Back to reality for me as I am going back to work tomorrow 😦 As always, I will endeavour to get one post out a day each evening. Most of the headlines from Monday’s action came from Hobart where Laura Robson withdrew during her first round match with the same wrist injury and Sam Stosur’s phobia of playing in Australia continued as she barely made it past world number 147, Madison Brengle, in a 3rd set tiebreak.
1. Kaia Kanepi v Angelique Kerber (WTA Sydney, R2)
Tuesday’s match of the day will see Kaia Kanepi take on Angelique Kerber in the second round of the Apia International. The match has surprisingly been ditched on court 6 meaning it will be untelevised. Kerber had a huge win in her first round match as she defeated Dominika Cibulkova for the first time in five attempts. There was some great hitting in the match, but a nervy ending as Kerber eventually sealed the win, 7-6(5) 7-5. She now plays Kanepi, who continued her impressive start to the year with a 6-1 6-3 victory over young American, Victoria Duval. Kanepi leads their head-to-head by two wins to one including a fantastic three set victory at Wimbledon last year, which ranked in my top 10 best matches of 2013. Their last encounter at the US Open saw a dominant victory from Kerber; however that win doesn’t hold much significance as Kanepi was coming back from injury. I expect a high quality and close encounter between two in-form players with Kerber prevailing.
Prediction: Kerber to beat Kanepi in 3 sets
2. Agnieszka Radwanska v Bethanie Mattek-Sands (WTA Sydney, R2)
Agnieszka Radwanska plays her first WTA tournament of the year after a gruelling week at the Hopman Cup where she made the final with Grzegorz Panfil and played three very tough singles matches. Her shoulder is already taped and the serve looks fragile so I don’t have great expectations for Radwanska in Sydney. Step forward Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who took out Eugenie Bouchard with a very confident first round display. Mattek-Sands has some great weapons and showed signs during a stellar 2013 season of taming her ball-bashing game, yet remaining dangerous and explosive. The only time they ever played was at the 2012 Australian Open (see highlights below) when Radwanska prevailed in a stunning three set match, 6-7(10) 6-4 6-2. Mattek-Sands hit a remarkable 81 winners, but still came out second best. The American has a fair chance of causing an upset if Radwanska’s shoulder continues to affect her serve. On this occasion, I am going for Radwanska.
Prediction: Radwanska to beat Mattek-Sands in 2 very tight sets
WTA Sydney 2nd Round Predictions
Petra Kvitova to beat Christina McHale in 2 tight sets
Caroline Wozniacki to beat Lucie Safarova in 2 tight sets
Sara Errani to beat Lauren Davis in 2 sets
Ekaterina Makarova to beat Carla Suarez Navarro in 3 sets
Madison Keys to beat Ajla Tomljanovic in 3 sets
Tsvetana Pironkova to beat Varvara Lepchenko in 2 sets
WTA Hobart 2nd Round Predictions
Casey Dellacqua to beat Alison Riske in 3 sets
Bojana Jovanovski to beat Olivia Rogowska in 2 sets