1. Maria Kirilenko v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Moscow, R2)
A tough all-Russian affair is set for Wednesday’s schedule as the number 1 seed Maria Kirilenko takes on the unseeded, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Kirilenko had a bye in the first round, meanwhile Pavlyuchenkova enjoyed a rare comfortable win as she took out the young Frenchwoman, Caroline Garcia, 6-0 6-3 in 66 minutes. Pav has had another up and down season with a few titles to her name in Oeiras and Monterrey, but a general lack of consistency with poor performances at the events that really count. The head-to-head stands at 1-1, but both those matches took place in 2009. Kirilenko hasn’t done anything of note since Roland Garros and Pavlyuchenkova always seems to do well in these smaller tournaments and has been more solid of late so I am going for Pav.
Prediction – Pavlyuchenkova to beat Kirilenko in 3 sets
Alisa Kleybanova v Carla Suarez Navarro (Moscow, R2)
In one hell of a struggle, Alisa Kleybanova showed her fighting instincts once more as she came from a set and a break down to beat Varvara Lepchenko in the first round. Kleybanova eventually prevailed 6-7(6) 6-4 6-4 in 3 hours and 11 minutes and now plays Carla Suarez Navarro. The Spaniard has been winning matches she is expected to be winning, but flopping in matches against the higher ranked players and has been on the receiving end of bagel sets to Serena, Jankovic and Kerber in the last few months. Kleybanova actually leads this head-to-head by 2 wins to 0 and I remember watching highlights of their most recent encounter in Indian Wells in 2010, which was a really fun match between two differing styles of play. I would love to see Kleybanova get a win, but I think CSN will prevail in the end.
Prediction – Suarez Navarro to beat Kleybanova in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
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