Thursday’s schedule in Beijing is one of the very rare times where I agree with the schedulers…
1. Sloane Stephens v Caroline Wozniacki (Beijing, R3)
Two players with an outside shot of making the YEC in Istanbul go head-to-head in Thursday’s showcase match for the ladies. Caroline Wozniacki had a great week in Tokyo and started strong in Beijing with a 6-3 6-1 victory over Monica Niculescu. She now takes on Sloane Stephens, who exacted revenge on Eugenie Bouchard with a 6-1 1-6 6-4 victory having failed to serve out the match when they played in the same round of Tokyo last week. Perhaps I am losing my marbles, but I could not remember for the life of me that they had last played at New Haven just over a month ago. Wozniacki won that match, 7-6(6) 6-2 and has a 2-0 head-to-head lead with two straight set wins. This match-up definitely looks like one that favours Wozniacki, but I think Sloane will get a set this time.
Prediction – Wozniacki to beat Stephens in 3 sets
2. Bernard Tomic v Richard Gasquet (Beijing, R2)
The last time these two played I was there live watching it as Bernard Tomic upset Richard Gasquet in 4 sets to make the last 16 of Wimbledon earlier this year. Since then, the two have done a role reversal with Tomic slipping into the shadows once more and Gasquet enjoying a career best performance at the US Open where he made just a second Grand Slam semi-final. Tomic, whose tennis has been rather overshadowed by the growing off-court story of his coaching father and recent revelations by his former hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, did manage to overcome the Chinese wildcard, Zhang Ze in a tight two setter. Gasquet had a good win over Florian Mayer, coming through also in straight sets. Tomic did win their last match, but I really do feel that Gasquet should win this one and comfortably too.
Prediction – Gasquet to beat Tomic in 2 sets
3. Jelena Jankovic v Carla Suarez Navarro (Beijing, R3)
|Carla Suarez Navarro|
It has been quite a remarkable turnaround for Jelena Jankovic, who looked like perishing from the top 50 at the beginning of the year with the rate she was sliding down the rankings. A consistent set of results since Miami has seen JJ produce her best tennis at the big events and propel herself back up towards the top 10 again. Her second round was no easy match as she lost the middle set to Galina Voskoboeva, but it is a match she would have probably lost last year so coming through 6-3 5-7 6-3 was a good result at the end of the day.
Tomorrow’s opponent, Carla Suarez Navarro has also had a superb year in the grand scheme of things. She made the quarters of the US Open with a huge win over Angelique Kerber in a very tight match, but ended the tournament with two bagels at the hands of Serena Williams. After a shaky loss in Tokyo, wins over Kristina Mladenovic and Lauren Davis have steadied the ship. CSN has won her last two matches against JJ, including in Beijing last year, and I expect her to do the hattrick.
Prediction – Suarez Navarro to beat Jankovic in 2 tight sets
Best of the rest: WTA Beijing 3rd round predictions
Serena Williams to beat Maria Kirilenko in 2 sets
Agnieszka Radwanska to beat Polona Hercog in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
Angelique Kerber to beat Roberta Vinci in 3 sets
Lucie Safarova to beat Andrea Petkovic in 3 sets
Best of the rest: ATP Beijing 2nd round predictions
Novak Djokovic to beat Fernando Verdasco in 2 sets
Stanislas Wawrinka to beat Sam Querrey in 2 tight sets
David Ferrer to beat Marinko Matosevic in 2 tight sets
Best of the rest: ATP Tokyo 2nd round predictions
Feliciano Lopez to beat Kei Nishikori in 2 tight sets
Nicolas Almagro to beat Horacio Zeballos in 2 sets
Edouard Roger-Vasselin to beat Lukas Lacko in 3 sets
Milos Raonic to beat Jeremy Chardy in 3 sets