Monday 12 March 2012

Indian Wells 4th Round preview (WTA) 2012

Fourth round action of the top half kicks off tomorrow. In the 3rd round action of the top half of draw, 3 of the 4 reigning Grand Slam Champions took the court, but only 2 survived. Kvitova, the reigning Wibledon champion, being upset by the only seeded American at this year's Indian Wells, Mchale. Azarenka and Li lead the 4th round encounters. Let us have a quick look at what do we have in store

1- Azarenka (1) vs Goerges (14)

Description Azarenka Goerges
Match Record this year    19-0   13-7
Overall H2H      2     1
Hard courts H2H      1     0
The lone victory of Goerges over Azarenka came via retirement last year in the second round of Stuggart, Azarenka led by a set but had to retire due to shoulder injury. Azarenka has been on fire and has made it to the finals of the last 5 tournaments she has played and has won 4 of them. With 3 titles so far in as many tournaments in 2012, Azarenka is the only mutiple title winner this year so far. Goerges is coming off a great run to the finals of Dubai, where she was beaten by Radwanska. This is Goerges's 5th appearance at Indian Wells, and her best result here thus far. Prior to this year her best result was 3rd round appearance last year when she was defeated by Jankovic in straight sets. This is Azarenka's 6th Indian Wells appearance, her best showing coming in 2009 when she reached the semi-finals and was beaten by the eventual champion Zvonareva. This will be an uphill battle for Goerges, but if her shots are finding the lines, she will definitely give Azarenka a run for money.
Azarenka in straight sets.

2- Radwanska (5) vs Hampton (WC)

Description Radwanska Hampton
Match Record this year     19-3    16-4*
Overall H2H        1       0
Hard courts H2H        0       0
*includes wins in qualifiers and ITF events
The only time they played was last year at Stuggart in the first round, when Hampton could win only one game during the entire match. However, since then Hampton has steadily climbed up the rankings. She is the only wild card left in the draw at the moment, with all the other falling either in the first or the second round. It is Hamptons second appearance in Indian Wells. In her only other appearance here last year, she came through qualifiers but fell in the first round to country woman, Stephens, in straight sets. For Radwanska this is her 6th appearance at Indian Wells. Her best result being semi-final appearance in 2010 when she lost to Wozniacki in straight sets. In 3 of her previous 5 appearances she has made it to the QF or better of Indian Wells, the exceptions being last year when she fell in the 4th round to Azarenka and in her debut year at Indian Wells in 2007 when she fell in the second round to Safarova. Radwanska in her previous 5 appearances has not lost here to a player ranked outside top 50. With Radwanska in good form, it will be a tough task for Hampton.
Radwanska in straight sets.

3- Kerber (18) vs Mchale (32)

Description Kerber Mchale
Match Record this year   16-4   11-4
Overall H2H      0      0
Hard courts H2H      0      0
This is the pair's first meeting.Kerber had to fight off two match points in her second round win against young American Stepehens, and she got a walk over from King due to viral illness. Mchale is coming off a great win over Kvitova and should be riding a high wave of confidence coming into this match. This is Kerber's 4th and Mchale's 3rd appearance at Indian Wells and this is the best showing here for both players. Prior to this year, the best showing for both players was 3rd round appearance (in 2011 for Mchale and 2008 for Kerber). Only one of Mchale's 4 losses this year have come at the hands of a player ranked outside top 20. If Kerber can hold herself together (which she showed in her win 2nd round win over Stephen's), she will emrege as victorious. I like Kerber's chances of making it to her first Indian Wells QF but you also have to like Mchale's chances.
Mchale in 3 sets.

4- Li (8) vs Zakopalova

Description    Li Zakopalova
Match Record this year   9-3       5-6
Overall H2H    0        2
Hard courts H2H    0        2
Zakopalova had a walkover win from Zvonareva who had to pull out due to some viral infection, however, she did have a solid win over Hantuchova, while Li had a comprehensive win over country woman Zheng. Zakopalova has beaten Li in their 2 previous encounters, and this must give her some confidence coming into this match. This is only the second time in 2012 that Zakopalova has won back to back matches (the other being at Paris). This is Li's 6th appearance at Indian Wells, she made it to the 4th round or better in her first 3 appearances at Indian Wells, her best result being the semi-final run in 2007, when she was defeated by the eventual champion Hantuchova, however for the last 2 years she lost her opener at Indian Wells. For Zakopalova, this is her 10th appearance at Indian Wells, and she has won only 2 matches in her previous 9 visits here.
Li in straight sets.

Whose chances do you like? With Kvitova already out, who do you think has enough in her tanks to stop Azarenka? Will it be Goerges? What are your picks? Do keep us posted. Enjoy the on-court battles.

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