WTA Eastbourne, Quarter-Final Previews: Radwanska v Pironkova, Wozniacki v Petkovic

I’m back from my trip to Eastbourne. I had such an brilliant time and I hope you liked all the photos. I’ll be posting a final wrap-up from Eastbourne tomorrow with a selection of my best photos from the four days. If you missed any of my posts live from Eastbourne then you can check them out below. Thursday is quarter-finals day at the Aegon International as attention slowly begins to switch to Wimbledon.

Saturday posts: Photos from the practice courts HERE

Sunday posts: Photos from the practice courts HERE and recaps of Gavrilova-Erakovic (QR2) HERE and Barthel-Bencic (R1) HERE

Monday posts: Photos from first round matches (Kuznetsova-Rybarikova, Davis-Gajdosova, Strycova-Begu and McHale-Giorgi) HERE

Tuesday posts: Photos from the practice courts HERE, photos from court 1 matches (Safarova-Cibulkova and Petkovic-Garcia) HERE, photos from Babs-Sara HERE and photos from outside court matches (Gavrilova-Giorgi and Pliskova-Dellacqua) HERE

1. Tsvetana Pironkova v Agnieszka Radwanska

Radwanska

There are surprises all round in the Eastbourne draw and I think one them is actually Agnieszka Radwanska making the quarter-finals! She has lost just five games in her first two matches, beating Karolina Pliskova in the third round, 6-2 6-1. While Pliskova seemed to have her mind elsewhere, Radwanska played her best match in a very long time and claimed her best scalp of the year in terms of ranking. Tsvetana Pironkova is once again peaking for the grass season. She’s taken out Sam Stosur and Dominika Cibulkova back-to-back and becomes a different player on this surface. Radwanska leads the head-to-head, 8-2. Pironkova’s last win over Radwanska came at Eastbourne in 2012, while Radwanska won their last match at Wimbledon in 2013, an excellent fourth round match. I’ve got Pironkova as my finalist which doesn’t look quite as hilarious right now. Attention is turning to Wimby and i’m leaning towards Tsvetana…

Prediction: Pironkova d. Radwanska in 2 tight sets

2. Belinda Bencic v Johanna Konta

Bencic

Both Belinda Bencic and Johanna Konta are having a great grass court season; Bencic reached the final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and has secured another three wins in Eastbourne, beating quality opposition along the way. She advanced into the quarters after Eugenie Bouchard retired with an abdominal injury. Konta reached the quarter-finals of Nottingham and the second round of Birmingham, bagging three top 100 wins. For a player ranked at 146 in the world this is big. In Eastbourne, she has beaten Zarina Diyas, Ekaterina Makarova and Garbine Muguruza which is a sensational effort. Konta is not to be written off here as she did beat Bencic in Eastbourne last year in a match I watched live. This is a big occasion for Konta and it will be interesting to see how she deals with it. I’m teetering on the fence with this one, but i’d go for Bencic. Although Keys played a poor match in the second round, I was very impressed with how Bencic played in that match and particularly how she served. Confidence will likely be high…

Prediction: Bencic d. Konta in 3 sets

3. Daria Gavrilova v Sloane Stephens

Gavrilova

Daria Gavrilova has had a superb week as a lucky loser. After falling to Marina Erakovic in the final round of qualifying, she benefited from Petra Kvitova‘s withdrawal and took her place into the draw straight to the second round. She saved a match point with a gutsy win over Camila Giorgi in the second round, 3-6 7-6(6) 6-3 and then backed it up with another three setter, this time against Sara Errani, 6-1 5-7 6-2. Stephens had a shaky opener against Naomi Broady where she blew a match point on a simple putaway when serving for the match. She eventually prevailed in a third set tiebreak. Since that match, Stephens has secured straight set victories over Carla Suarez Navarro and Heather Watson. This will be a first career match-up and my instinct says Sloane wins this comfortably. I’ve really warmed to Dasha this week so i’d like her run to keep going.

Prediction: Stephens d. Gavrilova in 2 sets

4. Caroline Wozniacki v Andrea Petkovic

Petkovic

The last match of the day is the most visually appealing on paper featuring two top 15 players. Caroline Wozniacki blew a 5-1 lead against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first set and then lost it on the tiebreak. She rebounded to win in three, 6-7(3) 6-3 6-1. Kuznetsova went up an early break in the third set and had a game point to up 2-0, but ended up losing the last six games. It was an excellent match with both coming away with a positive winners to unforced errors differential. Wozniacki went for her shots and that was really encouraging to see. Petkovic has done well to reach the quarters this week with straight set wins over Caroline Garcia and Coco Vandeweghe and shown a marked improvement on her first match on grass in Birmingham against Katerina Siniakova. Woz is my champion for the week and i’m sticking by that.

Prediction: Wozniacki d. Petkovic in 2 tight sets

28 thoughts on “WTA Eastbourne, Quarter-Final Previews: Radwanska v Pironkova, Wozniacki v Petkovic

  1. Agree with all your predictions James,except I am picking Konta to defeat Bencic.Delighted that Daria has made the q/finals,though Sloane will be too strong overall for Daria.

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      • If Konta can keep it up, she will beat Bencic. Aga vs Pironkova is 50/50. I didn’t consider Aga was playing very well in the previous match with Karo. Karo just has no interests to play. I really love to watch a Konta vs Pironkova semi.

        Sloan will beat Daria in two easy sets.
        Wozi will win as well.

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      • I’m not usually keen on Aga but I’ll disagree with you here because I thought she was outstanding against Pliskova, who didn’t seem disinterested, she just couldn’t get her serve or backhand working. Radwanska was hitting the line nine times out of ten and her serve was deadly accurate.

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  2. You think that Radwanska tank today? In other case I don’t agree with your pick. I would go for Aga in one tight and one easy set. Bencic-Konta is wide open, quite impressive what both of them showed so far. I go here also for a three setter, the tight games for Bencic will come again. This week was really smooth so far. Her serve reached a new quality! Wozi is also my finalist, I agree with your pick. She will win in two tight sets.

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  3. Gutted over Kuznetsova. There wasn’t a whole lot in that second set. Had she not dipped just slightly in that first service she was broken in, I think she’d have won in straight sets

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  4. For the first time in a long time Aga looked like she wanted that win yesterday and she becomes very dangerous when she’s that focused. I also think she enjoyed some pace coming to her for once. A lot of variables are in place that will decide the winner but I give Aga the edge.

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  5. Sloane beats Daria and Wozniacki beats Petkovic. Rest two matches can go either way but I will give edge to Aga and Konta.

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    • Agree. Sloan and Wozi are more likely to win. Aga vs Pironkova depending on whether Piru can hold serves. She got broken many times when she played with Domi. Again, Aga does not hit as hard as Domi, so I guess it won’t end in two sets.

      There were moments when Keys and Bouchard really outplayed Bencic. I think Konta will do better than the two chokers in this tournament. Giorgi, Keys and Bouchard play the same style of tennis on grass except Konta is more consistent in this tournament (Hit really hard). Bencic lost in Holland when Girogi managed to minimize her unforced errors.

      So far, Bencic has outplayed her opponents in the long rallies. If Konta manages to outplay Bencic one or two long rallies, she has chance to win it all (Like Giorgi did in Holland final).

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      • Rightly said, also crowd support can play some role specially at crunch points and young Belinda can be a a bit nervy.

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      • Konta has been the surprise for me, wonder where the sudden motivation came from ? Long rallies are Bencic’s bread and butter play. I thought when Hingis came round to coach her sometimes, we’ll see some variety and finesse a la Radwanska. But, will have to wait, she is still young. Can’t really see her being a match for any of the top power players. If Konta isn’t spent by her recent exploits she’s really in this with a good chance.

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      • There weren’t any moments that Keys or Bouchards outplayed Bencic, you just don’t want to admit that you’ve been WRONG about her.

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  6. James,

    I’ve been following your site for several years now…and feel I might be one of your originals. Though I rarely leave comments (though I certainly enjoy reading others!), I just wanted to say you’ve done an exceptional job with this site, and it’s really been a pleasure reading your insights and watching the site grow!

    Just wanted to say kudos to you my friend, and let you know that there really isn’t a single site like this on the internet. Keep up the outstanding work, and this friend is always happy to read up over in Vancouver, Canada!

    (PS: If you ever get the chance, and I know it might be too much to ask, but it’d be great if your tournament predictions were updated as the sheet changes daily. A big ask YES, but maybe you can find some help to accomplish it, as that would be outstanding.) I believe your friend over at tenngrand.com gives “daily picks” for the men…perhaps it could be done in that manner easier than on the actual draw sheet. Just a suggestion, but the site is great regardless.

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    • Just wanted to thank you so much for this comment! I spend a lot of time maintaining this site alongside my day job and it is hard work, but it makes it all worth it to know that people are enjoying it. I still can’t believe how much the site has grown over the past few years and i’m chuffed with all the comments this year and I enjoy reading them too! Also, thanks for the suggestion. It mainly comes down to time for me, but i’ll have plenty of time for Wimbledon so will endeavour to do a page of daily match picks.

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    • I agree with The Doctor, this is the best website for WTA, the actual wtatennis.com is not at all a good website, I often send emails to wtatennis.com correcting their mistakes on women’s tennis history, I dont think the people who run that website are wta fans, they are probably a bunch of people doing 9 to 5 there to earn money, that’s the impression I get from that website.

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  7. I saw the whole match between Aga and Pironkova. This was by far Aga’s best performance this year. I have seen all of Aga’s matches this year. She played flawless first set where Pironkova was baffled by Aga’s variety. Aga was very focussed and in the first set I knew Aga is going to take this, in second set Pironkova played some good rallies and I had a feeling she was finding some rhythm but Aga served very well and stayed very consistent. If Aga plays this well in the semifinals, I don’t think either Sloane or Daria can stop her.

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    • I’d like to see Bencic win it. And I think she has a real shot too. She’s already beat Wozniacki once this year and she’s playing her best tennis in this tournament.

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      • Bencic is a very good player, she seems a staple future top 10. She has good variety and defense. It’s difficult to call this match, but I still think Caro will take it, Caro is looking very focused. All the four semifinalists have played very well this tournament to get there.

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      • I think she just has a champions mentality. Twice this week she’s served out her matches to love. And twice she’s had sets where she’s only made a single unforced error. She seems to save her best for crunch time, which is something a lot of players inside the top twenty struggle with.

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  8. Sloane has been the better player this tournament. If she keeps this form up she will win. I have to see Caroline and Aga play top 10 to know if they are playing well.

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