WTA Miami, 3rd Round Previews for Sunday: S.Williams v Bellis, Ivanovic v Lisicki

Saturday has been all about the bagels.  Carla Suarez Navarro, Ekaterina Makarova, Tatjana Maria, Andrea Petkovic and Daria Gavrilova all won 6-0 first sets and prevailed in straight sets.  The big upset in there was Maria’s 6-0 7-6(4) victory over Eugenie Bouchard.  After a solid showing in Melbourne, Bouchard has suffered two disappointing losses in Indian Wells and Miami.  However, some of the tweets I read suggesting that Bouchard is slumping are hilarious.  Two bad losses does not constitute as slumping in my opinion.  Makarova and Suarez Navarro both won with identical 6-0 6-4 scorelines to reach the last 16; Carla is having a tremendous year and the clay court season is just around the corner.  I have a frenzy of previews planned for Sunday and Monday so stay tuned!

1. Serena Williams v Cici Bellis (Miami, R3)

SerenaMiami always dishes out wildcards to up-and-coming players on tour and once again, it has really paid off.  15-year-old, Cici Bellis reached the third round of Miami after trouncing the number 29 seed, Zarina Diyas, 6-2 6-1.  Bellis made a name for herself last year when she beat Dominika Cibulkova at the US Open.  The hype surrounding her has been heavy and it’s only going to increase after this week.  Bellis lost in the second round of the US Open to Diyas in three sets so this was a pretty notable result.  Stepping away from the WTA tour, Bellis’s results on the ITF tour have been impressive.  She won an $25K ITF in Rancho Santa Fe last month and enjoyed wins at another ITF in Sunrise too.  Bellis gets the ultimate reward with a third round tie against Serena Williams.

Serena has been troubled by a knee injury, which forced her to withdraw from Indian Wells.  It was an emotionally taxing week for the world number one who returns to Miami, her home tournament, where things should be much calmer and relaxed.  In her first match in Miami, Serena was once again firmly entangled in the web of Monica Niculescu.  It was nice to see a replay of this match-up because I missed their Indian Wels encounter.  Serena won, 6-3 6-1, but the scoreline didn’t reflect how tricky this was.  The world number one has won Miami seven times and since 1998, has only once lost before the quarter-finals.  This will be an engrossing match-up between youth and experience.  There’s little data to go on with Bellis, but i’d fancy her to give a respectable account of herself.

Prediction: S.Williams d. Bellis in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

2. Ana Ivanovic v Sabine Lisicki (Miami, R3)

LisickiWell hello there… for the sixth time in under a year, Sabine Lisicki and Ana Ivanovic will meet on a tennis court.  The pair had never met before Stuttgart last year, but match-ups keep popping up left, right and centre.  Both players came through gruelling three setters on Friday; Lisicki beat fellow compatriot Julia Goerges, 7-6(1) 6-7(5) 6-4 in two hours and 45 minutes, while Ivanovic overcame Irina Falconi, 7-5 6-7(4) 6-3 in two hours and 35 minutes.  Since reaching the final of Brisbane, Ivanovic has gone off the rails a little bit.  From snippets i’ve seen on Twitter, it appears that her foot is still not 100%. Lisicki’s year is looking up and even though the match against Goerges sounded like a right trial, she won it.  After losing back-to-back-to-back three setters at the start of the year, Lisicki has now won three of her last four deciding sets.  Ivanovic owns this match-up and powered through their most recent match in Dubai in just 65 minutes, 6-0 6-3.  This would appear to be a prime opportunity for Lisicki to bag a win against the Serb. I’m still not convinced though…

Prediction: Ivanovic d. Lisicki in 3 sets

3. Victoria Azarenka v Flavia Pennetta (Miami, R3)

AzarenkaVictoria Azarenka outplayed Jelena Jankovic to progress into the third round of Miami with a 6-1 6-1 victory in 87 minutes.  Azarenka was superb in the first set and although the second set had the same scoreline, Jankovic put up some late resistance.  There were two lengthy games in the second set; Azarenka won both of them, but not without saving a string of break points.  In fact, Azarenka saved 13 break points in the match including a late flurry in the last game of the match.  She finally sealed the win on her seventh match point.  In the third round, Azarenka plays Flavia Pennetta.  The Italian player came from a set down to seal her fourth consecutive victory against Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-7(1) 6-3 6-3 in two hours and 19 minutes.  The last time that Azarenka and Pennetta played each other was in the US Open semi-finals where Vika prevailed in a break-happy match, 6-4 6-2.  I’d expect another win for Azarenka but this should be her toughest match of the week.  After a slow start to the year, Pennetta has significantly improved in the last month.  There’s a fourth round match i’d love, love, LOVEEEE to see and i’m hoping it happens!

Prediction: Azarenka d. Pennetta in 2 tight sets

WTA Miami 3rd Round Predictions

Angelique Kerber d. Svetlana Kuznetsova in 3 sets

Simona Halep d. Camila Giorgi in 3 sets

Garbine Muguruza d. Sara Errani in 3 sets

Sloane Stephens d. Johanna Larsson in 2 tight sets *Larsson leads the H2H 2-0, but Sloane is gathering momentum*

Belinda Bencic d. Tatjana Maria in 2 tight sets

23 thoughts on “WTA Miami, 3rd Round Previews for Sunday: S.Williams v Bellis, Ivanovic v Lisicki

  1. Ana seems to know how to beat Sabine but I really hope Sabine can turnover the table and win this time.

    If Camila is not playing her crazy tennis (DBs) and she can keep her temper, she has a chance here. My wishful thinking!

    Kerber???? I really don’t what will happen. Based on form, Kuzy should win this time.

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    • Based on Larsson’s past records, she usually plays well if she can get to 3rd round. She has beaten Sloan twice and she is in form after beating Safarova. I may be wrong but I think Sloan is getting into shape now. I think she is more likely to win this one. According to Chrissy and other commentary teams, the ball tends to be very heavy at night. If they play at night, it will favour Sloan.

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    • Can you reply on my post in the future instead of calling someone name to respect people here (not ONLY me)? Thank you for your understanding.

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  2. All verrry intriguing matches, aren’t they?
    I think Kuznetsova could have this one in the bag, to be honest. It seems like she’s finally getting her game going in 2015. Just in time for the clay season, as if on cue.

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  3. Almost every player has to carry on a heavy battle to carry on in the tournament. Except Serena where they stick to the plan of smoothing her way up to the final.
    Downside is that she will be even less prepared to face Kerber then Muguruza and then Halep/Azarenka.
    She won’t make it through despite any protective draw of some sort…

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    • I think Serena would rather play Kerber in her current form than Nicelesku, who she clearly does NOT enjoy playing. Kerber never troubled Williams much when she was at her peak, she’s going to stand no chance now.

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      • I only watched the first set of Serena but considering it was her first match in Miami and against someone as tricky as Niculescu, I thought she was playing pretty well.

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      • She was better in the second set. I thought she was pretty amazing. I’d go s far to say it was one of her top 3 best performances of the year so far. And there was zero evidence of any knee injury, she was tracking down balls fairly easily. Her only real weakness was her net game, which hasn’t been great for a few years now.

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  4. I congratulate James for doing a great job with this blog. But writing a preview to Serena vs CiCi Bellis…?
    Come on, you can do better than that. That’s the only matchup that’s not really worth a review.
    I renew, it’s a shame that whilst other players are busting their bottoms to get through, Serena gets those hilarious match-ups. Poor Diyas couldn’t withstand CiCi Bellis and she was projected to face Serena AGAIN, after Niculescu AGAIN? And Kerber/Kusnetsova later just like in IW but without Sloane that really could produce an upset to “the Queen”?
    Come on…
    That’ a HUGE SHAME that noone is man enough to somehow recognise and adress that.
    Writing futile reviews instead.

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      • Than why is she offered the weakest opponents ever in a row?
        I guess these days reigns the fear in Serena’s camp from every decent player.
        Today vs CiCi was a full blown comedy. All the other matchups were derbies besize the shaking “Queen”.
        Shame on WTA!
        I hope Halep will teach her a lesson by walking over herself this time. She has not much left in the tank and should give no satisfaction to a outrested and unchallenged Serena.

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      • @Andrew:
        That’s only trolling, you have no ideas to discuss whatsoever.
        Only kids and ignorants find joy in easy victories of Serena that look arranged from the moon too…
        They are complaining there at the international spacial station. 🙂

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  5. Even I know Giorgi will most likely gift away the match, I really enjoy watching her smashing the balls from left to right making Simona runs like a dog. If someone can hit the balls really hard and keep the unforced errors reasonably low will defeat Simona easily like Venus and Muguruza. Go Girogi, keep smashing!

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