1. Caroline Wozniacki v Venus Williams (Miami, R4)
Seventh time lucky? Caroline Wozniacki is still seeking her first ever victory against Venus Williams and she’ll get another crack on Monday when the pair meet in the fourth round of Miami. Wozniacki’s first two matches were polar opposites; the first was a crushing 6-0 6-1 win over Madison Brengle and the second was a scrappy and unconvincing victory against Kaia Kanepi, 4-6 6-1 6-3. The wind had a lot to do with the match against Kanepi as the pair hit a combined 103 unforced errors. Wozniacki struggled from one particular end and made a right horlicks of trying to serve out the match. At the end of the day, a win is a wiin…
Williams has won both her matches in straight sets, defeating Urszula Radwanska in the second round, 6-3 6-2 and Sam Stosur in the third round, 6-3 7-6(3). Venus’s match with Sam was a fun watch and there was some entertaining rallies. The scoreline hides the struggle Venus faced in the second set as she failed to serve out the match on three occasions. Stosur really stepped up her intensity but at the same time, Williams’s first serve eluded her and she kept hitting groundstrokes into the net. It’s been a tough year for Stosur because I don’t think she is playing badly. She just needs one of these matches to go her way.
Venus has won all six previous encounters against Caroline. Venus had won all their previous encounters in straight sets until the Auckland final at the start of 2015. Venus came from a set down to beat Caro, 2-6 6-3 6-3 (see match recap HERE). The first set of that match was arguably Wozniacki’s best set of the entire year so far. She was confident and aggressive, but allowed a surging Venus back into the match. I also enjoyed the speeches in Auckland as you could see the pair held a great respect for each other. I’d love to see Caro bag a win in this one, but i’m not feeling it. Her results have been respectable, but I haven’t been impressed with her tennis. She hasn’t been able to draw on that positive spark that shone throughout the second half of 2014 and she’ll need that in this match to stand a chance.
Prediction: V.Williams d. Wozniacki in 2 sets
2. Agnieszka Radwanska v Carla Suarez Navarro (Miami, R4)
Three months into the season and I never thought i’d be writing this… Carla Suarez Navarro has won twice as many matches as Agnieszka Radwanska in 2015! The pair will play each other on Monday in what promises to be a compelling match. Suarez Navarro is having a terrific year and she just keeps on winning. CSN is up to 18 WTA match wins in 2015 (compared to Radwanska’s 9). There doesn’t seem to be a great deal different in her actual playing style. The improvements seem to be more focussed in the mental side of her game. Carla has won 8 out of 11 three set matches this year and has also snapped a few losing streaks. In her third round match she beat Alize Cornet for the first time since 2010 with a straightforward 6-0 6-4 win.
Radwanska has reached the last 16 in Miami but her results have not been convincing. She needed three sets to get past Irina-Camelia Begu in Saturday’s late night WTA match. I haven’t had the chance to watch Radwanska this week, but everything i’ve read about her performances have been negative. Her partnership with Martina Navratilova hasn’t produced the results yet, but it is still far too early in my opinion for that to be an issue. Radwanska leads the head-to-head with Suarez Navarro, 4-0 and has dropped just one set in those meetings. I’m eager as a beaver to see the result of this one. As mentioned above, Suarez Navarro has been snapping losing streaks left, right and centre, and she is capable of winning this match. Radwanska will have to improve significantly to maintain her 100% record in this match-up.
Prediction: Suarez Navarro d. Radwanska in 3 sets