I am feeling better and am ready to resume blogging duties! There has been so much going on this week with six tournaments (3 WTA and 3 ATP). Let’s take a look at the best matches for Thursday.
1. Petra Kvitova v Agnieszka Radwanska (Dubai, QF)
The top two favourites remaining in the Dubai draw will play each other in the highlight of Thursday’s quarter-finals. Petra Kvitova has played much better in the last two weeks and was terrific in defeating Daniela Hantuchova yesterday. She did not make things easy for herself today as she encountered wobbles at the end of both sets with Ana Ivanovic before eventually winning, 7-5 7-6(1). Agnieszka Radwanska beat Yulia Putintseva in a scratchy performance, 7-5 6-3; Putintseva, who had beaten Laura Robson in round one, gave a very solid account of herself against the world number four.
Kvitova and Radwanska last met in Istanbul where the Pole enjoyed a straight sets win over an injured Kvitova, but the Czech player had won their three previous matches before that. Kvitova is playing much better, perhaps since those big wins in the Fed Cup and she pushed Serena all the way in Doha. The match will come down to how Kvitova plays and the fast court certainly favours her; however I would be a fool to underestimate Radwanska, who has enough tricks up her sleeve to rock the Kvitova boat. I think Kvitova is on the way up, but I believe tomorrow, Radwanska will be the mentally stronger player…
Prediction – Radwanska to beat Kvitova in 3 sets
2. Caroline Wozniacki v Marion Bartoli (Dubai, QF)
Victoria Azarenka withdrew from Doha on Tuesday and Serena Williams followed suit on Wednesday giving Marion Bartoli a walkover into the quarter-finals. She takes on Caroline Wozniacki, who has lost just five games in her first two matches. She eased past a terribly irratic Lucie Safarova in round one and rather surprisingly tore past Zheng Jie today in a 6-0 6-1 thumping. Wozniacki and Bartoli have not played each other since the 2011 Indian Wells final when Wozniacki as the world number one, won in three sets. Bartoli has been missing something in 2013, but always has the potential to spring an excellent performance from her locker. Wozniacki is playing pretty well at the moment though and I like her chances in this match-up…
Prediction – Wozniacki to beat Bartoli in 2 tight sets
3. Juan Martin Del Potro v Michael Llodra (Marseille, R2)
|Juan Martin Del Potro|
2013 is starting to click into place for Juan Martin Del Potro after a shaky start in Australia. Del Potro did not concede a set on his way to the title in Rotterdam last week and as the number two seed in Marseille, he will be one of the favourites to scoop the title. His first match of the week will be against Michael Llodra, who has strung together some very respectable results of late including a semi-final showing in Montpellier. He always does well on home soil and especially, fast indoor courts. Del Potro edged Llodra when the pair played in the semi-finals of Marseille last year, but Llodra did enjoy a win over Del Potro in Bercy. The Frenchman will be a real danger, but Del Potro is playing well at the moment and should be too solid.
Prediction – Del Potro to beat Llodra in 2 tight sets
Best of the rest: WTA Dubai predictions
Nadia Petrova to beat Sara Errani in 2 sets
Sam Stosur to beat Roberta Vinci in 3 sets
Best of the rest: WTA Memphis predictions
Kirsten Flipkens to beat Magdalena Rybarikova in 2 tight sets
Best of the rest: ATP Memphis predictions
Denis Istomin to beat Lleyton Hewitt in 2 sets
Kei Nishikori to beat Donald Young in 2 sets
Best of the rest: ATP Marseille predictions
Janko Tipsarevic to beat Dmitry Tursunov in 2 sets
Gilles Simon to beat Roberta Bautista-Agut in 2 tight sets
Julien Benneteau to beat Jerzy Janowicz in 2 tight sets
I have updated my original draws; my womens draw for Memphis looks good so far, but Dubai has been, as I expected, ravaged by key withdrawals.