WTA Indian Wells: 2nd Round Predictions, Day 4

Still no TV coverage, but the seeds have now come out to play.  Here is a preview of the best matches that will align Saturday’s schedule…

Daniela Hantuchova
1. Victoria Azarenka v Daniela Hantuchova
Victoria Azarenka will open up her title defence with a tough match-up against the world number 73, Daniela Hantuchova.  The Slovakian recovered a 3-1 third set deficit in her first round match to Stephanie Foretz-Gacon to win, 6-3 3-6 6-4 and record her first win at Indian Wellls since 2009.  Hantuchova is one of the few players on tour to have a positive head-to-head record over Azarenka with 2 wins to 1.  All three of their previous encounters went three sets and it was only in their last match in 2011 under the Centre Court roof that Vika was able to break her duck against Hantuchova.  Azarenka should have far too much consistency to be threatened by Hantuchova in this one…
Prediction – Azarenka to beat Hantuchova in 2 sets

2. Monica Niculescu v Kirsten Flipkens
The toughest match to call on Saturday’s schedule is between two of 2013’s in-form players.  Monica Niculescu, who won her first WTA title in Florianopolis last week, continued right where she left off from with a 6-0 6-0 trouncing of Elena Svitolina in the first round.  Her slice-and-dice game is just too much for the younger players on tour, who seem to have no idea how to deal with it.  Kirsten Flipkens will be a much tougher opponent for Niculescu who doesn’t stick to the recognised convention these days of all-out power and like Niculescu, has one of the most varied games on tour.  Flipkens beat Niculescu earlier this year in Hobart with a 2-6 6-4 6-0 victory, but Niculescu is riding a massive wave of confidence.  Most of Niculescu’s wins in Brazil came against hard hitters with little plan B, but Flipkens has much more layers to her game and I will stick by my original prediction despite Niculescu’s double bagel win yesterday

Prediction – Flipkens to beat Niculescu in 3 tough sets

3. Sam Stosur v Madison Keys
Ana Ivanovic
Madison Keys won a battle of the Americans two nights ago as she edged Melanie Oudin in a tight first rounder on Stadium 1, 6-4 4-6 6-3.  It was not a stellar performance from the hard hitting Keys but she did enough to prevail in the end.  Her reward is another match-up with a top tenner having already competed with Li Na and Angelique Kerber this year.  Step forward, Sam Stosur, who has managed to steady her year following a typically miserable Australian campaign.  She made the quarters in both Dubai and Doha and will have to be on her game for this tough first match in Indian Wells.  I get the feeling that many fancy Keys to have a chance of an upset in this one, but I do not see it.  Stosur has been much more solid in the last month and I think her experience and big serve will overwhelm Keys…

Prediction – Stosur to beat Keys in 2 tight sets

4. Ana Ivanovic v Taylor Townsend
Taylor Townsend enjoyed her first WTA tour win with a hard fought 3-6 7-6(1) 6-3 win over Lucie Hradecka in the first round.  Townsend is another promising American youngster, who won the Australian Open juniors title last year and this was a significant scalp against a big hitter in Hradecka, who should be doing much more with her game in the singles.  Townsend now gets a big name with Ana Ivanovic, her second round opponent.  Ivanovic has made a solid, yet unspectacular start to the year as Agnieszka Radwanska halted her progress in both Melbourne and Doha.  It was Indian Wells where Ivanovic enjoyed her greatest success last year.  She should be comfortable in victory, but here’s hoping that Taylor gives a strong account of her abilities.

Prediction – Ivanovic to beat Townsend in 2 sets

Best of the rest: 2nd Round Womens Predictions:
Jamie Hampton to beat Hsieh Su-Wei in 2 sets
Sloane Stephens to beat Urszula Radwanska in 3 sets
Nadia Petrova to beat Stephanie Voegele in 2 tight sets
Julia Goerges to beat Sofia Arvidsson in 3 sets
Elena Vesnina to beat Kimiko Date-Krumm in 2 sets
Caroline Wozniacki to beat Alize Cornet in 2 sets
Angelique Kerber to beat Irina-Camelia Begu in 2 sets
Yanina Wickmayer to beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in 2 tight sets
Ekaterina Makarova to beat Garbine Muguruza in 2 tight sets
Magdalena Rybarikova to beat Lucie Safarova in 2 sets
Mona Barthel to beat Kiki Bertens in 2 sets
Peng Shuai to beat Alexandra Dulgheru in 2 sets
You can keep up-to-date with my original predictions for both the womens and mens draw by clicking on the tabs above. 

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