In the first of the womens quarter-finals, it was Maria Sharapova who edged out a tight first set with Petra Kvitova before rolling through the second to post a 7-5 6-1 victory. I thought this match could have been a hot mess, but it was reasonable through the first ten games before Sharapova kicked it up a gear. I do like Sharapova v Kvitova matches and they always have a good intensity to them. Kvitova really fell away though after throwing in a shocker serving to stay in the first set at *5-6. The second set of womens quarter-finals will be played on Wednesday.
1. Caroline Wozniacki v Li Na (WTA Miami, QF)
The last year or two have been tough for Caroline Wozniacki and she looked to be at one of her lowest ebbs after a crushing 6-3 6-1 loss at the hands of Jelena Jankovic in Indian Wells. However stepping up in Miami, she has sailed through to the quarter-finals and lost just two games in her last two matches. In the third round, she powered past another laboured effort by Sloane Stephens and on Monday, lost just one game again against Varvara Lepchenko, 6-0 6-1 in just 61 minutes. Granted, it hasn’t been the most challenging of draws, but this is still a bit of a turn up for the books. Wozniacki will meet Li Na in the quarter-finals, who had an equally thumping win in the fourth round. She defeated Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-0 6-2 in exactly the same time as Woz’s match.
Wozniacki and Li haven’t played since 2012; Li has won three of their five matches, but it is worth noting that four of the five have gone the distance. This is a pretty smart match-up for Caroline and will be a tremendous chance to boost her ranking ahead of the clay court season and following her sizeable fall to number 18 in the rankings. Li has been winning ugly of late, but that’s not a bad thing at all. She hasn’t been playing her best, and is managing to find a way to win matches she would have lost a couple of years ago. Three sets again in my opinion and I am going for what would be an upset.
Prediction: Wozniacki d. Li in 3 sets
2. Agnieszka Radwanska v Dominika Cibulkova (WTA Miami, QF)
A rematch of this year’s Australian Open semi-final is all set in the fourth and final Miami quarter-final. Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova both won hard fought fourth round matches that went the distance. Radwanska beat Elina Svitolina, 7-6 5-7 6-2, meanwhile Cibulkova overcame another gritty display from Venus Williams in what was by all accounts a very good match, 6-1 5-7 6-3. Cibulkova’s form this year has been really terrific and her emergence as a relevant contender in all the big tournaments is still surprising. Cibulkova has had a couple of tough matches, but so has Radwanska with her potentially dodgy knee. Cibulkova cruised past Radwanska in Melbourne and I believe that her confidence and recent form will notch up another win over the Pole in Miami.
Prediction: Cibulkova d. Radwanska in 2 tight sets