Saturday, 31 August 2013

US Open Day 7, 4th Round WTA Predictions: Serena-Sloane, Jankovic-Li and more

The top half of the womens draw has produced four really strong match-ups and I thought each deserved a preview so here goes...

1. Serena Williams v Sloane Stephens
Serena Williams
The most anticipated match-up in the ladies draw so far will see Serena Williams take on Sloane Stephens in an all-American blockbuster clash.  Sloane and Serena met for the first time at the start of the year in Brisbane where Serena edged an entertaining affair, 6-4 6-3.  They then met again in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open where Sloane produced one of the upsets of the year, coming from a set down to defeat an injury riddled Serena.  The match-up will also have some extra spice after Sloane came out with some harsh words for Serena in an ESPN article in May.  Sloane did come out and apologise and it appears things have been nicely swept under the carpet... however this is still going to be a fascinating match with Serena heaping a load of pressure on Sloane in press.

Back to the tennis and both have strolled through their last two matches.  Sloane came out nervous and restrained in her first round win over Mandy Minella, but shook off the nerves for a 6-1 6-1 demolition of Urszula Radwanska.  Yesterday she seemed to deal with the occasion much better than Jamie Hampton as she posted a 6-1 6-3 victory.  Serena has not been tested yet this week and progressed past a particularly tricky opponent in Yaroslava Shvedova in Friday's night match.  I have not always been impressed with Sloane's attitude, but one thing you can credit her with is that she has always brought her best tennis to the big occasion.  Along with Serena and Radwanska, she is the only player to have made the 4th round of each Grand Slam in 2013.  An upset possible? I think Serena is going to be absolutely raring to go for this one and will fight to the death to come out of this clash with a win...

Prediction - Serena to beat Sloane in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

2. Jelena Jankovic v Li Na
Li Na
From the four womens matches in the top half, this one between Jelena Jankovic and Li Na is the toughest one to call.  Tied at 4-4 in the head-to-head, it is Jankovic who has won their last 3 matches including an epic 7-6(2) 7-5 victory in Rome earlier this year.  That was not a good match at all, but it had enough drama to make this a must watch match-up.  Jankovic had two excellent wins in the first two rounds against Madison Keys and Alisa Kleybanova, and yesterday was forced to dig her way out against an inspired effort from the Japanese qualifier, Kurumi Nara.  Li has been excellent so far this week and I was extremely impressed by an efficient 6-2 7-5 victory over Laura Robson, who did as well as she could based on the amount of time she had to prepare the US.  Li has been great so far, but she is always prone to a shocker.  JJ has a game that can frustrate Li so I am going slightly left field and predicting a Jankovic win.

Prediction - Jankovic to beat Li in 3 sets

3. Agnieszka Radwanska v Ekaterina Makarova
Aga Radwanska
It has been another super solid tournament from Agnieszka Radwanska who is 6-0 in sets so far this tournament.  She did have her toughest match of the week so far against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who put up a game fight in the second set before collapsing in the tiebreak and losing 6-4 7-6(1).  Aga now takes on Ekaterina Makarova, who took out the Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki in a tight two setter yesterday.  Every now and then Makarova goes on a good run and her leftie game can trouble anyone on it's day as wins over Serena and Vika have proven.  The head-to-head is heavily in favour of Aga with 3 wins and no sets dropped.  I do not see an upset in this one as Aga has been playing some good stuff this summer...

Prediction - Radwanska to beat Makarova in 2 very tight sets

4. Angelique Kerber v Carla Suarez Navarro
Carla Suarez Navarro
The section that I was hunting for upsets in and called completely wrong will see two players who have not had stellar summer seasons try and make it into the quarters of the US Open.  Angelique Kerber has had her best tournament in ages as she took out Eugenie Bouchard in the second round and then overcame a nervy ending to exact revenge on a Wimbledon loss to Kaia Kanepi, 6-0 6-4.  The tricky Spaniard, Carla Suarez Navarro has had a really consistent year and it is so great to see her living up to the potential with no injury clouds over her head.  This will be a first career match and I think it has the potential to be the most high quality encounter of the four matches.  Suarez has a really beautiful game, but she lacks the killer intensity in the crucial matches; that is why she is still the best player on the tour not to have won a title and also why I think Kerber will take this match...

Prediction - Kerber to beat Suarez Navarro in 3 sets

After a very shaky start, I have had a pretty good week of predictions and correctly predicted 6 out of 8 from the top half of the womens draw.  Let's see how Sunday goes!

US Open Day 7, 3rd Round ATP Predictions: Haas-Youzhny and Wawrinka-Baghdatis

I feel like I have come down pretty hard on the mens tournament this week so I thought it was fair to at least preview some of the third round matches for Sunday.  I am not going to lie though that the line-up is still rather pedestrian because of a surprising number of upsets from the top half.  I was both shocked and gutted to see DelPo lose last night to another stunning effort from Lleyton Hewitt!

1. Stanislas Wawrinka v Marcos Baghdatis
The last time that Stanislas Wawrinka and Marcos Baghdatis played each other saw one of the those classic racquet smashing moments when Baggy completely lost the plot.  See the video below if you have never seen it! 

Baghdatis in full glory

2013 has been a very rough year for Baghdatis so yesterday's 6-2 6-2 6-2 rout of Kevin Anderson was all the more surprising.  It is also a bit of a surprise to see Wawrinka here too because his form has been disappointing since making the quarters of the French Open.  He has enjoyed two no-nonsense wins over Radek Stepanek and Ivo Karlovic and rather silently floated into the 3rd round.  Wawrinka has won both previous matches with Baghdatis, who is somewhat of an unknown quanitity this week based on the fact he has lost just 14 games in two matches.  I will stick by Wawrinka though to make it into the last 16.

Prediction - Wawrinka to beat Baghdatis in 4 sets

2. Tommy Haas v Mikhail Youzhny
Tommy Haas
The first quarter of the draw which hosts Novak Djokovic has just three seeds remaining in it and the winner of this clash will really fancy their chances of scooping a quarter-final appearance at this year's Open.  Tommy Haas has not hit any headlines so far, but that's good because he has has faced no bother in defeating Paul-Henri Mathieu and Yen-Hsun Lu, both in comfortable straight set wins.  Mikhail Youzhny has beaten Nicolas Mahut and Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets and continued to post solid results this year.  The head-to-head is tied at 4-4 and has seen some pretty tight match-ups between the pair; that is why when Haas routed Youzhny at the French Open earlier this year for the loss of just 5 sets it was a bit of a surprise.  I like Haas and he looks to be in both good form and good health... so Haas for the win.

Prediction - Haas to beat Youzhny in 3 sets

Best of the rest: US Open Mens 3rd Round Predictions
Novak Djokovic to beat Joao Sousa in 3 sets
Marcel Granollers to beat Tim Smyczek in 4 sets
Lleyton Hewitt to beat Evgeny Donskoy in 4 sets
Andy Murray to beat Florian Mayer in 3 sets
Andreas Seppi to beat Denis Istomin in 5 sets
Tomas Berdych to beat Julien Benneteau in 4 tight sets

US Open Day 6, 3rd Round Predictions: Kirilenko-Halep, Gasquet-Tursunov and Wozniacki-Giorgi

1. Maria Kirilenko v Simona Halep
Maria Kirilenko
Many, including me, had picked out Simona Halep as the dark horse to watch at this year's US Open and she faces her first substantial test of the fortnight against Maria Kirilenko.  Halep was rusty in her opener against Heather Watson, but had no such problems against Donna Vekic in the second round losing just 3 games.  Halep, surely already a bagsy for a WTA award at the end of year, has gone on an absolute tear lately winning 4 titles in as many months, losing just 5 matches in that period and most recently, securing wins over Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova on her way to the New Haven title. 

Kirilenko's form has been disappointing since the French Open where she made the quarter-finals.  Since then, she fell at the first hurdle in SW19 and lost in the second round of both Toronto and Cincy.  However Kirilenko has looked solid so far at the US posting straight set wins against two dangerous opponents on their day, Yanina Wickmayer and Michelle Larcher de Brito.  This should be a really interesting match because Kirilenko is no slouch, but I am well aboard the Halep train this week...

Prediction - Halep to beat Kirilenko in 2 tight sets

2. Richard Gasquet v Dmitry Tursunov
Richard Gasquet
The most intriguing of the mens matches for today pits the out-of-form, Richard Gasquet against the definitely in-form, Dmitry Tursunov.  Gasquet started the year well, but has really regressed since suffering another heartbreaking loss at the last 16 stage of a Grand Slam.  To be fair, I thought Gasquet played a pretty great match against Stanislas Wawrinka in Paris, but his body let him down towards the end where Wawrinka managed to find another gear.  Tursunov meanwhile has been rolling back the years with a terrific run of form over the past couple of months that has seen him rise to number 34 in the world with a quarter-final appearance in Cincy and semi-final showing in Washington.  

I thought Tursunov had a chance in this one, but the head-to-head backs it up even more as he leads 5-2 including a win in their last match in Tokyo back in 2010.  I really do like Gasquet and I would like nothing more than to see him snap out of it and produce some world beating performances.  Unfortunately I do not see it happening anytime soon...

Prediction - Tursunov to beat Gasquet in 4 sets

3. Caroline Wozniacki v Camila Giorgi
Caroline Wozniacki
I think it is pretty ludicrous that Caroline Wozniacki has managed to bag the lucrative night session for the second match in a row although this third rounder should be on a good one.  Woz takes on Camila Giorgi, who has won five matches this week after coming through qualifying.  The Italian player has had a very disappointing year, but definitely possesses talent which she demonstrated when blasting her way into the round of 16 at last year's Wimbledon.  Wozniacki is constantly gaining points to her ranking this week after suffering a first round exit to Irina-Camelia Begu last year and she has looked solid so far this week.  I think Giorgi will have some confidence going into this match and will give Wozniacki a good test under the lights.

Prediction - Wozniacki to beat Giorgi in 2 very tight sets

Best of the rest: US Open 3rd round womens predictions
Roberta Vinci to beat Karin Knapp in 3 sets
Svetlana Kuznetsova to beat Flavia Pennetta in 2 tight sets
Petra Kvitova to beat Alison Riske in 3 sets
Daniela Hantuchova to beat Julia Glushko in 2 tight sets
Ana Ivanovic to beat Christina McHale in 2 tight sets
Victoria Azarenka to beat Alize Cornet in 2 tight sets

Best of the rest: US Open 3rd round mens predictions
Milos Raonic to beat Feliciano Lopez in 4 sets
Jack Sock to beat Janko Tipsarevic in 5 sets
David Ferrer to beat Mikhail Kukushkin in 3 sets
Roger Federer to beat Adrian Mannarino in 3 sets
Tommy Robredo to beat Daniel Evans in 4 sets
John Isner to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in 3 sets
Rafael Nadal to beat Ivan Dodig in 4 sets

Thursday, 29 August 2013

US Open Day 5, 3rd Round Predictions: Robson-Li, Stephens-Hampton and Kerber-Kanepi

After a rain affected day three that seemed to create more talking points centred around the US Open's idiotic scheduling rather than the actual tennis, day 4 has been a complete jam packed affair. The biggest talking point from day 3 was probably the match between Venus Williams and Zheng Jie, which I was not able to watch, but sounded like a humdinger and a heartbreaker.  Zheng came through in a three hour plus marathon; she always comes out with these magic performances, but they are sporadic in their appearance.  A tough loss for Venus...

I was so impressed by the slate of third round womens matches for Friday I have gone for a WTA centric post.  I could have happily written about seven of them but I have gone for the best four.  The men's line-up has left me feeling particularly underwhelmed with Lleyton Hewitt-Juan Martin del Potro and Alexandr Dolgopolov-Mikhail Youzhny the only match-ups that barely caught my attention.  

1. Laura Robson v Li Na
Laura Robson
For the second year in a row, Laura Robson and Li Na will square off in the third round of the US Open.  Last year Laura claimed a huge scalp and arguably still, her biggest career win to date as she showed terrific character to post a 6-4 6-7(7) 6-2 victory.  Laura has had another great slam with two straight set wins over two players she was expected to beat.  It has been all the more impressive because she came into the tournament having not played for four weeks because of a wrist injury.  Li has looked equally strong with two 6-2 6-2 victories to her name.  Li, who made the semi-finals of both Toronto and Cincy, will be wary of the threat that Robson poses.  It is no secret that Laura brings her best game against the big players.  However I am still concerned by the wrist injury, which affects her backhand.  I think Laura will start strong, but this time, unfortunately I see Li gaining revenge.

Prediction - Li to beat Robson in 3 sets

2. Jamie Hampton v Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens
A feast of American promise will light up Arthur Ashe stadium as Sloane Stephens and Jamie Hampton will take to the court with the winner likely set to face off against Serena Williams in the last 16.  Sloane had a nervy opener against Mandy Minella, eventually progressing in a third set tiebreak, but she came out a different player in the second round to swiftly strike past Urszula Radwanska, 6-1 6-1.  Hampton has had two straight set wins and the second of those against Kristina Mladenovic was a toughie as she fought back from a second set deficit to escape with a 7-5 6-4 victory.  

Both are extremely promising talents and personally, I am more excited by Hampton's all court game.  However I cannot deny that when Stephens strikes the ball with convinction, she is one of the cleanest strikers on tour.  Sloane won their last encounter at Wimby when Hampton was obviously struggling from a gruelling run to the Eastbourne final.  This one will be closer for sure, but I see Sloane as the better player in the crucial moments... therefore I am going for Serena v Sloane in R4.

Prediction - Stephens to beat Hampton in 3 sets

3. Kaia Kanepi v Angelique Kerber
Angelique Kerber
A Wimbledon rematch is all set for Kaia Kanepi and Angelique Kerber; Kanepi has had an excellent week as she is playing her first tournament since Wimby.  She had an epic struggle in the first round, but after breaking Vania King's spirit, she rode home with ease and then came through against Anna Schmiedlova in straight sets today.  Kerber had her best win in a while, fighting past Eugenie Bouchard in three sets.  Bouchard showed promise in a great match, but made a few too many errors late on.  Kerber and Kanepi's last match at Wimbledon was a sensational second round match that barely made a headline.  Kanepi prevailed in a winner-laden affair, which Kerber was just two points from winning.  I really am on the fence with this one because I could see Kanepi's attacking flair being too much for Kerber, but then I could also see the German prevailing on the slower surface and with Kanepi having played such little tennis.  A tough one to call...

Prediction - Kerber to beat Kanepi in 3 sets

4. Agnieszka Radwanska v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
As some men had yet to take to the court at Flushing Meadows, Agnieszka Radwanska and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had already mustered up two wins and beat the rain to set up a third round encounter.  This is Pavlyuchenkova's best Grand Slam outing since the 2012 French Open and she has looked surprisingly comfortable so far posting a bagel in each of her wins over Virginie Razzano and Ashleigh Barty.  Radwanska has not been tested either as she defeated Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, 6-0 7-5 in the second round.  Pavlyuchenkova can give the top players a scare with her brand of clean striking, but her game has it's fair shares of cavernous holes that Radwanska will certainly exploit.  Pavlyuchenkova has beaten Radwanska before and it would not be completely shocking if Pav did it again; still, I like Radwanska's form and her consistency should bring her home.

Prediction - Radwanska to beat Pavlyuchenkova in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

5. Lleyton Hewitt v Juan Martin del Potro
Lleyton Hewitt
The best of the mens second round matches will see Juan Martin del Potro continue his assaullt for a second US Open title against Lleyton Hewitt.  Del Potro was far from convincing in his first match against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, taking four sets to get past the Spaniard.  There are still utterings that he is struggling with his wrist again.  Hewitt took out the returning-from-injury, Brian Baker, also in four sets and will feel good about giving Del Potro a challenge tomorrow night.  Hewitt has beaten DelPo twice before including on the grass this year at Queens.  I could definitely see Del Potro losing another set and this being another toil like his first match, but I would be really surprised if Hewitt had it in him to take out the Argentine in a best of five set match.

Prediction - Del Potro to beat Hewitt in 4 sets

Best of the rest: US Open 2nd Round Mens Predictions
Novak Djokovic to beat Benny Becker in 3 sets
Jarkko Nieminen to beat Joao Sousa in 3 sets
Alex Bogomolov to beat Tim Smyczek in 5 sets
Marcel Granollers to beat Rajeev Ram in 3 sets
Tommy Haas to beat Yen-Hsun Lu in 3 sets
Mikhail Youzhny to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in 4 sets
Evgeny Donskoy to beat Peter Gojowczyk in 5 sets

Andy Murray to beat Leonardo Mayer in 3 sets
Florian Mayer to beat Donald Young in 5 sets
Andreas Seppi to beat Somdev Devvarman in 5 sets
Denis Istomin to beat Tobias Kamke in 4 sets
Stanislas Wawrinka to beat Ivo Karlovic in 4 sets
Kevin Anderson to beat Marcos Baghdatis in 4 sets
Julien Benneteau to beat Jeremy Chardy in 5 sets
Tomas Berdych to beat Denis Kudla in 3 sets

Best of the rest: US Open 3rd Round Womens Predictions
Serena Williams to beat Yaroslava Shvedova in 2 tight sets
Zheng Jie to beat Carla Suarez Navarro in 2 sets
Ekaterina Makarova to beat Sabine Lisicki in 3 sets
Jelena Jankovic to beat Kurumi Nara in 2 sets

US Open Day 4, 2nd Round Predictions: Isner-Monfils, Errani-Pennetta and Tomic-Evans

Three days in and there have been a fair splattering of seeds exiting the competition.  By far the biggest of those was the departure of Sam Stosur, who fell in three sets to the young American, Victoria Duval on Tuesday night.  I really thought Stosur would enjoy a solid US Open having peaked at this event in the last two years including winning it in 2011.  She has recently split with long standing coach, Dave Taylor so things look a little uncertain for Sammy right now.  Credit to Duval though who sounds like she played a blinder.

Rain decimated yesterday's schedule so see yesterday's preview for the second round womens matches that did not get completed.  A better preview for you to feast your eyes on tonight... who knew rain delays could have their benefits ;-)

1. John Isner v Gael Monfils
John Isner
When I looked at the mens draw, I couldn't see much excitement ensuing until the quarter-finals.  There are of course a few exceptions and this match-up featuring John Isner and Gael Monfils is one of those, promising to be a highly intriguing affair.  Both showed good form during the summer hard court season; Isner won Atlanta and made finals in Washington and Cincy, beating Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in the latter.  Monfils made the final of a depleted Winston-Salem the week before the US, having to pull out with an injury in the final.  I thought his US Open campaign may be in jeopardy, but he danced through his first rounder against Adrian Ungur for the loss of just 3 games.

Isner fared just as well, losing only 5 games against Filippo Volandri, even dropping a bagel which doesn't exactly cover Volandri in glory with Isner well known for his weakness of returning.  Both playing well, this should present us with a high quality and competitive match under the lights.  The pair are tied in their head-to-head at 3 all with Monfils winning their last encounter in a third set tiebreak, two years ago in Washington.  I was worried to hear Isner called the trainer about a knee complaint in his match yesterday, but he is still my favourite for this one...

Prediction - Isner to beat Monfils in 4 sets

2. Sara Errani v Flavia Pennetta
Flavia Pennetta
The last couple of years have witnessed a changing of the guard with womens tennis in Italy.  Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta were the spearheads, both cracking the top ten and one even triumphing at a Grand Slam.  As their careers have slowly began to wane, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci have emerged from the shadows and taken the baton in quite some style with Errani making the final of a Grand Slam and Vinci knocking on the door of the top ten.  The four potential match-ups between the Italians have yielded just one encounter in the past two years where Errani beat Pennetta in Acapulco.  At the US Open in 2013 they will meet once again with Errani firmly cemented as the number one Italian.

Both enjoyed comprehensive wins in the first round following sluggish summers; Errani double bagelled Olivia Rogowska, who hit a staggering 38 unforced errors in just 51 minutes, meanwhile Pennetta was very solid in taking out Nicole Gibbs, 6-0 6-2.  Their last match on the clay was a gripping final, which after two very tight sets, saw Errani roll to victory in the decider.  Pennetta does appear to be in the final stretches of her career, but she still has game.  I fancy her to nick a set, but Errani will prevail.

Prediction - Errani to beat Pennetta in 3 sets

3. Bernard Tomic v Daniel Evans
Bernard Tomic
As a Brit, I thought it would be fitting to preview Dan Evans's second round match after he progressed to the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career with a fantastic 6-4 6-4 6-2 victory over the number 11 seed, Kei Nishikori.  Evans seems to have committed to his tennis and the results are starting to come.  He reached two consecutive ITF finals, bagging two top 100 wins in the process and also made the third round of Queens where he defeated Jarkko Nieminen.  Evans definitely has a shot in his next match against Bernard Tomic, who overcame Albert Ramos in an entertaining-for-all-the-wrong-reasons first round match, that went the full five sets.  Tomic still looks disinterested at times and was playing way behind the baseline in his match, generating little pace, but causing enough trouble with his tricky slice backhand.  Tomic has the experience over Evans, but I am backing the Brit to eek out another terrific win.

Prediction - Evans to beat Tomic in 5 sets

4. Svetlana Kuznetsova v Peng Shuai
Peng Shuai
One of the toughest calls to make in the first round was deciding whether Svetlana Kuznetsova was going to make it through her first match.  Kuznetsova has peaked at the slams this year and made it through her first round match with Mallory Burdette to post her first WTA main draw victory since a stunning run to the quarter-finals of Roland Garros.  Next up is Peng Shuai, who knocked out Yvonne Meusberger in straight sets.  Peng has been sidelined in and out by injuries this year which have prevented her from gaining any momentum.  Peng had a breakout year in 2011 where she reached number 14 in the world and proved she can beat a lot of good players.  Kuznetsova leads the head-to-head by 3 wins to 2, but Peng has won their last 2 matches.  Peng gets a lot of balls back therefore making this an always frustrating match-up for the Russian.  Advantage, barely, to Kuznetsova...

Prediction - Kuznetsova to beat Peng in 3 sets

Best of the rest: 2nd round US Open womens predictions
Caroline Wozniacki to beat Chanelle Scheepers in 2 sets
Camilla Giorgi to beat Hsieh Su-Wei in 2 sets
Elena Vesnina to beat Karin Knapp in 2 sets
Roberta Vinci to beat Lucie Safarova in 3 sets
Maria Kirilenko to beat Michelle Larcher de Brito in 2 tight sets
Simona Halep to beat Donna Vekic in 3 sets

Petra Kvitova to beat Bojana Jovanovski in 3 sets
Mona Barthel to beat Alison Riske in 3 sets
Julia Glushko to beat Sacha Vickery in 2 sets
Daniela Hantuchova to beat Victoria Duval in 3 sets
Ana Ivanovic to beat Alexandra Dulgheru in 2 sets
Elina Svitolina to beat Christina McHale in 2 tight sets
Alize Cornet to beat Ajla Tomljanovic in 3 sets
Victoria Azarenka to beat Aleksandra Wozniak in 2 sets

Best of the rest: 2nd round US Open mens predictions
Richard Gasquet to beat Stephane Robert in 3 sets
Dmitry Tursunov to beat Guillaume Rufin in 4 sets
Feliciano Lopez to beat Bradley Klahn in 4 sets
Milos Raonic to beat Pablo Andujar in 3 sets
Jack Sock to beat Maximo Gonzalez in 3 sets
Janko Tipsarevic to beat Dudi Sela in 4 sets
Mikhail Kukushkin to beat Andrea Haider-Maurer in 5 sets
David Ferrer to beat Roberto Bautista-Agut in 4 sets

Roger Federer to beat Carlos Berlocq in 3 sets
Sam Querrey to beat Adrian Mannarino in 5 sets
Tommy Robredo to beat Frank Dancevic in 5 sets
Philipp Kohlschreiber to beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin in 3 sets
Ivan Dodig to beat Nikolay Davydenko in 4 sets
Rafael Nadal to beat Rogerio Dutra-Silva in 3 sets

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

US Open Day 3, 2nd Round Predictions: Kerber-Bouchard and Jankovic-Kleybanova

First it's time for a rant... the US Open have decided for the past couple of years to split the mens first round over 3 days, which personally I think is ludicrous! I had a similar issue with the French Open starting their tournament on a Sunday, but this year was the first time that they have committed to it with a number of big names, both men and women headlining the schedule.  In addition, it means I get an extra day of live tennis at the weekend.  This move by the US Open, obviously for TV, is just plain frustrating and confusing at times with 2nd round womens matches played before some 1st round mens matches... rant over!

1. Angelique Kerber v Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard
2012 was a breakout year for Angelique Kerber, but she has struggled to back it up this year, particularly during the summer where she suffered a string of tough losses.  She started her US Open in convincing fashion with a 6-1 6-1 win against Lucie Hradecka, but like Wimbledon, where she lost in the second round to Kaia Kanepi, she faces a very dangerous opponent.  Eugenie Bouchard was earmarked as one to watch when she won the Wimbledon Juniors title last year and she has steadily built together a solid set of results in 2013, most notably beating Ana Ivanovic at Wimby and pushing Serena Williams to 3 sets in Cincy.  Bouchard has a solid enough game, but she can hit winners, certainly at more ease and willingness than Kerber.  Bouchard has risen to the big occasion before and based on Kerber's recent performances where she has really struggled to step it up, I think Eugenie will grab her biggest career win yet...

Prediction - Bouchard to beat Kerber in 3 sets

2. Jelena Jankovic v Alisa Kleybanova
Jelena Jankovic
Those who read my blog regularly will have noticed I have championed the return of Alisa Kleybanova.  It was always going to be a tough ask of Alisa, but she has made an incredibly encouraging comeback this summer after fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2011.  She notched up her first win of the year in Cincy against Sofia Arvidsson and yesterday, took out the very talented Monica Puig in a tough three setter, 6-4 3-6 7-5.  Kleybanova now gets a shot at Jelena Jankovic, who started in commanding fashion with a 6-3 6-4 victory over a potential banana skin in Madison Keys.  Jankovic and Kleybanova have a colourful head-to-head with JJ leading by 3 wins to 2.  I enjoy watching Kleybanova's game and I hope this match gets on a court with live streaming.  I expect at least one tight set, but JJ should be too strong in the end.

Prediction - Jankovic to beat Kleybanova in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

Best of the rest: 2nd round US Open womens predictions
Serena Williams to beat Galina Voskoboeva in 2 sets
Yaroslava Shvedova to beat Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in 2 sets
Jamie Hampton to beat Kristina Mladenovic in 2 very tight sets
Sloane Stephens to beat Urszula Radwanska in 3 sets
Venus Williams to beat Zheng Jie in 2 tight sets
Carla Suarez Navarro to beat Coco Vandeweghe in 2 tight sets
Kaia Kanepi to beat Anna Schmiedlova in 2 sets

Agnieszka Radwanska to Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor in 2 sets
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to beat Ashleigh Barty in 2 sets
Ekaterina Makarova to beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands in 3 sets
Sabine Lisicki to beat Paula Ormaechea in 3 sets
Sorana Cirstea to beat Kurumi Nara in 2 sets
Laura Robson to beat Caroline Garcia in 3 sets
Li Na to beat Sofia Arvidsson in 2 sets

Saturday, 24 August 2013

ATP US Open: Preview and Predictions

There is one weak quarter, but generally speaking, the challengers are nicely split between the two halves.  Lets' get down to dissecting the mens US Open draw...

First Quarter - Novak Djokovic (1) v Juan Martin del Potro (6)
Novak Djokovic
When you focus on Novak Djokovic's results over the past couple of months, there is no doubt the Serb has been turning in below average performances compared to the extraordinary heights he has reached over the past two years.  He still remains one of the favourites to win the title and should not be troubled before the quarters.  Djokovic takes on Ricardas Berankis in his first match and could meet Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.  Dimitrov famously notched up a win over Djokovic in Madrid, but was well and truly put in his place when he suffered a thumping in a Roland Garros rematch.  It is also possible we could get to see the hilarious mayhem of a Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire match in the third round.  This would be legendary, but of course we all know these two are not reliable so hold your horses for now.

Tommy Haas and Juan Martin del Potro are on course to meet in the 4th round.  Del Potro has some early obstacles with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round and potentially, Lleyton Hewitt in the second round, who has always given Del Potro some problems including earlier this year at Queens where the Aussie won a three set quarter-final.  Haas's draw looks pretty routine to the 4th round with Paul-Henri Mathieu first up and then potentially, Mikhail Youzhny in the third round.  I see little excitement on the cards for the early stages of the mens draw, but a first rounder between David Goffin and Alexandr Dolgopolov should be one to earmark as a quirky match-up.

1st Round Predictions: Djokovic to beat Berankis in 3 sets, Becker to beat Rosol in 4 sets, Paire to beat Bogomolov in 5 sets, Haas to beat Mathieu in 3 sets, Goffin to beat Dolgopolov in 5 sets, Youzhny to beat Melzer in 3 sets, Hewitt to beat Baker in 4 sets and Del Potro to beat Garcia-Lopez in 3 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Djokovic v Del Potro

Second Quarter - Andy Murray (3) v Tomas Berdych (5)
Andy Murray
For the first time in his career, Andy Murray will be defending a Grand Slam title having beaten Novak Djokovic in an epic five set finale last year.  It has not been a great summer hard court season for Andy, who lost third round in Canada to Ernests Gulbis and quarters to Tomas Berdych in Cincy.  Murray has drawn Berdych in the quarters again and it will take a significantly improved performance if he was to get past the Czech number 5 if they did meet.  Before that can take place, Murray opens his defence against Michael Llodra.  It is possible he could make the quarters without passing by a seed.  The seeds in this section are not exactly convincing; Juan Monaco has a tough opener against Florian Mayer, Andreas Seppi has been disappointing all year and Nicolas Almagro... well he is Nicolas Almagro and has a 6-5 W-L record since losing to Tommy Robredo in a heartbreaking 4th round loss at Roland Garros.

Berdych's draw looks equally satisfying; Paolo Lorenzi is a first round opponent and Jiri Vesely or Denis Kudla are unlikely to trouble the Berd in round two.  The draw does get tougher in round three where Berdych is projected to meet his first seed in Julien Benneteau, who he has a 2-1 head-to-head record against.  Stanislas Wawrinka and Kevin Anderson are the two other seeds in this section and could meet in the third round.  Wawrinka has struggled for form since making the French Open quarter-finals and although I would favour him over Berdych, I think he will struggle to get that far in the draw.  Anderson is solid enough, but will have little to no chances against Berd if he made the 4th round based on a woeful head-to-head record.

1st Round Predictions: Murray to beat Llodra in 3 sets, Klizan to beat Young in 5 sets, Flo.Mayer to beat Monaco in 5 sets, Seppi to beat Malisse in 4 sets, Istomin to beat Almagro in 4 sets, Wawrinka to beat Stepanek in 5 sets, Blake to beat Karlovic in 4 sets, Anderson to beat Brands in 4 sets, Chardy to beat Stakhovsky in 4 sets and Berdych to beat Lorenzi in 3 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Murray v Berdych

Third Quarter - Richard Gasquet (8) v David Ferrer (4)
David Ferrer
If you thought the womens third quarter was slightly lacking in quality then the third quarter of the mens takes the biscuit.  The two players from the top eight who have displayed the most shaky form since Wimbledon, David Ferrer and Richard Gasquet have been paired up in a free-for-all quarter.  Gasquet has looked to be struggling for confidence since a crushing loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in Paris.  A third round match-up with the suddenly-in-form, Dmitry Tursunov could be a real tester.  Milos Raonic is also in this section and has been handed a complete dance of a draw.  Feliciano Lopez is his first projected seed and if he was to get through that, then I think he is in the quarters.  I am not a Milos fan and I think he is currently in an over-inflated ranking, but he should be taking advantage of this draw.

A lot of people have got Ernests Gulbis down as David Ferrer's conqueror at the US Open this year.  Gulbis and Ferrer could meet in the third round and Ernie certainly has the game to disrupt the Daveed machine.  I think Ferrer is being somewhat overlooked because the Spaniard has had a superb year and could easily click through the gears in New York.  For the second Grand Slam in a row, Jerzy Janowicz has drawn a blinder.  His first seed is Janko Tipsarevic, who is woefully lacking in form and then he is projected to meet Ferrer-Gulbis in the 4th round.  Janowicz's form was so-so through the summer, but he took his chances at Wimby and something he tells me he could do it again.

1st Round Predictions: Tursunov to beat Bedene in 3 sets, Sock to beat Petzschner in 5 sets, Tipsarevic to beat Cuevas in 4 sets, Gulbis to beat Haider-Maurer in 3 sets, Bautista-Agut to beat Bellucci in 4 sets and Ferrer to beat Kyrgios in 4 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Raonic v Janowicz

Fourth Quarter - Roger Federer (7) v Rafael Nadal (2)
Roger Federer
The one quarter I didn't want to see Roger Federer land in was Rafael Nadal's and of course, that is how the draw gods have worked it.  It is not that I am a big Federer fan, but I would have been more excited by Federer-Djokovic or Federer-Murray in the quarters.  Federer showed some encouraging signs in Cincy where he edged past Tommy Haas in three sets and then gave Nadal a really tough quarter-final, eventually falling in three.  Federer's draw up to the quarters looks routine, but I am slightly wary as we thought a Federer-Nadal quarter at Wimbledon was a foregone conclusion and we know how that one turned out.  

Fed takes on Grega Zemlja in the first round and his draw is likely to pass by Sam Querrey (round three) and Kei Nishikori (round four).  Nishikori did beat Federer earlier this year in Madrid, but his form has been patchy of late.  He also has a difficult draw with Albert Ramos or Bernard Tomic in the second round before a potential third round with solid-as-a-rock, Tommy Robredo.  It also worth noting that the Brit qualifier, Daniel Evans opens against Nishikori, which will be a great test for Evans.

Nadal bookends the draw and takes on always-unlucky-with-the-draw-gods, Ryan Harrison in the first round.  He could meet the Canadian bloomer, Vasek Pospisil in the second round.  Nadal convincingly won both Montreal and Cincy and there is no doubt he goes into this tournament as the favourite.  His draw is probably the toughest of the big three as Fernando Verdasco, Nikolay Davydenko, John Isner and Philipp Kohlschreiber are potential opponents in the third and fourth rounds.  Isner, coming off the back of a terrific run in Cincy, has drawn a stinker as looming in the shadows is a fascinating second round match with Winston-Salem finalist, Gael Monfils, which is already being lined up for a showstopping Ashe night match...

1st Round Predictions: Federer to beat Zemlja in 3 sets, Querrey to beat Pella in 3 sets, Robredo to beat Matosevic in 4 sets, Dancevic to beat Haase in 5 sets, Nishikori to beat Evans in 4 sets, Montanes to beat Roger-Vasselin in 4 sets, Verdasco to beat Dodig in 5 sets and Nadal to beat Harrison in 3 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Federer v Nadal

Moo's Final Prediction - Nadal d. Del Potro

This is the first time I have gone for Nadal at a hard court tournament and I feel it is a slight cop out, but the guy is just awesome right now.  I always had a feeling DelPo would shine at the US, but I have my reservations too.  Still, I see him knocking out both Djokovic and Murray.  I also thought I would go for a Murray-Nadal final, but my feelings have swung away from Andy.  This should be a fantastic tournament once the draw gets going and it is possible we could get three sensational quarter-finals.

Please leave your predictions in the comments section :-)

Full Predictions for the ATP draw at this year's US Open can be found HERE

WTA US Open: Preview and Predictions

It's the final Grand Slam of 2013... let's take a look at the womens draw for the US Open

First Quarter - Serena Williams (1) v Angelique Kerber (8)
Serena Williams
With a 60-4 W-L record in 2013, Serena Williams has had another astonishing year and she headlines this year's US Open draw as the number one seed.  Her summer hard court season has been impressive as she was victorious in Canada, but was pipped to the title in Cincy by Victoria Azarenka.  This draw has a Toronto-esque feel to it as she opens her campaign against Francesca Schiavone and could then meet Magdalena Rybarikova in the third round.  The in-form Rybarikova has not made it past the second round of a Grand Slam since 2009 and this could be her opportunity to do that in New York.  

Jamie Hampton and Sloane Stephens are potential third round opponents, who could then meet Serena in the 4th round.  Both would be excellent match-ups, but a Serena-Sloane match on Ashe at night would be absolutely fascinating.  Sloane's draw has it's potential pitfalls; Urszula Radwanska is a potential second round opponent and she beat Stephens at Indian Wells this year, but I would still back Sloane to the last 16.

The bottom half of this first quarter throws us considerable intrigue with the highest seed, Angelique Kerber suffering her biggest slump in form since she shocked the tennis world by making the US Open semi-finals in 2011.  She takes on Lucie Hradecka in the first round and could meet the young Canadian firecracker, Eugenie Bouchard in the second round.  Kerber, who has a 4-3 W-L record through the summer hard court season, has been losing a lot of tight matches lately and I really think this draw could be Bouchard's biggest career breakthrough so far.  

The other seeds in this section have all been struggling of late: Kaia Kanepi will take to the court for the first time since Wimby, Carla Suarez Navarro has been blowing hot and cold, and Kirsten Flipkens has looked extremely rusty.  However weighing it all up, I think Flipkens will summon confidence from a stellar 2013 season to sneak into another deserved Grand Slam quarter-final.

1st Round Predictions: S.Williams to beat Schiavone in 2 sets, Puchkova to beat Shvedova in 3 sets, Mladenovic to beat Medina Garrigues in 2 sets, Flipkens to beat V.Williams in 2 tight sets, Bertens to beat Zheng in 3 sets, Davis to beat Suarez Navarro in 2 sets, Kanepi to beat King in 3 sets, Bouchard to beat Pliskova in 3 sets and Kerber to beat Hradecka in 2 tight sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - S.Williams v Flipkens

Second Quarter - Agnieszka Radwanska (3) v Li Na (5)
Aga Radwanska
I was sceptical of the amount of tournaments that Agnieszka Radwanska had committed too during the summer hard court season, but having pulled out of Cincy after winning her third round match, I think she will go in well rested and in pretty good form.  She takes on Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the first round and the first seed she could meet is the extraordinarily unpredictable, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.  

It is possible that Aga could be in line for a 4th round, Wimbledon semi-final rematch with Sabine Lisicki.  That is a big if as Sabine has only played three matches since the Wimby final and losses to Jelena Jankovic and Pavlyuchenkova have not invoked much confidence.  Ekaterina Makarova is a more likely 4th round opponent, particularly having watched her play an excellent match in New Haven against Sara Errani.

Li Na could get another shot at Laura Robson in New York as she is due for a third round rematch with the young Brit.  Robson has been struggling with a wrist injury and takes on Lourdes Dominguez Lino in the first round, who she is 0-2 in the head-to-head record.  Li's first match will be against Olga Govortsova and should not be a troublesome one.  

The most intriguing first round match comes in this section and features Jelena Jankovic and Madison Keys.  I was convinced after Wimby that this would be a breakout tournament for Madison, but shoulder injuries have inhibited her progress and despite her potential, I think JJ will come through that.  The winner of that match will take on the young and tenacious, Monica Puig or the passionate fighter, Alisa Kleybanova... certainly a section of the draw to keep an eye on.

1st Round Predictions: Radwanska to beat Soler-Espinosa in 2 sets, Razzano to beat Pavlyuchenkova in 3 crazy sets, Makarova to beat Hercog in 3 sets, Ormaechea to beat Date-Krumm in 2 sets, Jankovic to beat Keys in 2 very tight sets, Puig to beat Kleybanova in 3 sets, Robson to beat Dominguez-Lino in 3 sets and Li to beat Govortsova in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - A.Radwanska v Jankovic

Third Quarter - Caroline Wozniacki (7) v Sara Errani (4)
Caroline Wozniacki
It is hard to believe that the third quarter will produce a semi-finalist at the US Open and Caroline Wozniacki will not have a better chance to make a substantial run at a Grand Slam.  In her last two tournaments, Caro has played very well and her draw is extremely favourable with a qualifier up first, Ying-Ying Duan.  The first seed she could meet is Klara Zakopalova, who reached the semi-finals of New Haven, but suffered a 6-0 6-1 confidence-crushing beatdown to Petra Kvitova and is a staggering 0-11 in US Open main draw matches.  Roberta Vinci and Elena Vesnina are the other two seeds in this section and I see the latter progressing to the last 16.

Sara Errani heads into the US Open in what can only be defined as a slump in form compared to what has been another incredible year for the Italian.  The injury affected Ayumi Morita should not pose any problems in the first round, but I hope we get to see Errani take on Flavia Pennetta in the second round.  The last couple of years has seen a remarkable swing in fortunes as Errani-Vinci have overturned Pennetta-Schiavone as the dominant Italians.  This would be the first time that Errani will have met Pennetta or Schiavone since becoming the number one Italian so that would be an interesting watch for sure.

Svetlana Kuznetsova is projected to meet Errani in the third round.  Kuznetsova is a complete mystery; she will either bomb out first round, to Mallory Burdette in 3 ugly sets or go deep into this tournament.  She has really struggled to get over an abdominal injury in her appearances since the French Open; however she has saved her best tennis for the Grand Slams this year and if the rumours are correct that she could retire this year, I think she will be hungry for success.  Watch out for Simona Halep, who has a great draw and if she can fight off tiredness, should have the beating of Maria Kirilenko in the third round.

1st Round Predictions: Zakopalova to beat Hsieh in 3 sets, Vesnina to beat Beck in 2 sets, Safarova to beat Tsurenko in 3 sets, Kirilenko to beat Wickmayer in 3 sets, Halep to beat Watson in 2 sets, Kuznetsova to beat Burdette in 3 sets and Errani to beat Morita in 2 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Wozniacki v Halep

Fourth Quarter - Petra Kvitova (6) v Victoria Azarenka (2)
Petra Kvitova
Once again, Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova are projected to meet in the quarter-finals, but I certainly am not predicting it as we are destined to go another year without witnessing this match-up.  Kvitova's summer hard court season has characterised her season with many three setters, some good performances, but some shockers too.  A final appearance in New Haven has certainly ended it on a high giving some much needed confidence going into the US Open.  Misaki Doi will not provide much opposition in round one, but Bojana Jovanovski or Andrea Petkovic will be much tougher in the second round.  I originally went with Petko over Petra, but changed my mind after watching Kvitova in New Haven.  

Kvitova is projected to meet Sam Stosur in the last 16, who has a gem of a draw.  She could meet Daniela Hantuchova in the second round, who she holds a 6-1 head-to-head lead and potentially, Nadia Petrova in round three, who has not played since Wimbledon and not won a match since Rome in May.

Azarenka will take on Dinah Pfizenmaier in the first round of the US Open and will go in with bags of confidence after notching up her second win of the year against Serena Williams in a terrific Cincy final.  She could play Alize Cornet in the third round, who gave her a really competitive match at Roland Garros earlier this year.  Cornet will open up against two qualifiers in her first two matches.

Ana Ivanovic and Dominika Cibulkova will be the key contenders for Vika's 4th round opponent.  Ivanovic will want to get a solid win under her belt in round one against Anna Tatishvili having failed to put away Cornet in a horror Cincy encounter where she wasted multiple match points.  Since winning Stanford and notching up a great win over Kerber in Canada, Cibulkova has sunk back into the form that typified the first half of her 2013 season.  First up is a tricky match against now ranked number 44 in the world, Elina Svitolina, who won her first WTA title in Baku and then backed it up with another title in a $75k ITF tournament in Donetsk.

1st Round Predictions: Petkovic to beat Jovanovski in 2 tight sets, Riske to beat Pironkova in 3 sets, Barthel to beat Larsson in 2 sets, Ivanovic to beat Tatishvili in 2 tight sets, Lepchenko to beat Dulgheru in 2 sets, Goerges to beat McHale in 3 sets, Cibulkova to beat Svitolina in 3 sets and Azarenka to beat Pfizenmaier in 2 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Stosur v Azarenka

Moo's Final Prediction - Azarenka d. S.Williams

I am going for Azarenka to claim her third Grand Slam title, beating Serena in the final.  Granted, Serena never played her best tennis in the losses to Vika at Doha and Cincy, but Azarenka has the belief to get Serena on the ropes and cause her to play some dodgy tennis.  Also going in Azarenka's favour is she will be fresh having not played a great deal of tennis this year.  Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska are both my tips for the semi-finals, but I struggle to see anyone upstaging Serena and Vika in making the US Open final.

Please feel free to leave your predictions in the comments section :-)

Full predictions for the womens draw can be found HERE

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

WTA New Haven Quarter-Final Predictions: Makarova-Halep, Zakopalova-Vesnina

Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber both headed into New Haven looking for match wins before the US and both suffered their worse losses of the summer hard court season so far.  As to be expected, New Haven's line-up could likely throw up a surprise winner.

1. Ekaterina Makarova v Simona Halep
Ekaterina Makarova
Sara Errani was ousted by a surprisingly solid performance from Ekaterina Makarova who served extremely well, outfoxing the Italian on both the first and second serves as she romped home with a 7-5 6-1 victory.  Makarova takes on Simona Halep, who has reached at least the quarter-finals of 6 of the last 9 tournaments she has played.  She lost the opening set to Carla Suarez Navarro today, but came back strongly to record a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory.  Halep and Makarova have never played before and it promises to be a tight match.  Halep is in great form, but Makarova's flat hitting, particularly when it's inside the lines, can trouble anyone.  

Prediction - Halep to beat Makarova in 3 sets

2. Klara Zakopalova v Elena Vesnina
2013 has been a career best for Elena Vesnina who broke her title duck with wins in Hobart and more impressively in Eastbourne.  She has become a solid and consistent player on the tour, proving so with a comfortable straight sets win over Angelique Kerber in her second round match.  Next up is Klara Zakopalova, who has posted excellent wins over Dominika Cibulkova and Monica Puig.  Zakopalova won their only previous match-up back in 2010, but I like Vesnina's recent form and her game is the more solid of the two players.

Prediction - Vesnina to beat Zakopalova in 3 sets

Best of the rest: WTA New Haven Quarter-Finals
Caroline Wozniacki to beat Sloane Stephens in 2 tight sets
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to beat Petra Kvitova in 2 tight sets

US Open Draw at 5pm UK time tomorrow... hopefully should have the first preview out by Saturday so stay tuned!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

WTA New Haven 2nd Round Predictions: Lisicki-Pavlyuchenkova and Halep-Suarez Navarro

US Open qualifying is underway and the draws will be out on Thursday evening (5pm UK time).  I am not really that interested in New Haven or Winston-Salem, but there are some good potential match-ups for the women.  Let's take a look at the best of the 2nd rounders...

1. Sabine Lisicki v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Sabine Lisicki
Sabine Lisicki won her first match post-Wimby final as she defeated a struggling Kristina Mladenovic, 7-5 6-1.  It was an encouraging win and she now takes on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who progressed because of a retirement from Sorana Cirstea at 3-0 up in their first round match.   Pavlyuchenkova had some good results between the Australian Open and the French Open, notably winning Monterrey and Oeiras; however when it comes round to the big events, she never performs to her potential.  This should be a intriguing match, but not one that I expect to be of high quality.  Pav can beat a lot of players on her day, but I fancy Sabine to notch the win.

Prediction - Lisicki to beat Pavlyuchenkova in 3 sets

2. Simona Halep v Carla Suarez Navarro
An eighth encounter on the WTA tour between Simona Halep and Carla Suarez Navarro will grace Wednesday's schedule in New Haven.  Halep has continued to flourish with a quarter-final appearance in Cincy and a 6-1 6-2 battering of Daniela Hantuchova in the first round.  Suarez Navarro has been remarkably consistent this year, but her results through the summer hard court season have been disappointing.  She did score her best win for a while as she defeated Roberta Vinci in the first round, 6-3 7-5.  CSN leads the head-to-head by 4 wins to 3, but Halep won their last match in s'Hertogenbsoch.  There is absolutely no pattern in their head-to-head and I would fancy Halep to win this one comfortably.

Prediction - Halep to beat Suarez Navarro in 2 sets

Best of the rest: WTA New Haven 2nd Round Predictions
Sara Errani to beat Ekaterina Makarova in 3 sets
Caroline Wozniacki to beat Karin Knapp in 2 sets
Sloane Stephens to beat Julia Goerges in 3 sets