WTA US Open: Preview and Predictions

It’s the final Grand Slam of 2013… let’s take a look at the womens draw for the US Open

First QuarterSerena Williams (1) v Angelique Kerber (8)
Serena Williams

With a 60-4 W-L record in 2013, Serena Williams has had another astonishing year and she headlines this year’s US Open draw as the number one seed.  Her summer hard court season has been impressive as she was victorious in Canada, but was pipped to the title in Cincy by Victoria Azarenka.  This draw has a Toronto-esque feel to it as she opens her campaign against Francesca Schiavone and could then meet Magdalena Rybarikova in the third round.  The in-form Rybarikova has not made it past the second round of a Grand Slam since 2009 and this could be her opportunity to do that in New York.  

Jamie Hampton and Sloane Stephens are potential third round opponents, who could then meet Serena in the 4th round.  Both would be excellent match-ups, but a Serena-Sloane match on Ashe at night would be absolutely fascinating.  Sloane’s draw has it’s potential pitfalls; Urszula Radwanska is a potential second round opponent and she beat Stephens at Indian Wells this year, but I would still back Sloane to the last 16.

The bottom half of this first quarter throws us considerable intrigue with the highest seed, Angelique Kerber suffering her biggest slump in form since she shocked the tennis world by making the US Open semi-finals in 2011.  She takes on Lucie Hradecka in the first round and could meet the young Canadian firecracker, Eugenie Bouchard in the second round.  Kerber, who has a 4-3 W-L record through the summer hard court season, has been losing a lot of tight matches lately and I really think this draw could be Bouchard’s biggest career breakthrough so far.  

The other seeds in this section have all been struggling of late: Kaia Kanepi will take to the court for the first time since Wimby, Carla Suarez Navarro has been blowing hot and cold, and Kirsten Flipkens has looked extremely rusty.  However weighing it all up, I think Flipkens will summon confidence from a stellar 2013 season to sneak into another deserved Grand Slam quarter-final.

1st Round Predictions: S.Williams to beat Schiavone in 2 sets, Puchkova to beat Shvedova in 3 sets, Mladenovic to beat Medina Garrigues in 2 sets, Flipkens to beat V.Williams in 2 tight sets, Bertens to beat Zheng in 3 sets, Davis to beat Suarez Navarro in 2 sets, Kanepi to beat King in 3 sets, Bouchard to beat Pliskova in 3 sets and Kerber to beat Hradecka in 2 tight sets

Moo’s Quarter-Final Prediction – S.Williams v Flipkens

Second QuarterAgnieszka Radwanska (3) v Li Na (5)
Aga Radwanska

I was sceptical of the amount of tournaments that Agnieszka Radwanska had committed too during the summer hard court season, but having pulled out of Cincy after winning her third round match, I think she will go in well rested and in pretty good form.  She takes on Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the first round and the first seed she could meet is the extraordinarily unpredictable, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.  

It is possible that Aga could be in line for a 4th round, Wimbledon semi-final rematch with Sabine Lisicki.  That is a big if as Sabine has only played three matches since the Wimby final and losses to Jelena Jankovic and Pavlyuchenkova have not invoked much confidence.  Ekaterina Makarova is a more likely 4th round opponent, particularly having watched her play an excellent match in New Haven against Sara Errani.

Li Na could get another shot at Laura Robson in New York as she is due for a third round rematch with the young Brit.  Robson has been struggling with a wrist injury and takes on Lourdes Dominguez Lino in the first round, who she is 0-2 in the head-to-head record.  Li’s first match will be against Olga Govortsova and should not be a troublesome one.  

The most intriguing first round match comes in this section and features Jelena Jankovic and Madison Keys.  I was convinced after Wimby that this would be a breakout tournament for Madison, but shoulder injuries have inhibited her progress and despite her potential, I think JJ will come through that.  The winner of that match will take on the young and tenacious, Monica Puig or the passionate fighter, Alisa Kleybanova… certainly a section of the draw to keep an eye on.

1st Round Predictions: Radwanska to beat Soler-Espinosa in 2 sets, Razzano to beat Pavlyuchenkova in 3 crazy sets, Makarova to beat Hercog in 3 sets, Ormaechea to beat Date-Krumm in 2 sets, Jankovic to beat Keys in 2 very tight sets, Puig to beat Kleybanova in 3 sets, Robson to beat Dominguez-Lino in 3 sets and Li to beat Govortsova in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

Moo’s Quarter-Final Prediction – A.Radwanska v Jankovic

Third QuarterCaroline Wozniacki (7) v Sara Errani (4)
Caroline Wozniacki

It is hard to believe that the third quarter will produce a semi-finalist at the US Open and Caroline Wozniacki will not have a better chance to make a substantial run at a Grand Slam.  In her last two tournaments, Caro has played very well and her draw is extremely favourable with a qualifier up first, Ying-Ying Duan.  The first seed she could meet is Klara Zakopalova, who reached the semi-finals of New Haven, but suffered a 6-0 6-1 confidence-crushing beatdown to Petra Kvitova and is a staggering 0-11 in US Open main draw matches.  Roberta Vinci and Elena Vesnina are the other two seeds in this section and I see the latter progressing to the last 16.

Sara Errani heads into the US Open in what can only be defined as a slump in form compared to what has been another incredible year for the Italian.  The injury affected Ayumi Morita should not pose any problems in the first round, but I hope we get to see Errani take on Flavia Pennetta in the second round.  The last couple of years has seen a remarkable swing in fortunes as Errani-Vinci have overturned Pennetta-Schiavone as the dominant Italians.  This would be the first time that Errani will have met Pennetta or Schiavone since becoming the number one Italian so that would be an interesting watch for sure.

Svetlana Kuznetsova is projected to meet Errani in the third round.  Kuznetsova is a complete mystery; she will either bomb out first round, to Mallory Burdette in 3 ugly sets or go deep into this tournament.  She has really struggled to get over an abdominal injury in her appearances since the French Open; however she has saved her best tennis for the Grand Slams this year and if the rumours are correct that she could retire this year, I think she will be hungry for success.  Watch out for Simona Halep, who has a great draw and if she can fight off tiredness, should have the beating of Maria Kirilenko in the third round.

1st Round Predictions: Zakopalova to beat Hsieh in 3 sets, Vesnina to beat Beck in 2 sets, Safarova to beat Tsurenko in 3 sets, Kirilenko to beat Wickmayer in 3 sets, Halep to beat Watson in 2 sets, Kuznetsova to beat Burdette in 3 sets and Errani to beat Morita in 2 sets

Moo’s Quarter-Final Prediction – Wozniacki v Halep

Fourth QuarterPetra Kvitova (6) v Victoria Azarenka (2)
Petra Kvitova

Once again, Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova are projected to meet in the quarter-finals, but I certainly am not predicting it as we are destined to go another year without witnessing this match-up.  Kvitova’s summer hard court season has characterised her season with many three setters, some good performances, but some shockers too.  A final appearance in New Haven has certainly ended it on a high giving some much needed confidence going into the US Open.  Misaki Doi will not provide much opposition in round one, but Bojana Jovanovski or Andrea Petkovic will be much tougher in the second round.  I originally went with Petko over Petra, but changed my mind after watching Kvitova in New Haven.  

Kvitova is projected to meet Sam Stosur in the last 16, who has a gem of a draw.  She could meet Daniela Hantuchova in the second round, who she holds a 6-1 head-to-head lead and potentially, Nadia Petrova in round three, who has not played since Wimbledon and not won a match since Rome in May.

Azarenka will take on Dinah Pfizenmaier in the first round of the US Open and will go in with bags of confidence after notching up her second win of the year against Serena Williams in a terrific Cincy final.  She could play Alize Cornet in the third round, who gave her a really competitive match at Roland Garros earlier this year.  Cornet will open up against two qualifiers in her first two matches.

Ana Ivanovic and Dominika Cibulkova will be the key contenders for Vika’s 4th round opponent.  Ivanovic will want to get a solid win under her belt in round one against Anna Tatishvili having failed to put away Cornet in a horror Cincy encounter where she wasted multiple match points.  Since winning Stanford and notching up a great win over Kerber in Canada, Cibulkova has sunk back into the form that typified the first half of her 2013 season.  First up is a tricky match against now ranked number 44 in the world, Elina Svitolina, who won her first WTA title in Baku and then backed it up with another title in a $75k ITF tournament in Donetsk.

1st Round Predictions: Petkovic to beat Jovanovski in 2 tight sets, Riske to beat Pironkova in 3 sets, Barthel to beat Larsson in 2 sets, Ivanovic to beat Tatishvili in 2 tight sets, Lepchenko to beat Dulgheru in 2 sets, Goerges to beat McHale in 3 sets, Cibulkova to beat Svitolina in 3 sets and Azarenka to beat Pfizenmaier in 2 sets

Moo’s Quarter-Final Prediction – Stosur v Azarenka

Moo’s Final Prediction – Azarenka d. S.Williams

I am going for Azarenka to claim her third Grand Slam title, beating Serena in the final.  Granted, Serena never played her best tennis in the losses to Vika at Doha and Cincy, but Azarenka has the belief to get Serena on the ropes and cause her to play some dodgy tennis.  Also going in Azarenka’s favour is she will be fresh having not played a great deal of tennis this year.  Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska are both my tips for the semi-finals, but I struggle to see anyone upstaging Serena and Vika in making the US Open final.

Please feel free to leave your predictions in the comments section ๐Ÿ™‚

Full predictions for the womens draw can be found HERE

12 thoughts on “WTA US Open: Preview and Predictions

  1. So similar Moo! I'm same as you in quarters except Flipkens(I've gone for Suarez Navarro, don't know why tho…. Hopefully she's confident after beating Vinci) and Jankovic(I've gone for Na, she's been solid enough in her pre-US Open events to get to the quarters I think) Same semi line up-I think Halep has the potential to get to semis but her inexperience and nerves will allow Wozniacki to prevail probly.I've gone for Serena but Vika's a good choice too-I spent 10 minutes deciding before going for home crowd and the fact that Serena-is Serena ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Nice write up as always James ๐Ÿ™‚ A little brave predictions with Jankovic and Flipkens, especially Flipkens. However, I like the idea.Btw what is it about Kuznetsova retirement rumors? She still has some great tennis left in her. I hope she does well and does not retire. She is a such a joy to watch.


  3. Li Na is with Aza the only girl on tour with any chance to beat Serena and if she has the belief cuald shock Aza too!! Be careful on AO13 she was a 'surprise' this could be the year here and remember that semis in cincy Serena didn't win Li lose herself and then the match.Li vs Aza the final


  4. Li always does this against Serena, she somehow finds a way to lose from a winning position. Remember their clash in the world tour finals last year in Doha?Keeping fingers crossed for Li. Hope she can go for it and win it. She has what it takes to win the whole thing. She just needs to stay relaxed and calm.


  5. Thanks, Omair!There were a few rumours on my Twitter feed last week about Kuznetsova retiring this year. I do not know if there was any truth to it. Personally I could see her going on for a few more years.


  6. Actually Halep has more experience then is credited for. If she will be able to rest after New Haven, only injuries or Serena are definite stops for her the way she plays now, as she is able to play equal with anyone. If she will be able to finish first rounds fast in terms of time on the field, then she can reach easily semis.


  7. I suppose I knew the answer to that, I just wanted a second opinion. When Erakovic was up 6-1 5-4 against Robbo, while fellow kiwi tennis fans were popping the champagne corks and the Brits had their heads in their hands I knew better…. I was thinking oh no it's going to happen again…. It did. Erakovic is a choker. She should be a top 30/40 player as she beats the ppl above(nearly bet Kvitova last week) but slumps and injuries from last year have her in the 60's. I hope she has a choc o bloc post US Open schedule because every point she earns, statistically speaking, is "tax free" no losing points as she had a season ending injury as the USBut anyway what's this Kuznetsova retiring! She shouldn't, she has the game to play for a few more years


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