US Open Day 8, 4th Round Previews: Halep v Lisicki, Azarenka v Lepchenko

1. Simona Halep v Sabine Lisicki (US Open, R4)

Sabine LisickiSimona Halep has sauntered into the second week of the US Open with three comfortable victories over Marina Erakovic (6-2 3-0 ret.), Kateryna Bondarenko  (6-3 6-4) and Shelby Rogers (6-2 6-3). Halep now faces a completely different proposition up against the hard-hitting, Sabine Lisicki. The former Wimbledon finalist didn’t drop serve through her first two matches including a surprisingly comfortable 6-4 6-0 dismissal of Camila Giorgi. Lisicki’s serve though was broken six times in a come-from-behind victory over Barbora Strycova in the last ever singles match on Grandstand Court which finished, 6-4 4-6 7-5. Strycova led 5-1 in the deciding set but Lisicki, who had a MTO during the third set, came back to triumph. The reaction upon winning was typically Sabine and there was a frosty handshake hahaha!

Halep leads Lisicki, 3-1 in the head-to-head. Lisicki won their first match in Stanford, 6-1 6-2 (!) but Halep has won their last three matches, the first two in three sets and the most recent one in straight sets in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, 6-4 6-0 where the Romanian player outclassed her injury-affected opponent. Lisicki obviously has the shots to make this competitive but patience is another thing. Halep seems to be in such a great place right now and I think she will wear down Lisicki to break new ground at the US Open by reaching the quarter-finals.

Prediction: Halep d. Lisicki in 2 sets

2. Victoria Azarenka v Varvara Lepchenko (US Open, R4)

Varvara Lepchenko

In the match of the tournament and perhaps, the WTA match of the year, Victoria Azarenka defeated Angelique Kerber, 7-5 2-6 6-4 in two hours and 52 minutes on Saturday. The quality of tennis never wavered through the three sets. Once again, it was a tough loss for Angie who played her heart out; she saved a string of break points at *5-4 in the first set and then even more impressively, resisted five match points at *3-5 in the third set with a flurry of awesome winners. Azarenka’s quality shone through at the end of the first set (she had been down *2-5) and then in the third set. Her ability to come in on the right ball to close off Kerber’s irresistable defence was one of the key differences between the pair in my opinion. Azarenka finished with 37 (out of 51) successful net approaches and 51 winners to 33 unforced errors. For a full recap of the Azarenka-Kerber match, click HERE.

Azarenka plays Varvara Lepchenko in the fourth round who came from a set down to beat Mona Barthel, 1-6 6-3 6-4. It was Lepchenko’s third consecutive victory over Barthel and second win from a set down, having played out a similar match in Stanford. I was gutted for Mona who was bidding to reach the fourth round of a Slam for the first time in her career. Lepchenko was deserving of her win though, serving out the match with some positive tennis. Azarenka leads the head-to-head, 3-1 and won their last match in Birmingham, 7-6(7) 6-4. It was a really tight match which Lepchenko had led *4-0 in the first set. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a slight letdown from Vika after that incredible win over Kerber. I’d still take Vika in one tight and one more straightforward set.

Prediction: Azarenka d. Lepchenko in 2 sets

Photos in the post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

22 thoughts on “US Open Day 8, 4th Round Previews: Halep v Lisicki, Azarenka v Lepchenko

  1. Halep had a gift draw so far and hasn’t faced a worthy opponent. If Lisicki serve is on it can trouble Halep. I want to see Halep vs Vika. Petra vs Stouser. Vika serve has dropped and it is not a threat.

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    • I don’t think Halep has had SUCH an easy draw. All three players have it in them to be very dangerous and I think Simona did well not to let them have one of those days. I think she’ll likely do the same with Sabine.

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    • There’s no such thing as an easy draw at a grand slam. It’s a draw. Look at Halep’s struggle in RG and Wimby this year.
      Or, does Serena have a tougher draw?

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      • LOL.. Wimbledon 2013… where the top ranked player she faced was 84 in the world to get to the quarters and then face an injured Sabine Lisicki in the quarters… that’s an easy draw at a GS slam. Had she had to come through Azarenka’s draw here, she probably would have went out the the big hitting Lucie Hradecka. Halep has trouble with big hitters – from both sides – that take it too her. The problem for Lisicki is she overuses her drop shot and uses touch at the wrong times. I also think Halep moves better. I am with Jade here… time for Stosur to put an end to the 0-6 H2H with Penetta.

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      • Yeah, right Dennis! Vika beats Hradecka 6-1 6-2 but Simona would have got beaten? LOL. Get real will ya? And while you’re at it, check out Simona’s record against big-hitters since her rise started in May 2013. It isn’t half as bad as people make it out to be.

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    • Yes LOL. Though I think Lepchenko has it in her to do it. She’s made the very best have to work hard to beat her before and Azarenka has thrown in poor matches this year following a big win.

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    • If any anything will work against Vika , it will be the length of that match against Kerber, it was 2 hours plus. Victoria needs this win, if for nothing at all, ranking points will be helpful to further her course.

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    • Yup, meeeee tooooo! I like Vika yet I think Simona is on a different level now, it would be a nice matchup. But I think Lepchenko will stun Vika. My 2 cents.

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      • Yup I want that match,for simona to prove that she is a worthy player where she belongs and much more than all those people just think about her

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  2. Lisicki’s comeback as soon as she found her marbles was just crazy. But, Babs, she can also go bonkers too, she was partly terrified by the strength of Sabine’s comeback. I feel had it been Halep, she would have found her a way to finish it off. If indeed, Lisicki has found something, she will have to play at that level to cause an upset, and also win the first set. Anything else and Halep will surely take this.

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    • Halep is a bad match up for Lisicki because she forces you to try to go for just a little bit more. Against a player like Serena that brings out their best. But Lisicki goes for too much or completely the wrong shots. Her only hope is for Simona to either come out playing too passively, or try too hard to be the aggressor and overhit. She’s been guilty of both this year. But sadly for Lisicki, she’s been something of a force on American hard courts.

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      • Kind of feel the same way.
        But (I hope) Simona is more down to earth lately and will not try to overpower Sabine forcing her way through. She can do it through consistency, precision and tactics – I think we’re in agreement saying she has more of those than her oponent.

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      • Absolutely! I pegged Halep as finalist in my initial predictions and I think only Kvitova could really stand in her way now.

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  3. This match was torture for both players,and viewers,both players struggling with injuries.Sabine with over 70 UFE? I forget how many breaks of serves in this match as well.Halep to play Azarenka next,I cannot see her beating Azarenka on this performance quite frankly.

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    • It was 6 in the first and 9 in the second. But, with 70 unforced errors, you deserve to lose. Sabine has this smiley face outlook offcourt, but Geez, she is ferocious on court. I hope Halep didn’t come away with blisters in her hands. With Azarenka, Halep has to play her usual game with tact and variety. That matches up well Victoria’s then her consistency can be an advantage. Playing Sabine is a bruising encounter in itself, she will need to rest herself good for Vika.

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      • BTW Halep has pulled out of her doubles match,on the advice of her coach,under the circumstances with her leg,this is the correct decision.

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