Li Na announced today that she will be skipping Montreal, Cincy AND the US Open due to a knee injury. Li missed Stuttgart earlier this year because a problem with a knee and wrote on her Facebook page that she needed to take some time off to rest the knee and make sure it heels. She is planning to be back for Wuhan. I saw more than one suggestion of Li retiring after the Asian swing this year and I wouldn’t disagree. What more has she can got to achieve? Back to this week and Stanford quarters look really great…
Poll Result: 60% of Moo’s Tennis Blog readers correctly predicted that Venus Williams would beat Victoria Azarenka.
1. Garbine Muguruza v Angelique Kerber (WTA Stanford, QF)
The first of the Stanford quarters will see the soaring Spaniard, Garbine Muguruza take on Angelique Kerber. Based on how the draw has unfolded, the winner of this match will be a heavy favourite to make the final. Muguruza was first into the quarter-finals with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Daniela Hantuchova in one hour and 40 minutes. Muguruza is into her 7th quarter-final of what has been a remarkable year. Kerber looked rusty in her first outing since Wimbledon as she defeated Coco Vandeweghe, 7-6(4) 0-6 6-1. It was one of the worst matches I have watched all year.
Vandeweghe was in control in the first set, but couldn’t capitalise. The highlight of the opening set was a sensational forehand passing shot from Kerber in the first set tiebreak. I hope there are replays, it was really fabulous. Kerber was awful in the second set and then Vandeweghe made so many loose errors in the decider. Coco had a few fun exchanges with her coach as they debated at the end of the second set what was her favourite shot of the second set… Coco was adamant it was a “backhand smoked down the line at 200mph”. It was a shame she kind of collapsed in the decider. She makes Petra looks consistent. Coco hit so many rally balls into the middle or bottom of the net. Kerber didn’t play a good match at all, but she recovered well in the third set and solid was all she needed to be.
Kerber and Muguruza have met on one previous occasion at Indian Wells last year where Kerber won 6-4 7-5. Before their second round matches, I would have said Kerber in straight sets. Now, I really think Garbine has a shot. Kerber had so many problems with her serve againsr Vandeweghe, hitting 10 double faults during the match. Muguruza was returning great against Dominika Cibulkova in the first round and she could have a field day. However Kerber is a great competitor and Muguruza hasn’t yet played someone of her consistency. Muguruza went wandering in the second set againt Domi and cannot afford that against Kerber. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the upset if Kerber plays like she did against Coco, but I think Angie will be much improved.
Prediction: Kerber d. Muguruza in 3 sets
2. Serena Williams v Ana Ivanovic (WTA Stanford, QF)
In her first appearance since Wimbledon, Serena Williams defeated Karolina Pliskova in straight sets, 7-5 6-2 It was an excellent performance from Serena who won 81% of first serve points, hit nine aces and broke Pliskova’s serve on three occasions. In the quarter-finals she will meet Ana Ivanovic for the third time this year. Ivanovic beat Sabine Lisicki in the first round and then eased past Carol Zhao in the second round, 6-1 6-1. Both matches featuring Serena and Ana in 2014 have gone the distance; Ivanovic won at the Australian Open, 4-6 6-3 6-3, but Serena gained revenge in Rome, 6-1 3-6 6-1. The match in Rome saw both players play some great tennis, but at different times to each other, as the scoreline would suggest.
I orginally went for Ivanovic in my pre-tournament picks. Since then, Serena has played and talked a good game. I’m really in two minds. One win over Karolina Pliskova isn’t an automatic assurance that Serena’s got her confidence back. I’m going to stick with my original pick of Ivanovic, but it’s tentative and with little confidence!
Prediction: Ivanovic d. S.Williams in 3 sets
WTA Stanford Quarter-Final Predictions
Venus Williams d. Andrea Petkovic in 3 sets
Varvara Lepchenko d. Sachia Vickery in 2 sets
ATP Washngton Quarter-Final Predictions
Vasek Pospisil d. Santiago Giraldo in 3 sets
Kei Nishikori d. Richard Gasquet in 3 sets
Kevin Anderson d. Donald Young in 2 tight sets
Milos Raonic d. Steve Johnson in 2 tight sets
WTA Washington Quarter-Final Predictions
Kristina Mladenovic d. Kurumi Nara in 3 sets
Marina Erakovic d. Bojana Jovanovski in 3 sets
Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Vania King in 2 sets (possible retirement)
Ekaterina Makarova d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 2 tight sets