This week is slowing destroying me, but I will endeavour to get previews out for all three matches at some point today. In the first match on Friday, Maria Sharapova must beat Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets to keep her slim hopes of qualifying alive.. Sharapova suffered a second consecutive defeat in Singapore as she lost to Petra Kvitova in straight sets, 6-3 6-2 on Thursday. I went for Petra pre-match, but I was really surprised at how one-sided the scoreline was. Sharapova went up an early break in the first set, but lost nine straight games and was staring down at a second set bagel before briefly rallying to get on the board in the second set.
Radwanska is 1-1 in Singapore; she started her match against Caroline Wozniacki in inspired form and really should have won the first set. Write off Wozniacki at your peril though as the Dane twice came back from a break and then secured the all important break at 5-5 to win a tight opening set. Wozniacki then ran away with the second set from *2-3 to win the last four games of the match. It is possible that Radwanska could qualify for the semi-finals, even if she loses this match with Sharapova, but she MUST win a set.
Sharapova leads the H2H with Radwanska 10-2; Sharapova has won their last three matches, but the H2H doesn’t tell the full story. Radwanska’s two wins both came on hard courts, the most recent of those in the final of Miami in 2012. 7-5 6-4. Radwanska also pushed Sharapova all the way in their round robin match at the 2012 WTA Championships, losing out in three very tight sets, 5-7 7-5 7-5.
Radwanska has been playing well this week, looking rather refreshed having not played a great deal of tennis in the last month or two. On the other hand, Sharapova has been extremely erratic and seems to be wiped after her long match with Wozniacki earlier in the week, which lasted over three hours. I don’t think Radwanska will win this match, but I could easily see her prolonging this which would be enough to knock Sharapova out. For pride’s sake, I still think that if the opportunity of qualifying for Maria disappears, she will want to finish the tournament with a victory.
Prediction: Sharapova d. Radwanska in 3 sets
Polls from Day 4: 61% correctly predicted that Wozniacki would beat Radwanska and 40% correctly predicted that Kvitova would beat Sharapova.