In light of the rather majestic set of second round matches in Dubai, this will be the first of two previews. I can’t remember such a cracking line-up and hopefully, it actually delivers some great matches. Unfortunately I ran out of time yesterday to write any other previews so i’ll be focusing firmly on Dubai for the week ahead. Thanks to everyone who has piped up in the comments sections over the last few weeks, it’s great to hear all your thoughts 🙂
1. Angelique Kerber v Svetlana Kuznetsova (Dubai, R2)
Angelique Kerber goes up against Svetlana Kuznetsova on Tuesday for a place in the last 16 of the Dubai Duty Free Championships. Kerber endured a pretty rocky start to the year down under. Her best performance came in Sydney where she reached the semi-finals with back-to-back-to-back wins from a set down. However this tournamment was sandwiched between two tough losses, against Elina Svitolina in Brisbane (from a set and double break up) and Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round of Melbourne. Kerber lost 6-1 6-1 to Francesca Schiavone last week in Antwerp although i’d put some of that down to Fed Cup the weekend before. However Kerber has still looked vulnerable this year and Kuznetsova is the type of player who can cause her problems. In the first round, Kuznetsova advanced when Kaia Kanepi was forced to retire with a back injury after just five games. Kuznetsova leads the head-to-head with Kerber 3-2 and won their most recent encounter in Beijing, 2-6 6-4 6-3. You NEVER know what you’re going to get with Sveta but a solid display here and i’d take the Russian player…
Prediction: Kuznetsova d. Kerber in 3 sets
2. Sabine Lisicki v Ana Ivanovic (Dubai, R2)
This match-up is like London buses… The pair had never played each other before Stuttgart last year but since then, we’ve had an avalanche of Lisicki-Ivanovic matches. The pair will meet for the fifth time in under a year in the second round of Dubai. Apart from a three set win for Lisicki at Wimbledon, Ivanovic has dominated this match-up with victories in Stuttgart (6-1 6-3), Stanford (7-6 6-1) and Beijing (6-3 7-5). Lisicki won her first match of the year in the first round, defeating Monica Niculescu in straight sets, 6-3 6-4. Considering the opponent and her recent form, this was an impressive win for Lisicki. A match under her belt will certainly give her a chance in this one as Ivanovic hasn’t played since a first round loss in Melbourne and is reportedly still troubled by a broken toe. However, i’m still concerned as to whether Lisicki can produce a consistent enough performance to get the W.
Prediction: Ivanovic d. Lisicki in 3 sets
4 thoughts on “WTA Dubai, 2nd Round Preview for Tuesday: Kerber v Kuznetsova, Ivanovic v Lisicki”
I can’t decide on Ivanovic vs Lisicki. This court suits them both. Is it a day or night match? Ana tends to struggle with the sun at times…
A day match.
Honestly, both matches are too close to call. However, I think “Petkovic” factor (i.e. success in winning Diamond Games) may help to motivate Kerber and Lisicki to work harder. In this case, I back both girls to win though it’s a 50/50 can go either way. By the way, Ana is playing in the morning. I think ball will fly faster and this may give Lisicki some advantages over Ana.
It’s definitely the riskier pick but I’m leaning towards taking Lisicki over Ana. And I’m definitely on Williams for the title. As you say James, that was some seriously clean and impressive hitting from her today and she is so at home here.