The second round matches lived up to expectation in Dubai with quite a few interesting results. Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska all dropped a set, but won through to the third round. Three seeds weren’t quite as fortunate as Jelena Jankovic, Andrea Petkovic and Peng Shuai all lost. If you after some new diverse tennis literature, check out Tennis Translations. This is a great new project offering translation of tennis articles from other languages into English. The article with Andrea Petkovic (see HERE) is a fantastic read…
1. Agnieszka Radwanska v Garbine Muguruza (Dubai, R3)
Agnieszka Radwanska will be relieved to have come through her first challenge of the week against Caroline Garcia, 6-3 2-6 6-3 but she faces an even sterner one on Wednesday she takes on the Spaniard, Garbine Muguruza. All three matches between Radwanska and Garcia have gone three sets; unlike their last encounter in Wuhan, Radwanska prevailed as she lost just two points on her serve in the decider and closed out the match with three aces in her final service game. Muguruza had struggled in her first round win against Jarmila Gajdosova, but was on court for just 61 minutes in a very comfortable 6-3 6-1 second round victory over Jelena Jankovic. It’s now got to the stage where a win like this doesn’t even register as a surprise. Muguruza is consistently beating top players and I maintain my stance that she will crack the world’s top ten this year.
In the Radwanska-Muguruza head-to-head, Radwanska won their two matches in 2014 handily, dropping no more than three games in any of the four sets they played. However when they played in Sydney, Muguruza bagged her first win over the Pole. Radwanska looked a little tired, but Muguruza’s aggressive and pounding baseline game saw her come through to win, 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2. Radwanska survived against Garcia, but Muguruza is mentally a bit further along the line. I’d fancy the Spaniard to maintain her solid start to the year with another win in Dubai.
Prediction: Muguruza d. Radwanska in 3 sets
2. Karolina Pliskova v Ana Ivanovic (Dubai, R3)
Karolina Pliskova just keeps on winning. She won her 14th match (including Fed Cup) of the year on Tuesday with a straight sets win over fellow Czech player Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 6-4 6-2. It took Pliskova until the end of March last year to rack up the number of the wins she already has amassed in 2015. Furthermore, her last seven wins have all come in straight sets. I must admit that I have underestimated her on tour and already, my pre-season prediction of her to be top 20 at the end of the year look rather pathetic now… credit must to go to one of our loyal posters in the comments section, Andrew who has been spot on about Pliskova.
On Wednesday, Pliskova goes up against Ana Ivanovic. The Serb won her first match of the week against Sabine Lisicki, 6-0 6-3. The pair served up 18 double faults in this 65 minute contest with Lisicki contributing 13. It hasn’t been a good start to the year for Lisicki, but at least she seems to be healthy. I’d like to see her play more international events and try and build up some confidence. Ivanovic and Pliskova have met once before at the US Open and it was Pliskova who prevailed in an upset, 7-5 6-4. I am concerned with the amount of matches Pliskova has played in the last week. She’s shown herself to be highly capable at playing back-to-back tournaments, but she has barely had a day off since Fed Cup which was over ten days ago. Therefore, i’m going for Ivanovic…
Prediction: Ivanovic d. Pliskova in 2 tight sets
3. Caroline Wozniacki v Alize Cornet (Dubai, R3)
In the final match of the day scheduled for Wednesday, aka the only one I can watch live, Caroline Wozniacki will take on Alize Cornet. Wozniacki earnt her first win since the Australian Open, but it wasn’t easy. Caroline twice failed to serve out the match against Sam Stosur before finally edging over the finish line at the third opportunity. She recovered from a set down to win 4-6 6-1 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes. I’d regard Wozniacki as one of the best closers on tour so it was a little surprising to see her nearly come completely unstuck at the end. Wozniacki took a MTO at the end of the first set for a whole host of problems.
The Dane faces Alize Cornet in the third round. Last year’s finalist had a wackadoodle first round win against Kirsten Flipkens, 6-0 6-7(6) 6-3. After bagelling Flipkens in barely 20 minutes, the pair ended up playing one of the longest matches of the year so far lasting three hours and 11 minutes. Despite all the drama and histrionics, Cornet often manages to win these crazy three setters. Her second round match was much calmer as she beat Cagla Buyukakcay in straight sets, 6-2 6-4. Wozniacki leads the head-to-head with Cornet, 5-1. Wozniacki has won their last four matches, but the pair haven’t played for nearly two years. Their last encounter saw Wozniacki prevail in a three setter at Indian Wells, 6-4 3-6 6-3. Wozniacki does everything a bit better than Cornet so i’d expect the number three seed to prevail.
Prediction: Wozniacki d. Cornet in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
WTA Dubai 3rd Round Predictions
Simona Halep d. Tsvetana Pironkova in 2 sets
Ekaterina Makarova d. Zarina Diyas in 2 tight sets
Flavia Pennetta d. Angelique Kerber in 3 sets
Petra Kvitova d. Carla Suarez Navarro in 2 sets
Poll Results from Tuesday: 72% of readers correctly predicted that Muguruza would beat Jankovic, 73% correctly predicted that Radwanska would beat Garcia, 76% correctly predicted that Wozniacki would beat Stosur, 66% correctly predicted that Ivanovic would beat Lisicki and only 38% correctly predicted that Kerber would beat Kuznetsova.