Tokyo champion, Petra Kvitova faces her biggest test yet against Li Na in Beijing. Kvitova is unbeaten since crashing out in the third round of the US Open. Kvitova has come through two three setters this week against Varvara Lepchenko and Sara Errani, which has taken her tally of three set matches in 2013 to a whopping 34, of which she has won an impressive 23 including a current 8-in-a-row streak that stretches back to a loss to Caroline Wozniacki in Cincy. Li has been excellent all week and edged past Sabine Lisicki, 6-4 7-5 in her third round match.
Li leads the head-to-head by 3 wins to 2, but this remains one of the most unpredictable match-ups because both have the potential to be a world beater or incredibly irratic so every one of their match-ups has a different feel to it. I am surprised Petra is still in because of the terrible pollution in Beijing, which has seen some players become dizzy and I thought with her asthma it may be an issue too. This has been a solid week for Petra that should confirm her place in Istanbul, but I really do fancy this will be Li’s match.
A third Tokyo rematch will take place in Beijing as Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber will square off in the quarter-finals once again. In these two weeks, we have seen Stosur/Safarova (Safarova won both matches) and Bouchard/Stephens (Bouchard won Tokyo and Sloane won Beijing) and now Radwanska/Kerber. It is an interesting dynamic when players play each other in quick succession because it is easy to predict for the victor first time round to win again; however tennis is a funny old game and with a new court and new surroundings, it is not a foregone conclusion.
Both have been in fine form this week, particularly Radwanska who has lost just 7 games in her last 2 matches against Madison Keys and Polona Hercog. Kerber has not lost a set so far with solid wins over Laura Robson and Roberta Vinci. Of course Kerber won last week in Tokyo very comfortably, 6-2 6-4. The German player has a spot at the YEC in her sights so has more to play for, but I fancy Radwanska to turn the tables…
There are some pretty good mens matches tomorrow and I am most intrigued to see John Isner take on Tomas Berdych in Beijing. After an excellent hard court season in the US, this was always going to be a crucial fall season for Isner to stack up points and move closer towards the top 10. In fact Isner’s 2013 has been a tale of two stories; he has won a whopping 30 matches in the US this year (75% win success), but just 6 away from his homeland (40% win success). In fact he has played nearly 75% of his matches this year in America, which is a pretty astonishing statistic.
Two wins have been posted in China, but both have been awkward as he was pushed to 3 sets by Chinese wildcard, Wu Di and Roberto Bautista-Agut. Berdych came through in straight sets against Pablo Andujar in the first round and benefitted from a walkover in the second round. Isner and Berdych are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head with the big American winning their last encounter, a tight one decided by a third set tiebreak in Winston-Salem last year. The scorelines have not been impressive this week, but I think Isner will come good to dispatch Berdych tomorrow.