WTA Australian Open, Day 7 Preview: Goerges v Makarova, Halep v Wickmayer

The women’s matches on Monday are shaping up to be pretty spectacular; however Sunday’s matches are not particularly enticing on paper.  A few people have left comments about their lack of interest in the bottom half and to be honest, i’m feeling it a little too.  The quarters could be interesting though.

Fantasy Tennis Updates: adamwells tops the Moo’s Tennis Blog league in Racquet Rally with tenniz-fan in 2nd place and mootennis following closely behind in 3rd place (woo!).  In the TFF DreamTeam game, Grand Slammers is still in the lead.  I’ve had an absolute mare…

1. Ekaterina Makarova v Julia Goerges (AO, R4)

Goerges

In a match that i’d circled when the draw came out, Ekaterina Makarova emerged as the winner against the in-form, Karolina Pliskova.  In a tight two setter, Makarova secured her second win over Pliskova, 6-4 6-4.  Makarova is a tough cookie to break down at the Australian Open.  This is her fifth consecutive appearance in the second week of the Australian Open… once again, I feel validated in calling her the Bourne-GOAT.  Pre-tournament, Makarova would have expected to play Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round.  However, thanks to the string of upsets in this section, Makarova will play Julia Goerges.  Like Makarova, this is a happy hunting ground for Goerges.  This is the third time that Goerges has reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam and they have all come in Melbourne.

It’s great to see the German player finding some form.  Her high-risk game is awesome to watch when she’s on song (Stuttgart 2011), but for the last two years, she’s been mostly mediocre.  It’s painful to see her at number 74 in the rankings.  I’m not sure whether this is a turning point, but Goerges did enjoy two straight set wins in Auckland before losing to Caroline Wozniacki (no shame)… these are definitely good signs for Goerges fans, of which there are many.  She seems like a lovely person and always gives nice handshakes (this is important to me haha).

This will be a first career match-up between Makarova and Goerges.  I noticed that Makarova had strapping on her thigh… I don’t know if this was just precautionary.  Anyway, i’m a little fencey with this match, but Makarova’s experience at this level is the only thing that separates the pair for me.

Prediction: Makarova d. Goerges in 3 sets

2. Simona Halep v Yanina Wickmayer (AO, R4)

Yanina WickmayerPhoto by Jimmie 48 Tennis Photography

There have been been upsets aplenty in the women’s draw; although this has produced less notable match-ups, it has been great to see how much this means to some of the players who won through on Friday.  The best reaction of the day was from Yanina Wickmayer, who looked positively elated at reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, the first time she has reached the second week of a Grand Slam since 2011.  Wickmayer came from a set down to beat Sara Errani, 4-6 6-4 6-3.  The pair played a fiercely competitive match in Cincy last year, which Errani won in a third set tiebreak.  This time round, Wickmayer served it out to set up a fourth round encounter with Simona Halep.

Halep has looked vastly improved from her first round match, but did have a major wobble in her third round match with Bethanie Mattek-Sands.  Up 6-4 5-1, Halep lost four straight games before finally putting away Mattek-Sands in straight sets.  In a surprising head-to-head, Wickmayer has won all three previous matches against Halep.  The most recent of those matches was in 2012 in Hobart when Wickmayer won, 6-4 6-0.  Since 2012, a lot has changed in both players’s careers.  I love Wickmayer’s tenacity and she’ll fancy her chances against Halep.  Once again, i’d take the higher ranked player as Halep’s consistency will be tough to break down.

Prediction: Halep d. Wickmayer in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

9 thoughts on “WTA Australian Open, Day 7 Preview: Goerges v Makarova, Halep v Wickmayer

  1. Halep lucky her draw was just like Bouchard, if she had Serena draw or Petra draw she would be out. She isn’t playing good or great. Her match could go either way. Markarova could go either way also, but I gave Mar the slight edge.

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    • Simona is playing pretty well. Very good against Gajdosova and terrific at times against Mattek-Sands. Save for a couple of concentration lapses, she’s been cruising so far. Expect her level to rise when her opponents get tougher. It usually does. That’s the kind of player she is. She does enough to win, but she’s not the type to go chasing bagels and breadsticks against lower-ranked players when she can conserve energy instead. She’s also more prone to concentration lapses when she has a big winning margin, so don’t be fooled by the Mattek-Sands match.

      You can’t be serious that she would be out if she’d had Serena or Petra’s draw. Playing in 3rd gear so far this season, Simona hasn’t been seriously tested since her first match in Shenzhen. Against Muguruza, Simona would up her level and have a 70-30 chance at the moment (and certainly wouldn’t have been beaten by any of Serena’s other opponents so far.) Simona bageled and breadsticked Madison Keys last time they met, and would frustrate the hell out of Keys. Petra’s movement is nothing on Simona’s. Therefore, that match would have been in the balance.

      Simona in 2 comfortable sets against Wickmayer. Onwards and upwards, Simo!

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      • I agree. And I think if anything Halep deserves credit for beating low ranked players on a consistent basis, because that’s something a lot of top players can’t seem to do.
        Having said that I don’t think she’s as great a player as some make her out to be, I think she just does really well at making the most of what she has.

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  2. Halep is almost a great player. Not a superstar outside the court as she does not posses the natural ingredients (without winning a couple of GS she will not be seen as one), but a top player with great prespectives she is for sure. She is vulnerable against solid hitters, also she’s very emotional on hot moments, but she knows what she have to improve. Or if she’ll have the patience, she will manage to do so, as I can see she is on the right way so far this year
    Indeed a light draw comparing to Serena or Petra (not Bouchard who normally had to met Kerber or CSN if they did not get out), but the draw is not a discussion about quality, it’s about fortune. Anyhow at this current game level it will be hard for her against Georges or Makarova, not to mention Sharapova in SF (who’s draw by the way was also lean), but I have to agree with Greg, she was cruising on the 3rd gear so far.

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      • Yep, it’s irrelevant now anyway. Makarova will provide a much sterner test.

        However, I just don’t see Simona losing at the moment. Her extra gears were once again in evidence today after she was broken for 2-2 in the 2nd set. Yanina barely had time to turn around as Simona blitzed her in the last 4 games. The exchange at the net said it all I think. Yanina smiled as if to say, “Wow! You’re special Simona. There’s nothing I could have done.”

        It would take a foolish/brave man to bet against Simona right now. She can just up her game at will it seems and play stupendous shots like the 2 BHDTL she hit on the run. They were just insane!

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  3. Indeed she responded very prompt today, For every ball searching the corner or the bottom line sent by Wickmayer, Simona answered with a better one. At breaks she answered with rebreaks. Her game looked solid and very customized for Yannina type of play, and looked that she is ready for Sharapova (much more than Bouchard).

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