Wednesday 14 March 2012

Indian Wells QF Preview (WTA) 2012 - Top Half of Draw

The Quarter-finals of BNP Paribas Open kick-off with 2 of the hottest players of WTA at the moment squarring off against each other for the 4th time this year, as Azarenka and Radwanska face off for a SF spot. Azarenka is the youngest of the 8 quarter-finalists, the second QF of the day pits off, the oldest of the 8 Quarter-finalists, Li Na, against German, Kerber. With her hard fought win over Barthel in her opening match here, Azarenka had tied Sharapova for the best start to the year since 1997, and with her win over Kuznetsova she surpassed Sharapova's 18 match best start to the season since 2008. Now with her win over Goerges, Azarenka has her sights set on Serena's 21 match streak, which she set in 2003. With her win over Radwanska she will tie Williams for a second place in the best start to the season since 1997. Hingis holds the top spot with a 37 match winning streak to start the season which ended with her loss to Iva Majoli in the Final of Roland Garros in 1997 . Let us have a look at the matches we have in store for today:

1- Azarenka (1) vs Radwanska (5)

Description Azarenka Radwanska
Match Record this year    20-0     20-3
Overall H2H      8       3
H2H on hard courts      7       2
 Radwanska and Azarenka both have won 20 matches this year and are the only players to win 20 matches this year. Azarenka has not lost any match so far this year and will be aiming for her 300th career win when taking the court against Radwanska. Radwanska has also not lost any match this year to anyone other than Azarenka. All 3 of Radwanska's losses have come at the hands of Azarenka this year. In their most recent encounter in Doha, Azarenka defeated Radwanska in straight sets. However, 4 of their previous 5 encounters have gone to 3 sets, including their meeting in the 4th round here last year which was won by Azarenka in the 3rd set tie-break. What is interesting to note is that in all those 4 meetings Radwanska won the first set but ended up winning the match on only one of those 4 occasions. Radwanska is 1-5 life-time agianst reigning no.1's. Her only win coming over Wozniacki this year at Sydney. Radwanska is playing at career best ranking of 5 and is projected to set a new career best ranking of 4 when the new rankings are released. It will be an interesting match to watch, especially after the comments each player has been giving after their most recent encounter at Doha. Radwanska had accused Azarenka of gamemanship, while Azarenka had said that they are still friends. It should be a fitting battle between the two. Azarenka should win this, but I have to like Radwanska's chances, although her H2H against Azarenka and reigning no.1's is not in her favour, and her performance against Hampton was also not very good. I have a feeling Azarenka will take this, but hey, what is the harm in going for Radwanska.

Radwanska in 3 sets.

2- Li (8) vs Kerber (18)

Description Li  Kerber
Match Record this year 10-3 18-4
Overall H2H    3    0
H2H on hard courts    2    0
Although Li leads their H2H, all their encounters came in 2010, when Kerber was not even ranked in the top 50. Li was on fire in her match against Zakopalova, while Kerber again showed nerves of steel in saving 3 match points against yet another Amercian, this time it was Mchale. With 17 wins so far this year, Kerber is second only to Azarenka and Radwanska in most matches won this year, and must be high on confidence given her 2 wins here in which she saved match points. Kerber is making her first QF appearance here at Indian Wells, while for Li, this is her second QF appearance in her 6th appearance and she will look to match her previous best showing here (SF in 2007) by making it to the semi-finals. Kerber is one of the 3 players remaining in the draw who have won a title this year (the other being Radwanska and Azarenka). Li will be looking to achieve another mile-stone in her career when she takes on Kerber, she will be aiming to record her 400th career win.

Li in 3 sets.

Who do you think will emerge as victorious? For how long do you think Azarenka's streak will continue? Do keep us posted. Enjoy :)

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