Wednesday 25 September 2013

Wozniacki, Kerber, Kvitova and Kuznetsova make the quarter-finals of Tokyo

Caroline Wozniacki is back to her winning ways, as she moved to the quarter-finals of the Tokyo with an impressive win over Magdalena Rybarikova bread-sticking her opponent in both sets. Awaiting Wozniacki in the quarter-finals is Lucie Safarova who defeated Samantha Stosur. Wozniacki won the match 61 61. Wozniacki is also making a late push towards Istanbul and with other hopefuls (Stephens, Jankovic, Vinci, Halep) out, she can make up some ground with some solid results here. Safarova and Wozniacki have split their 4 prior meetings.

Angelique Kerber, like Wozniacki is trying to make a late push towards Istanbul, as she got her first career win over Ana Ivanovic. She beat Ivanovic 64 62. Awaiting Kerber in the quarter-finals is the highest seed standing in the draw, Agnieszka Radwanska who defeated Cibulkova for a spot in quarter-finals. Kerber has a tougher task at hand if she is to make a push towards Istanbul.

Petra Kvitova and Svetlana Kuznetsova's 3rd round matches were postponed owing to rain yesterday, but both players won their matches earlier in the day today to book the only quarter-finals spot left in the draw. Kvitova defeated American youngster Madison Keys 62 62. Kuznetsova was down 4-1 when the play was stopped yesterday, but regrouped when the match was resumed today to win the first set in the tie-break and then breeze through the second set against Sorana Cristea, winning the match 76(3) 61. Kuznetsova and Kvitova are scheduled to play later tomorrow for a spot in the semi-finals.

Bouchard, Venus and Safarova make the Quarter-finals of Tokyo

Eugenie Bouchard continued her impressive run in her Tokyo debut as she took down 6th seed Jelena Jankovic to score her second top 10 win and her first in a completed match. Bouchard's other top 10 win came against Samantha Stosur in Charleston earlier this year, when Stosur retired in the second set.
Bouchard was clearly the more aggressive of the two and went on a spree from 5-4 down in the first set  winning 11 games in a row to beat Jankovic 7-5 6-2. While Bouchard was clearly the more aggressive player, Jankovic was unable to put the ball in court for the last few games that I happened to catch.
However, this is an impressive result for the youngster, who had come back from being 75 53 down in the second round to beat Sloane Stephens. Awaiting Bouchard in the quarter-finals is former world no.1 Venus Williams.

Venus Williams backed up her upset over world no.2 Victoria Azarenka in the second round with a win over Simona Halep. Halep was looking to make up some ground in the race to the championships, but Venus had some other plans. Venus beat Halep 46 75 63. Halep was thrice up a break in the second set, but Venus's fighting spirit and never say die attitude kept her alive in the match and at the end it pulled her across the line for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Agnieszka Radwanska got revenge when she beat Dominika Cibulkova 63 64 to book a quarter-final spot. Cibulkova had beaten Radwanska in the pair's last meeting in the final of Stanford. This was Radwanska's 400th career win.

Lucie Safarova ended Samantha Stosur's Tokyo campaign with a straight sets vicotry over the former U.S Open champion, winning the match 64 64. Safarova was 6-2 when she entered, and has now won previous 4 encounters against Stosur. This is a disappointing result for the Aussie given her potential and her fitness. The problems with her game seem to have something to do with her mind. Stosur is one of the few players who can match Serena Williams on the tour in every department and can give her a run for her money, but the lack of mental toughness has always been a problem for Stosur.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Cibulkova and Jankovic progress to third round in Tokyo

Dominika Cibulkova made it to the third round of Tokyo with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Australian qualifier Casey Dellacqua. This was the pair's first meeting. Cibulkova won a tight first set which saw 3 breaks of serve, once by Dellacqua and twice by Cibulkova.

The players traded breaks of serve in the second set with Cibulkova holding her serve twice while Dellacqua holding her serve just once.

Cibulkova has won back to back matches for the first time since Toronto where she made the quarter-finals.

Cibulkova is making her fall season debut and will look to post strong results.

Cibulkova will play the winner of the match between Agnieszka Radwanska and Aleksandra Wozniack, who play later today.

Jelena Jankovic, who made the top 10, after 4th round showing at U.S Open, made it past home player Ayumi Morita winning the match 6-4 6-1. Jankovic was broken only once throughout the match.

Jankovic will face Eugenie Bouchard, who made it past Sloane Stephens in a battle of promising youngsters.

Ivanovic to meet Kerber in Tokyo third round - Tokyo 2013

Ana Ivanovic breezed through the second round, defeating Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-0 to book a spot in the third round and a meeting with Angelique Kerber.

Interestingly, Ivanovic served at just 43% and despite that lost just 3 games. Ivanovic was broken only once and that came in the first set. She saved all the four break points she faced in the second set. Svitolina's serve completely fell apart in the second set as she won a total of 4 points on her serve. She failed to win a single point on her second serve in the second set.

Ivanovic leads the head to head against Kerber 3-0 with two of those 3 wins coming this year, one in the quarter-finals of Madrid, and the other in the Fed-cup semi-finals.

Ivanovic should be the favourite walking into the match, however, she will have to improve her serve against a player of the Kerber's caliber if she wants to win the match and make the quarter-final of Tokyo.

Monday 23 September 2013

Bouchard upends Stephens to make third round - Tokyo

Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens match promised to be an entertaining one, it was a clash between nations, Canda, an upstart in tennis, and America, with a proven history of tennis legends. It was a clash between promising and talented youngsters. Stephens was the favourite when she walked onto the courts today, but Bouchard, who made her top 50 debut this week, walked onto the court with something to prove, and prove she did, as she made her way past Stephens in an enthralling three set. Bouchard came back from being a set and a break down to book a place in the third round of Tokyo, with a 5-7 7-6(7) 6-3 win over Stephens.

Bouchard had serious serving trouble in the opening set as she made just 32% of the first serves. Stephens saved 2 of the 4 break points she faced and broke Bouchard on all 3 occasions to seal the first set 7-5.

Bouchard increased her first serve percentage to 68%, winning 59% of those points. Bouchard saved 5 of the 7 break points she faced and converted 2 of the 3 break point chances she created to send the match into the tie break, which she won 9-7.

With the momentum and the confidence on her side, Bouchard served at 81% in the third set and never faced a break point, while converting 2 of 4 break point chances to seal the victory in 2 hours and 19 minutes.

Both Stephens and Bouchard were making Tokyo debut. Bouchard started the year at 147 and now finds herself within top 50, owing to some solid results, and with this win Bouchard will make her top 40 debut.

Bouchard will face former world no.1 Jelena Jankovic in the third round for a place in the quarter-finals.

Madison Keys sets clash with Petra Kvitova - Tokyo 2013

Madison Keys has been impressive so far in Tokyo in making her fall season debut. Keys defeated U.S Open quarter-finalist Carla Saurez Navarro in the first round and followed up that impressive win with a straight sets victory over Chinese Shuai Peng in the second round of Tokyo to set a third round meeting with former Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova.

Keys won the tight first set 7-5 and raced through the second set without facing a break point. Keys won the match 7-5 6-2.

Keys already has a top 10 win to her name, when she defeated former Roland Garros champion, and two time Australian Open runner-up Li Na in Madrid this year.

As for Kvitova, she has had a tough year, and had a tough time in overcoming the Swiss younster Belinda Bencic 7-5 6-4.

This will be the first meeting between the pair, and given Kvitova's recent struggles Keys should fancy her chances of making the quarter-finals here.

Kuznetsova to battle Cristea for Quarter-finals spot in Tokyo - 2013

Svetlana Kuznetsova seems to have put the disappointing U.S Open loss behind her, as she impressed in her straight sets win over world no.6 Sara Errani, the final score of the match being 6-4 6-4. Kuznetsova led the head to head 5-1, when she entered the match, with Errani's only win coming over Kuznetsova in the 4th round of Roland Garros last year, when Errani made her first Grand Slam final.

Kuznetsova blasted 7 aces enroute to victory and will face Sorana Cristea, who defeated home player Misaki Doi at the loss of just 3 games. Kuznetsova has played Tokyo just once before in her career, back in 2002 when it had a 32 player draw. Kuznetsova lost in the second round at the hands of Alicia Molick.

Kuznetsova, two time former Grand Slam champion, should be poised to make a strong run through the fall season, after a disappointing summer, which saw her withdrawing from Wimbledon, a first round loss in Carlsbad, two loses (one in qualifying and one in first round as a lucky loser) at the hands of same player, Lauren Davis, in Toronto, a first round loss in Cincinnati and a third round loss at U.S Open.

Kuznetsova's opponent in the third round for a place in the quarter-finals will be Sorana Cristea, who made huge news when she made the final of Toronto, but failed to capitalise on that momentum in the U.S Open and fell in the second round at the hands of Kurumi Nara in straight sets.

Cristea seems to have found her game again as she blasted her way into the third round with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Misaki Doi.

Kuznetsova leads the head to head 3-0 against Cristea, however, the two have not played since their Roland Garros encounter in 2008, won by Kuznetsova 6-3 6-1.