1. Agnieszka Radwanska v Maria Kirilenko
The line-up for the bottom half of the womens 4th round matches is a little bit lacking in desirability with the pick of the bunch between Agnieszka Radwanska and Maria Kirilenko. Both players endured tough three setters in the third round; Kirilenko had her second three set match of the week as she rebounded from losing the middle set to finally put to bed a tenacious effort from Mallory Burdette, 6-3 4-6 6-2. Radwanska overcame Sorana Cirstea, coming back from losing the first set on a tiebreak, but nearly fluffing a 5-1 lead in the decider. She eventually won, 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4 in two and a half hours.
The pair’s last match was a terrific tussle of all-court tennis, beginning outdoors but finishing under the Centre Court roof at Wimbledon last year. Kirilenko is becoming more and more consistent and Radwanska’s form has been average at best this tournament. The Russian definitely has a shot here, but i’m staying safe and think that Radwanska’s mental toughness will just be enough to get her across the finish line.
Prediction – Radwanska to beat Kirilenko in 3 sets
2. Novak Djokovic v Grigor Dimitrov
Novak Djokovic looked to be heading for the easiest of openers in Indian Wells when he dished out a first set bagel to Fabio Fognini, allowing him just six points, but the Serbian world number one was forced into a decider before eventually prevailing, 6-0 5-7 6-2. He now takes on Grigor Dimitrov, who had an excellent serving day in a 6-4 6-4 win over Matt Ebden. Dimitrov has had a few dips in form this year, but he has certainly been more consistent and earning a seeding in these kinds of tournaments indicates progress. This should be a fun match, but Dimitrov will obviously be a heavy underdog against Djokovic, who won their last match-up in Shanghai last year and handily. I predict Djokovic to win pretty comfortably again…
Prediction – Djokovic to beat Dimitrov in 2 sets
3. Marin Cilic v Milos Raonic
Two of the tours big servers take on each each other in the toughest to call of the mens third rounders tomorrow. Both Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic have won titles since the Australian Open with Cilic claiming Zagreb and Raonic ruling in San Jose. It has been a solid start to 2013, but neither have racked up any wins over top 15 players to date this year. Raonic had a walkover in the second round so he will be taking to the Indian Wells court for the first time this week. Cilic edged out Albert Ramos, 7-6(9) 6-2 in the second round and will certainly have an advantage over Raonic having played one match already. Cilic won their only previous match in 2011 at Valencia and I think he has the edge over Raonic in this match-up.
Prediction – Cilic to beat Raonic in 3 sets
Best of the rest: mens predictions
Marinko Matosevic to beat Sam Querrey in 3 sets
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to beat Mardy Fish in 2 sets
Andy Murray to beat Lu Yen-Hsun Lu in 2 tight sets
Kei Nishikori to beat Carlos Berlocq in 2 sets
Tommy Haas to beat Nicolas Almagro in 3 sets
Juan Martin Del Potro to beat Bjorn Phau in 2 sets
Best of the rest: womens predictions
Petra Kvitova to beat Klara Zakopalova in 3 sets
Marion Bartoli to beat Sara Errani in 3 sets
Maria Sharapova to beat Lara Arrubarena-Vecino in 2 sets
Victoria Azarenka to beat Urszula Radwanska in 2 sets
Nadia Petrova to beat Caroline Wozniacki in 3 sets
Angelique Kerber to beat Garbine Muguruza in 2 tight sets
Mona Barthel to beat Sam Stosur in 3 sets
I wish I had more time to preview the rest of the womens 4th round matches in full. Kvitova will certainly be tested by Zakopalova, who can hit a mean ball, but is unlikely to have the mentality to actually pull out the win. Bartoli/Errani is an intriguing one; Bartoli looks to be zoning in Indian Wells, a place she has always played well, as she defeated Kuznetsova in straight sets last night, but Errani is so tough to beat at the moment. I have gone for Bartoli as I think she will want this win more than Errani who will be tired from her recent exploits on the tour.
I have just quickly added the top half of the womens 4th round as I did not realise they were playing today!
I am likely to be away tomorrow night so there may not be a full blog post for Wednesday. If not, I will post my predictions for Wednesday’s matches on my Twitter site, which you can now view courtesy of my new blog feature, which displays my most recent tweets (this may not be available if viewing via mobile)... alternatively you can follow me on Twitter with my new name, @ MooTennisBlog.