WTA Doha, 2nd Round Preview: Safarova v Makarova, Pennetta v Radwanska

First round action in Doha concluded on Tuesday with Alexandra Dulgheru’s victory over Alize Cornet in three sets, 6-4 3-6 6-1.  Two of the Dubai semi-finalists had contrasting fortunes on Tuesday.  Garbine Muguruza was forced to retire from her first round match against Carla Suarez Navarro due to a viral illness.  She had served for the first set at *5-3.  However, Karolina Pliskova just keeps on rolling… the Czech player won her 18th match of the year with a straight sets victory over Stefanie Voegele.

1. Lucie Safarova v Ekaterina Makarova (Doha, R2)

Ekaterina MakarovaIn a repeat of last year’s Wimbledon quarter-final, Ekaterina Makarova and Lucie Safarova will meet in the second round of Doha.  Makarova had a bye into the second round, while Safarova progressed with a straight sets win over Sam Stosur, 7-6(3) 6-4.  It was Lucie’s tenth win over Sam although she had lost their most recent encounter in Sydney at the start of the year.  For a full recap of the match click HERE.  Lucie leads the head-to-head 2-1 and won their last encounter at Wimbledon, 6-3 6-1 with one of her best ever performances in the biggest match of her career.  Both players have become much more consistent in the last year or two, but especially Makarova.  The Russian player continues to float under the radar, but her results on the big stage over the last year have been superb with back-to-back Grand Slam semi-final appearances.  This match feels like a 50/50 one to me and both are capable of winning the match.  The extra match on these courts should go in Lucie’s favour…

Prediction: Safarova d. Makarova in 3 sets

2. Agnieszka Radwanska v Flavia Pennetta (Doha, R2)

Flavia PennettaFlavia Pennetta will be seeking her third consecutive win against Agnieszka Radwanska when the pair play each other on Tuesday.  Pennetta came from a set down and battled through a thigh injury to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova, 3-6 6-4 6-2 in the first main draw match from Doha.  The Italian player was superb in the second and third sets with her backhand really stealing the show.  For a full recap of the match click HERE.  Pennetta won both their matches in 2014 although the second of those came in a disappointing Indian Wells final where Radwanska was clearly hampered by an injury.  As that tournament looms, this is an important time for Pennetta to pick up wins and more importantly, confidence to try and save as many of those champion points as possible! I keep having to remind myself that Pennetta won Indian Wells last year.  Radwanska’s form has been patchy at best, but i’d fancy her consistency on this slow hard court to win through against Pennetta.  The thigh injury didn’t seem to affect Pennetta against Kuznetsova, but it could still be an issue if this becomes a physical encounter.

Prediction: Radwanska d. Pennetta in 3 sets

WTA Doha 2nd Round Predictions

Petra Kvitova d. Jelena Jankovic in 3 sets

Carla Suarez Navarro d. Karolina Pliskova in 2 sets

Andrea Petkovic d. Zarina Diyas in 3 sets

Caroline Wozniacki d. Alexandra Dulgheru in 2 sets

Victoria Azarenka d. Elina Svitolina in 2 tight sets

Both photos by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

19 thoughts on “WTA Doha, 2nd Round Preview: Safarova v Makarova, Pennetta v Radwanska

  1. I’m stunned Pliskova is here again- this will be her 24th match and we’re in February! So far she hasn’t lost in the first round of a single tournament.
    I think CSN should take this, but you never know…

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    • Karo played awfully in her last match with Voegele though she won in 2. I think CSN played solidly against Muguruza. It is most likely that CSN will win this one unless Karo blast out multiple aces.

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  2. That Barbora girl was a bozo and a nasty loser, but my girl Venus wasn’t having it. She was mad that Venus challenged accurate calls and was right. Even if the calls were wrong Venus has a right to use her 3 challenges any how she pleases. We all know Venus rarely challenged and doesn’t bothered anybody .

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    • BZS/Venus was a very good match except the ending was ugly where BZS said something quite nasty to Venus. I think Venus will lose in the next round because she played over 1:00 am with BZS.

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      • BZS didn’t say anything, she was just very visibly agitated, which she’s more than welcome to be when she loses a match that she should have won against an opponent who wasn’t at her best. But I *loved* Venus reaction. She’s always so calm and sweet and happy, it was nice to see some attitude from her!

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  3. I really like to see where Aga goes from here.
    Petra should beat JJ in two unless she continues to give surprises.
    Elina is not playing her best tennis but I would think she is capable take one set from Vika.
    Alexandra Dulgheru is a black horse.

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    • I’m going for Jankovic over Kvitova. She was impressive in her first round and this court suits her game. Not to mention JJ beat Petra here last year quite comfortably.

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      • Sorry I have to disagree. Jankovic was not impressive at all when she played Saisa Zheng. The Chinese player is mediocre to me. To beat SS just needs to overpower her. Anyone can beat Petra when she is off the scale. What happened last year was really irrelevant going into this match. Jankovic the only chance to beat Petra is to hope Petra hitting tone of UFEs. My two bits.

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      • The slower courts here will mean that Kvitova WILL hit unforced errors. She doesn’t have the patience/ability to stay in rallies and since she can’t hit as many clean winners on this kind of surface she tends to try and put that little bit too much power on her strike, resulting in the ball spraying. On top of that this surface favours the returner over the server.
        I’m not a Jankovic fan but she certainly has what it takes to push Kvitova into playing poorly and she has done on 50% of their previous matches.

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      • That girl was being mean on court, every time Venus challenged a call she got mad at the ref for allowing Vee to challenged. You meant Venus should of finished her of 6-4 instead of it going to a tie break. By no means that girl is on Venus’s level on Venus worst day. Her handshake was distasteful and she had the stare of death. She was mad that Venus no kicked her butt, what a loser.

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      • Barbora is not mean and anybody on the tour will tell you that. She’s just VERY emotional. But she doesn’t have a nasty bone in her body.

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  4. The reason BZS was getting so pissed off wasn’t because Venus was challenging it was because the umpire was allowing Venus to challenge late. Challenges are meant to be immediate, and on several occasions Venus waited before her shot landed out before deciding to challenge. There is no doubt that had her shot landed in she would have played on. So I think BZS had every right to feel aggrieved, but this isn’t an issue unique to this match – umpires are often too lenient when it comes to this – and BZS has to control her emotions better. To see her act so childishly, e.g. noisily jumping around when Venus was serving and barely offering Venus a handshake at the end, was disappointing.

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    • You have to return the ball and Venus didn’t wait to long. She assumed the lines person would of called it. So what are you talking about, she is a loser.

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  5. Did either/both of you watch the JJ v Zheng match? I have no idea how good the Jankovic performance was, but I’d imagine it may do her confidence the world of good having lost 6-3, 6-3 to Zheng in her last match of 2014. Jankovic has been poor all year but this is a good chance for her to find some form and belief. Kvitova was frankly dreadful for patches of her matches in Dubai, and if she brings her error count with her it could be a great day for JJ.

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  6. Radwanska played her usual game. She was consistent and her unforced error count was low. The fact that her serve was working very well today made it better for her. Penetta played poorly, her balls could not find the court. Penetta was clearly out of sorts, she had no rhythm the entire match. If you are out of sorts then you cannot beat someone like Radwanska who is very consistent and reads her opponents and their game very well during the match. Penetta was mounting on unforced errors and Radwanska played her routine game completely expressionless (so as to not give any hints to the opponent). Radwanska directed most of the balls to Penetta’s forehand which was a good decision on her part and it paid dividend.

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