Jelena Jankovic was the most high profile loss on Friday as she wasted a 5-1 third set lead to go down in what sounded like a strange match to Varvara Lepchenko, 6-3 2-6 7-6(2). The coverage of the womens draw has been slack, but I did manage to watch the first set of Serena William’s second round match with Yaroslava Shvedova, which was really impressive. Shvedova played some of her best tennis, but was unable to hold her nerve as a noisy and intense Serena came back from 5-3 down in the first set and 3 set points down in the tiebreak (one on a double fault) to take advantage of the situation. Good match though. Now onto Day 5…
1. Flavia Pennetta v Ana Ivanovic (WTA, R3)
Flavia Pennetta stretched her winning streak to seven matches after she won her first match of the week in Miami against Olga Govortsova, 6-3 6-3. Pennetta is still riding on a high after winning Indian Wells last week. Her next match promises to be a compelling one against Ana Ivanovic, who comprehensively ousted Lauren Davis, 6-1 6-1 in the second round. Ivanovic has won all four previous matches with Pennetta, losing just one set in the process; however this match-up has a different feel to it based on their recent form. Many are backing Pennetta to go deep again, but I believe Ivanovic will be one step too far.
Prediction: Ivanovic d. Pennetta in 3 sets
2. Maria Sharapova v Lucie Safarova (WTA, R3)
Lucie Safarova continued her very steady start to 2014 with a straight sets win over Vania King, 6-3 7-6 in the second round. Of course, it could have been much easier for Lucie, who failed to serve out the match before eventually sealing the win in the tiebreak. Maria Sharapova came through her first match in straight sets, but it was tougher than the scoreline suggested as she needed 1 hour and 39 minutes to get past Kurumi Nara, 6-3 6-4. I really like Safarova’s form this year and she is now working with Rob Steckley. In the match she played against Simona Halep last week, he did a smashing job with Lucie on the changeovers and it appeared to be a coaching relationship that was working well. Safarova has the game to trouble Sharapova; I think she’ll take the first set, but finishing off the big wins has eternally been a struggle. I’d love to see Lucie win, but you have to favour Maria.
Prediction: Sharapova d. Safarova in 3 sets
WTA Miami 3rd Round Predictions
Serena Williams d. Caroline Garcia in 2 sets
Sam Stosur d. Coco Vandeweghe in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
Ekaterina Makarova d. Sara Errani in 2 sets
Angelique Kerber d. Tsvetana Pironkova in 2 tight sets
Sabine Lisicki d. Kirsten Flipkens in 3 sets
Petra Kvitova d. Donna Vekic in 3 sets