WTA Indian Wells, 4th Round Preview: Halep-Bouchard and Jankovic-Wozniacki

The coverage this week in Indian Wells has been really great and there have some good women’s matches.  Monday’s stat of the day was Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova winning just four points in the deciding set to Aleksandra Wozniak as she was handed a bagel and a breadstick in a 6-1 6-7 6-0 loss.  The big shock though was Maria Sharapova being ousted by Camila Giorgi in 3 tight sets.  Giorgi is an exciting player and isn’t afraid of pulling off these big upsets.  In Monday’s poll, 64% incorrectly went for Ivanovic to beat Stephens, who prevailed in two tight sets.

1. Simona Halep v Eugenie Bouchard

Simona Halep and Eugenie Bouchard both have huge opportunities to crack new ground at a Premier Mandatory after the third quarter of the women’s draw was decimated in the early rounds.  Halep and Bouchard have both demonstrated good form throughout this tournament.  Halep beat Kurumi Nara, 6-2 6-2 in the first round and then dug in deep to get past Lucie Safarova, 6-2 4-6 6-4 in an excellent second round match.  Halep was sensational throughout the first set, but wavered on serve in the second and third set as Safarova consistently got Halep on the move and pounded impressive winners past the world number 7.  Safarova twice led by a break in the decider but was unable to convert as Halep, who admitted to struggling in the heat, came back impressively.

Highlights from the decider of Halep v Safarova (Via Tennis World)

Bouchard’s 6-3 6-3 victory over Sara Errani, was in my opinion, her best performance of 2014 so far.  It was an ultra-aggressive showing from Bouchard, who hit 36 winners to 25 unforced errors and served extremely well.  She wobbled at the end as she was unable to serve out the match, but broke Errani in clinical fashion.  Bouchard will have the support again and is also playing with a supreme air of confidence this week.  Halep goes in as the favourite, but if she shows any signs of weakness like she did against Safarova, she won’t get away with it in this match.  I am fascinated by this match-up and am feeling fencey…

Highlights from the second set of Bouchard v Errani (Via Tennis World)

Prediction: Halep d. Bouchard in 3 sets

2. Jelena Jankovic v Caroline Wozniacki

Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

After nearly two years without playing each other, Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki will reignite their head-to-head in this last 16 match in Indian Wells.  Jankovic won their first four matches between 2008 and 2010, including one in the final of Indian Wells, but Wozniacki has prevailed in their last five over the course of 2011 and 2012.  Since their last meeting in Stuttgart, their careers have crossed over with Jankovic cracking the top ten again, and Wozniacki falling out of the top ten after a disappointing Australian Open.

Wozniacki has competed well this week beating two players who she lost too in 2013.  In the second round, she played a scratchy first two sets, but eventually overcame Yaroslava Shvedova, 7-6(7) 3-6 6-1.  A win is a win and this is a match perhaps she would have lost last year.  Jankovic had a straightforward win against Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-3 6-2 on paper, but was troubled throughout with a back complaint.  A growing trend in their last five matches was that Jankovic was never able to break down the brick wall of Wozniacki.  This will be a worry for JJ fans, but she has grown in confidence over the last two years and become much more consistent again.

Prediction: Jankovic d. Wozniacki in 3 sets

3. Dominika Cibulkova v Petra Kvitova

The change in Dominika Cibulkova‘s results this year have been quite startling.  After reaching her first Grand Slam final in Australia, she won in Acapulco and has now made the last 16 at Indian Wells.  Her talent has never been in question, but her consistency and ability to back up big results has always been an issue.  On Monday, she defeated Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4 7-5 in a match that I am certain she would have either won in three long sets or lost last year. Cibulkova will now play Petra Kvitova, who characteristically lost the middle set in her match with Svetlana Kuznetsova, but sailed through the decider to post a 6-3 2-6 6-0 victory.  I love that Kvitova is in on the whole P3tra joke after her Facebook post earlier!  Cibulkova and Kvitova have met on five occasions with Kvitova winning four of those matches.  Cibulkova’s sole win came in Sydney last year where she lost just two games.  Kvitova appears to be playing reasonably well, but I definitely fancy Cibulkova to come through and set up an Australian Open final rematch with Li Na.

Prediction: Cibulkova d. Kvitova in 2 tight sets

WTA Indian Wells 4th Round Predictions

Li Na d. Aleksandra Wozniak in 2 sets

Flavia Pennetta d. Camila Giorgi in 2 tight sets

Sloane Stephens d. Alisa Kleybanova in 2 tight sets

Lauren Davis d. Casey Dellacqua in 3 sets

Agnieszka Radwanska d. Alize Cornet in 2 tight sets

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