WTA Apia International Sydney: Petra and Aga out injured, back to the drawing board…

RadwanskaWell this is a new one… both my finalists for Sydney, Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova, have pulled out of the tournament. Radwanska has officially pulled out with a left lower leg injury, while Kvitova still isn’t over the stomach virus. It may be a smart move from Radwanska to rest before Melbourne after winning Shenzhen although she didn’t play anyone inside the world’s top 90. It’s a concern for Kvitova although she’s capable of suddenly finding a hot streak of form (see Madrid and New Haven last year) so there may still be hope for Melbourne!

Since my predictions have been destroyed on both halves, i’ve decided to fill out the draw again. From the top half, i’ve now gone for Karolina Pliskova to come through as my champion. She was very impressive against Ana Ivanovic, despite a strange mini-collapse when serving out the first set. There were times in the second set when she was unplayable. Ivanovic though, looks out-of-sorts at this early stage of the season. I did originally have Caroline Garcia to the semi-finals but I lost my nerve. I’ve still gone for the Frenchwoman to beat Halep (or advance through a retirement). While Garcia has made a brilliant start to the year, winning all four of her matches, she still makes me nervous closing out matches. Confidence will be high for now at least and long may it continue…

In the bottom half, i’ve gone for Belinda Bencic… she does have a deceptively tricky draw though, opening against the qualifier, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. Awaiting in the second round would be the Sydney GOAT, Tsvetana Pironkova. I’d fancy Angelique Kerber to win a few rounds as she seems intent on getting more matches, but i’d be surprised if she went as deep in Sydney as she did in Brisbane. I’d also fancy Roberta Vinci to reach the semi-finals with Daria Gavrilova also one to watch.

The qualifiers have been placed in Hobart and i’ve got my eye on Naomi Osaka. The week before a Slam always produces crazy results and Hobart has a habit of producing surprise winners. While i’ve stuck reasonably safe with Dominika Cibulkova as my champion, i’ve gone for Osaka and Margarita Gasparyan to reach the semi-finals. I would have gone for Mona Barthel, but i’m still worried about her health. In an interview a few days ago, she said she was on the mend, but not 100% yet.

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6 thoughts on “WTA Apia International Sydney: Petra and Aga out injured, back to the drawing board…

  1. James I cannot remember in the WTA soo many injuries,players withdrawing from tournaments before a major slam:) in saying that I feel many players are still carrying niggling injuries from last year and have not fully recovered.Tennis players do not have a long off season compared to other sports.When the draw first came out for Apia I looked at it pensively:) I was impressed with Pliskova in her match against Ivanovic,yes she did have a blip serving the first set out,if she can maintain her great serve in this tournament,her strong flat ground shots off both wings,I feel she could be the eventual winner.She had too much overall power at times over Ivanovic yesterday.

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    • Me neither, it’s been a shaky start to the WTA year. Hopefully everyone will be ready for the Aus Open. After my two finalists pulled out, I’ve ended up going for Pliskova as my champion. I thought she played a great match against Ivanovic bar the end of the first set.

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  2. Good post James, and I agree that Karolina looks the most likely winner in Sydney now with Aga and Petra out of the picture

    It’s hard to tell with Aga what’s going on. I remember Indian Wells 2014 when she played a great series of matches against the likes of Alize Cornet, Jelena Jankovic and Simona Halep before being effectively crippled with pain against in the final and really struggling to finish the match. I can well understand her not wanting to repeat that if she’s not feeling 100% (or her coach feeling the same). .

    What I;m wondering is what Maria must be thinking now, as she’s just lost her No.4 placing to Aga without, as you say, Aga having to face any opponents in the top 90 (although Aga obviously couldn’t have foreseen that Petra would get sick). I suspect that when Aga and Maria next meet, Maria will be even more than usually keen to give her a hard match and try to show her who’s boss.

    Domi to win Hobart? Maybe, but I’d really like to see Heather defend her title. It would be a great final between the two of them if it were to happen.

    (BTW, another match I regret not being able to see at Shenzhen last week was Jo Konta’s first match against Aga, as AFAIK they haven;t met yet and Jo was knocked out of the tournament very early.)

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    • Thanks, Graham. I think it’s probably a smart move from Aga as she often does overplay a bit so at least she will be fresh for Melbourne. I didn’t see anything from Shenzhen and hoping to catch up with Konta-Cibulkova tomorrow night. Watson played some good matches at the Hopman Cup so I hope she has something left for Hobart and then Melbourne as well!

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  3. I am really curious what Bencic will bring to the table, I saw her first match this season a she was unstoppable. On the other hand, I have no clue what happened in her secind match. I she can go through Kerber a keep the level of her game, I see her as a champion. But maybe its just to me Pliskova is so difficult ti read. I never know whether she is mentally in the match or she is not.

    All in all, I would pick the champion from the lower part of the table. Of course as a Czech I cheer for Pliskova, but Bencic will make me really happy. To me Kerber is not 100% ready yet, she just doesnt look so solid during the whole match like I would expect.

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    • I saw the first set of Bencic’s match today against Lucic-Baroni and it was a real rollercoaster. In the end, a good win for BB but she’s far from her best right now. Kerber sounded like she had a real struggle too.

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