I am always quite sad after Wimbledon as it concludes my favourite part of the tennis season through the European clay court season, Roland Garros and the grass court lead-up events to SW19. It has been nice though to have a week off from tennis and the blog to recharge my batteries. I have actually been able to go out and play the sport that I madly follow for 11 months every year. My game is pretty terrible… still, I love to play tennis!
I am back in blogging mode and hope to, subject to how busy I am at work, blog each day as the draws unfold. This week, there are two WTA tournaments on the clay in Bastad (Sweden) and Bad Gastein (Austria).
If you are unaware of the entry lists prior to reading this blog, you might be surprised that Serena Williams tops the bill in Sweden. I never think these two weeks on the clay after Wimbledon make much sense, but Serena committed to Bastad some months ago and she is firmly rooted at the top of the drawsheet, intending to play. Serena takes on Sesil Karatantacheva in the first round before a potential second round clash with Anna Tatishvili or Belinda Bencic in the second round. Bencic won the Juniors event at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and I hope she can make it into the second round where a match with the world number one would be a landmark occasion, so early in her career.
A pair of Spaniards, Lourdes Dominguez Lino and Anabel Medina Garrigues, will go head-to-head in the first round with the winner eyeing up a quarter-final match with Serena. I would also not discount Dinah Pfizenmaier who made the third round of Roland Garros and did well in Palermo last week, making the quarter-finals. Klara Zakopalova, Lesia Tsurenko, Johanna Larsson and Tsvetana Pironkova are the highest seeds through the second and third quarters. The calibre of the draw is pretty weak with the only noteworthy point that the two Swedes, Larsson and Sofia Arvidsson have drawn each other in the first round.
Simona Halep bookends the draw with a first match against the Swedish wildcard, Rebecca Peterson. Halep has been on a tremendous run of form since May, which has seen her make the semi-finals of the Premier event in Rome, pick up her first two titles, back-to-back in Nurnberg and s’Hertogenbosch, and then won Budapest this week in an albeit depleted draw. Tiredness could play a part though this week. Halep’s second round match will be a test for sure against the winner of a first rounder between Flavia Pennetta and Mariana Duque Marino, but you would not put it past the hottest in-form player right now from making yet another final.
1st Round Predictions:
S.Williams to beat Karatantcheva in 2 sets
Bencic to beat Tatishvili in 3 sets
Dominguez Lino to beat Medina Garrigues in 2 tight sets
Larsson to beat Arvidsson in 2 sets
Soler-Espinosa to beat Razzano in 3 sets
Garcia to beat Dulgheru in 2 sets
Pennetta to beat Duque Marino in 3 sets
Halep to beat Peterson in 2 sets
Moo’s Final Prediction – S.Williams d. Pennetta
You can the view the full drawsheet for Bastad along with my predictions HERE
WTA Bad Gastein
Mona Barthel and Andrea Petkovic are the star attractions in another lacklustre draw. Barthel’s form has been extremely patchy of late, but it would be a big disappointment if she could not make at least the quarter-finals. Petkovic has drawn the toughest of the unseeded players in Petra Martic, but I would still back Petkovic, who has won nine of her last ten matches on clay. Barthel and Petkovic are projected to meet in the semi-finals and I would anticipate that both will make it there.
The bottom half is offering up substantial ranking points for whoever can make it through. The number two seed, Annika Beck starts with Shahar Peer and could play last year’s semi-finalist, Mandy Minella, in the second round. Irina-Camelia Begu, Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor and Karin Knapp are the other three seeds in this section. Take your pick…
1st Round Predictions:
Hlavackova to beat Daniilidou in 3 sets
Petkovic to beat Martic in 2 tight sets
Scheepers to beat Schmiedlova in 3 sets
Cadantu to beat Koehler in 3 sets
Beck to beat Peer in 2 tight sets
Moo’s Final Prediction – Petkovic d. Torro-Flor
You can the view the full drawsheet for Bad Gastein along with my predictions HERE