Week 5 on the WTA tour had two Russian winners as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won her biggest title to date in Paris and Ekaterina Makarova won her second WTA title in Pattaya City. The women will now take a week off before Fed Cup action kicks off next weekend. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the tournaments from Paris and Pattaya City.
WTA Paris: Pavlyuchenkova d. Errani, 3-6 6-2 6-3 (F)
I always enjoy the Paris indoors event and the 2014 edition was an especially good one with some excellent matches through the week. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was a surprise winner with three top ten wins over Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals, Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals and Sara Errani in the final. It was an interesting final, full of twists and turns, which saw both players play well, but at different times from each other. I have always been a fan of Pavlyuchenkova and this match demonstrated both her good and bad sides. She hits the ball so well and I liked how she was never afraid of hitting into the corners and moving Errani around the court; however her concentration does waver rather dramatically. She played five three set matches this week and lost the opening set in four of those matches, which shows that mentally, she did extremely well to end up as the champion.
In other news from Paris, Alize Cornet, like Pavlyuchenkova, played three setters all the way to the semi-finals. She played some incredibly gutsy tennis in her 10+ hours on the court and has cemented herself as a really tough player to beat. Andrea Petkovic had a pretty good week, as did Elina Svitolina in making the quarter-finals. Aside from Errani, the top two players in the draw, Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber showed early promise with some dominant early round wins; however both were undone at the hands of Pavlyuchenkova. Kerber seems to be playing well this year, but needs to start digging out some wins in the tight three set matches. All in all, a great week in Paris and I was really impressed with the execution of drop shots this week. A random point, but something that was apparent in all the matches I watched this week!
Best Matches of the Week:
Pavlyuchenkova d. Sharapova, 4-6 6-3 6-4 (QF)
Highlights from the Msharapova2
Cornet d. Zahlavova Strycova, 6-3 5-7 6-2 (R2)
Highlights from TennisProHD
Hotshot of the week:
This was brilliant from Petkovic
Moo’s Original Predictions: I was correct on a few things with Halep not doing great and Sharapova falling at the semi-finals stage, but as per usual, I was unable to identify which players would take their place. I got unlucky with Kvitova pulling out through illness. Overall I correctly predicted 4 out of the 8 quarter-finalists and had 48% correct picks.
WTA Pattaya City: Makarova d. Ka. Pliskova, 6-3 7-6(7) (F)
One of the most surprising statistics that I came across this week was that Ekaterina Makarova had only won one WTA title in her career. I don’t know why, but I thought she had won more although she does have now have two to her name after winning the WTA Pattaya City title, beating Karolina Pliskova in the final. Makarova has made a very competent start to the year; she beat Jelena Jankovic in Sydney, reached the 4th round of the Australian Open and won five matches in Pattaya. It was actually a tough week for Makarova as she wasn’t particularly convincing at times with three of her five matches going the distance.
Pattaya saw some notable early withdrawals in Sabine Lisicki and Svetlana Kuznetsova and a few players, who have been on a miserable run of form, have noteworthy tournaments. Andrea Hlavackova, who is a terrific doubles player and a far superior singles player than her current ranking of 126 lets on, reached the semi-finals, meanwhile Julia Goerges managed to win back-to-back singles matches. I’m still dusting myself off from the floor with that one, but jokes aside, it is encouraging to see Goerges winning more matches than last year.
Moo’s Original Predictions: Another terrible set of predictions, but once again, I feel I was unlucky choosing Lisicki! I had 3 correct quarter-finalists and 42% correct picks… ouch.