerous, Lucie Safarova.
Bartoli is projected to meet Maria Kirilenko in the quarter-finals, who has a tough section of the draw featuring Elena Vesnina, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Yaroslava Shvedova (the latter two play each other in what should be a tight opener). Wozniacki won her first title in Seoul just last month and I think she is one to watch out for this week in Russia. She plays the winner of a first round match between Francesca Schiavone and Urszula Radwanska. Schiavone has been on walkabouts and struggling with injuries too so I do not expect much from her.
Dominika Cibulkova, who won her first ever WTA title here last year faces a stern opener against the very consistent, Ekaterina Makarova… I predict an early upset. The surging, Varvara Lepchenko will be a danger in this section of the draw too. Ivanovic suffered a surprisingly convincing loss at the hands of Kirsten Flipkens in Linz and if she navigates her way past a qualifier in round two, Nadia Petrova could be lurking in the quarter-finals…
Final Prediction – Caroline Wozniacki d. Nadia Petrova
1st Round Predictions – Makarova to beat Cibulkova in 3 sets, Lepchenko to beat Pironkova in 2 sets, U.Radwanska to beat Schiavone in 2 sets, Kirilenko to beat Vesnina in 3 tight sets and Pavlyuchenkova to beat Shvedova in 3 sets
Full Predictions for Moscow HERE
WTA Luxembourg Open
The draw for Luxembourg looks wide open with Venus Williams looking like a nice bet for her first title since 2010 in Dubai if she can maintain her health and fitness throughout the week. Roberta Vinci headlines the draw and is projected to meet Mona Barthel in the quarter-final. If Barthel gets past home favourite, Mandy Minella then she is likely to be in line for a showdown with Venus.
Jelena Jankovic has a tough draw, but has been playing better recently. She suffered an agonising loss to Peng Shuai in Cincinnati earlier this year and will look for revenge in Luxembourg. Andrea Petkovic could await in round two if the German player can notch up a win over a qualifier. Petra Martic did well in Linz and a first round rematch with Sorana Cirstea could signal the start of another promising week.
Julia Goerges has look rejuvunated in the last few weeks having reached the final in Linz last week. She plays Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the first round, who won their last encounter in Seoul when Goerges looked disinterested on the court. Goerges is projected to meet Tamira Paszek in the quarter-finals, but her first round opponent of Lucie Hradecka can be dynamite on indoor hard courts and is likely to be too strong for the struggling Austrian. Sabine Lisicki suffered a terrible loss to Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in Linz, which is a match she should not be losing. She will have to play a very solid match to have a hope of getting past the in-form, Kirsten Flipkens in round one. Daniela Hantuchova and Carla Suarez Navarro will hope to feast on ranking points in a pretty weak section of the draw.
Final Prediction – Venus Williams d. Kirsten Flipkens
1st Round Predictions – Barthel to beat Minella in 2 tight sets, Jankovic to beat Peng in 2 sets, Martic to beat Cirstea in 3 sets, Flipkens to beat Lisicki in 2 sets, Hradecka to beat Paszek in 2 sets and Goerges to beat Soler Espinosa in 2 tight sets.
Full Predictions for Luxembourg HERE