WTA Carlsbad: Preview and Predictions

Ana Ivanovic

Stanford has barely attracted my attention this week, but I am looking forward to next week’s star studded line-up in Carlsbad where Victoria Azarenka will make her return from injury following a turbulent Wimbledon where an injury in her first round match of Wimbledon against Maria Joao Koehler forced her to pull out of her second round match.  Let’s take a look at the draw where the top four seeds all have byes.

Victoria Azarenka‘s first match of the tournament will be against an Italian; Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone will meet for the eighth time on the WTA tour.  Schiavone won their last match in Indian Wells and I think she has the edge this time round as well.  Azarenka is projected to meet Jelena Jankovic in the quarter-finals.  JJ plays Mallory Burdette in the first round, who had her chances in Stanford last week, but was unable to get past Schiavone in the first round.

Roberta Vinci and Ana Ivanovic headline the second quarter of the draw.  Vinci takes on the winner of a first round match between two players who have both shone at times during 2013, Monica Puig and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.  Ivanovic has a tough draw, opening against Stanford finalist, Dominika Cibulkova, who she is 0-2 against in the head-to-head.  Ivanovic has just split with her coach, Nigel Sears and I fear that the US Open series is not going to be a great time for her.  In fact, I could see her losing to Cibulkova in her opener.

Petra Kvitova has tweeted that she has been working especially hard over the past three weeks and she will need to be on the ball because she is defending a large number of points having won the titles in Montreal and New Haven last year.  It is possible she could meet Laura Robson in the second round, which would be hilarious.  Their last match at the Australian Open, which Laura won 11-9 in the decider, was not a classic.  Robson though will have get to past Ayumi Morita in the first round, who she did lost to in Oeiras earlier this year.  Former Carlsbad champion and returning-from-injury, Svetlana Kuznetsova has a good draw and should meet Carla Suarez Navarro in round two.

Agnieszka Radwanska bookends the draw as she continues her tireless pursuit of points.  First up will be either Daniela Hantuchova or Tamira Paszek before a potential quarter-final with Sam Stosur.  The Aussie looked way off the pace in her first match in Stanford and will look to improve against Varvara Lepchenko in Carlsbad.

Moo’s Final Prediction – V.Azarenka d. A.Radwanska
I have not gone for a great deal of shocks this week in my Carlsbad predictions.  I expect Azarenka not to be at her best, but there are no players in the draw who I see giving her a great deal of problems.  I would have gone for Kvitova to win the title, but the conditions here are hot and she is still incredibly unpredictable so I will be eager to see how she gets on this week.

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