The bottom half of the women’s draw looks in great shape as we head into the third round. There have been quite a few upsets in the third quarter, but there are some quality players still remaining. In the fourth quarter, we are just one match away from some blockbuster last 16 matches. As always, if you’ve got an opinion about a match then let’s hear it! Do you fancy any shocks in these three matches?
1. Maria Sharapova v Sabine Lisicki (WTA US Open, R3)
Maria Sharapova dropped her first set of the tournament to Alexandra Dulgheru, but responded in typical Maria-like fashion to win in three sets, 4-6 6-3 6-2. She now takes on Sabine Lisicki in third round, reigniting an interesting rivalry. This has been an encouraging spell on the tour for Sabine, who has been fit and healthy, and beating players you would expect her to beat. Excluding her retirement to Mona Barthel at the French Open. Lisicki hasn’t lost to a player outside the top 20 since Charleston where she lost to the eventual champion, Andrea Petkovic. Lisicki is yet to drop a set this week although it is fair to say that the calibre of opponents she has played hasn’t been terribly high. Her first round opponent, Francoise Abanda is a talented prospect, but not experienced enough to be labelled as a significant threat yet.
Sharapova leads the H2H with Lisicki 5-1; Lisicki’s lone win came at Wimbledon in 2012, which was a match that I watched live. On that day, Lisicki was fantastic and managed to couple aggression and consistency for long enough to knock off a slightly sluggish Roland Garros champion. Sharapova gained revenge in a fabulously feisty match at the Olympics three weeks later. Lisicki will only win this match if she goes hell for leather and manages to maintain her consistency for longer than five minutes. I remember watching their match in Australia in 2012 where Lisicki lost in the third set because she was too passive. Lisicki will have a chance for sure, but i’d be surprised if she can maintain her level for long enough to knock out Maria. We’ll see…
Prediction: Sharapova d. Lisicki in 3 sets
2. Andrea Petkovic v Caroline Wozniacki (WTA US Open, R3)
The good matches keep on coming as Caroline Wozniacki and Andrea Petkovic will meet at NB 10pm UK time on Grandstand court. Petko has competed superbly this week, coming through two three setters and edging out Monica Puig in a third set tiebreak. Petkovic won, 3-6 6-3 7-6(5), coming from a break down in the decider and a mini-break down in the third set tiebreak. She has not been playing at her best this week, but mannn, I love her spirit and generally love everything that she represents. Wozniacki lost a set to Magdalena Rybarikova in the first round before the New Haven finalist was forced to pull out with an injury. In the second round, Wozniacki got her braid stuck in her racquet (hilarious!) but had no trouble defeating Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-3 6-4. Wozniacki and Petkovic haven’t played each other since their quarter-final at the US Open three years ago. The most noteworthy match in their H2H was when Petkovic defeated the then world number one, 7-5 3-6 63 in Miami. I think this should be a really entertaining match. Caro for the win.
Prediction: Wozniacki d. Petkovic in 2 tight sets
3. Sara Errani v Venus Williams (WTA US Open, R3)
Here’s your fun stat of the day… Sara Errani hadn’t won back-to-back matches away from the clay since Doha in February. That’s a long time. Errani smashed that record to smithereens in New York with two straight set wins over Kirsten Flipkens and Anastasia Rodionova to book her place in the last 32. For Sara to record three straight wins (a feat not achieved on hard courts since Paris indoors) would require one of her best performances of the year against a red-hot, Venus Williams. In the first round, Venus wavered against the legendary, Kimiko Date-Krumm. She needed three sets and a whole lot of patience to prevail, 2-6 6-3 6-3. In the second round, she had a much more comfortable victory over Timea Bacsinszky, 6-1 6-4. I heard great things about that match on Twitter. Venus leads the H2H with Errani 3-0 with all three wins coming in straight sets. Errani hasn’t managed more than three games in any of the sets they have played. Despite being the lower seed, Venus will go in as the overwhelming favourite to win this match and make the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time since Wimbledon 2011 (!)
Prediction: V.Williams d. Errani in 2 sets
WTA US Open 3rd Round Predictions
Jelena Jankovic d. Johanna Larsson in 2 sets
Peng Shuai d. Roberta Vinci in 3 sets
Simona Halep d. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in 2 sets