WTA preview – Miami

Welcome to Miami, have a nice day

Photo: Google Images

 

It was an awesome week-and-half in California. The sun, the tennis, the mountains, and everything that makes of Indian Wells the perfect – but deserved – tennis cliché. And, by the end of the 13 days, the usual suspect prevailed. The ever consistent world no.1 justified her position as he bounced Marion Bartoli – a good surprise, in my opinion – in three sets.

With this win, Caroline Wozniacki: 1) Increased her lead over Clijsters and assured the no.1 at least until after Miami (it was on the line); 2) Won her 14th title, surpassing Kuznetsova and becoming the 5th active with most; 3) Extended to 26 matches unbeaten at Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 events; 4) Became the 1st woman to win more than one Mandatory (it was introduced in 2009; and also joined names such as Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport for some Indian Wells – out of question one of the most traditional tournaments out there. And you still question her😉

But there’s no time to celebrate or moan, because Miami is right around the… forget it, Miami is happening right now as I write those brief words. My luck is, the seeds will debut only tomorrow, giving me time to write this preview. So, let’s go straight to it, if you please.

 

A shot at history – Holder of the Indian Wells title, Caroline Wozniacki will try to equal Steffi Graf (94/96) and Kim Clijsters (2005) as the only players to win both tournaments in the same season. However, only by reaching the final, Caro will tie Monica Seles (1991 – Miami), Serena (1999 – Indian Wells), Hingis (2000 – Miami), Davenport (2000 – Indian Wells) and Maria Sharapova (2006 – Indian Wells) as players who reached both finals.

But one game at once, right? So, in order to get there, Caroline Wozniacki will probably open against Bethanie Mattek-Sands; if she wins, will play either Melanie Oudin or Daniela Hantuchova; the 4th round seeds of her section are Andrea Petkovic and Flavia Pennetta – whom she leads 4-0 in the H2H. Other seeds on her quarter are Shahar Peer, Yanina Wickmayer, Klara Zakopalova and the trickier of them all – Jelena Jankovic; the highest seed on her half is Samantha Stosur. However, Caro might as well meet Nadia Petrova, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals. It gets tougher, but seriously? Nothing Wozniacki can’t handle.

 

Are you ok? – That’s what I would ask Kim Clijsters if I had the chance. After an early exit at Indian Wells due to injury – she retired vs. Marion Bartoli – Kim arrives in the Orange State without the possibility of adding any points to hers. This means, Kim has nowhere to go but down. But right now, I just expect her shoulder to be O.K.

Kim’s draw is fulfilled with known faces: she could open against Alla Kudryavtseva – just like in Indian Wells – and once again Ana Ivanovic was drawn on her section – a 4th round meeting is what it is, if them both get there, just like it was supposed to be at Indian Wells and just like it was at the US Open last year; Clijsters could also face Petra Kvitova – who beat her in Paris final some weeks ago – in the quarterfinals, and take on Vera Zvonareva – beaten in the US Open final – Alisa Kleybanova – also beat her last year – and Marion Bartoli for a place in the final. Oh yeah, also on the other half of the draw, but unlikely to get to the semis, Jelena Dokic – it was against her Kimmie sealed her return to the top of the world.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention – Kim needed to reach Indian Wells semifinals to achieve 500 career wins. She didn’t. But now, in Miami, she only needs to win two matches – and her 3rd round seed is the Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

 

For something else – Maybe I was just bad accustomed by ATP. Maybe this will sound like hating, but it is more disappointment than anything else. I’m still not convinced by Stosur and Schiavone – seeds no.4 and 5, respectively. As a consolation, I totally agree they are more clay-oriented players – their best fortunes came there, for more ironic it sounds for Sam. But really, a 7-7 YTD record is not what I expect from a top-5 – neither losing when the opponent hit MORE THAN A DOZEN DOUBLE-FAULTS (and it makes just no difference the opponent was Dinara Safina).

But wow, I will define Sam’s draw as ‘too much toughness’. Safarova, Petrova, Sharapova, Lisicki and Kuznetsova are in the same quarter as her. But if she plays like the world no.5, will at least leave Florida with a winning record😉

As for Francy, I can not express in words how I would feel if she loses to either Gallovits or Kerber in the second round. She then will play whoever beats Pironkova in the third (what? Don’t you think she will win a match) and finally, probably Aggie in the 4th. You shall be forgiven then.

 

Johanna Larsson – Stands between Li Na and her first post-Australian Open win. It’s totally ok for a top-10 to drop three straight openers, but I felt I had to include this here. In the third round, will probably play Polona Hercog – who will probably bounce Chanelle Scheepers and then “upset” the 1-6 YTD W-L but seeded and ultra-cute Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru, but I’m totally ok with that.

UPDATE: Scheepers defeated Hercog and will play Alexandra. I know someone who will be very upset with Goerges and Hercog saying goodbye in the first round…

 

Curiosity… – Am I the only one who’s curious to see how Yanina Wickmayer and Marion Bartoli will do? Probably because I’m a fan of both, but… they’re out of great runs – played each other in the semis, just in case your mind blocked last week events, what is likely, in case you’re, say, a fan of a former RG champion.

Marion, whose father was nicknamed “Phantom of the Opera” due to his sunscreen-ed face, will play against Ayumi Morita her first match as a top-10 again. In case she wins, could play Alisa Kleybanova – totally winneable. A probably 4th rounder include a meeting with Vera Zvonareva, and, hell, who knows?

Wicky, on the other hand, has a tricky opener – will play either Gisela Dulko or Elena Vesnina. And, god, Wicky’s just so streaky. One step at a time. If she gets through it, will say her possible next meeting.

Thing is, one will probably don’t even care, but if you do, don’t fake a surprise face if them both drop their openers.

 

So unfair – Those draws are fixed. If they are not, tennis gods are just so cruel and unfair, and right now they’re toying with us and laughing as I write this. Jelena Dokic, who’s back on the spotlight for the good reasons, qualified and will play Dinara Safina – who thankfully didn’t retire face her worst moment – in the first round. And, oh, just to make it better, the winner will get Vera Zvonareva in the third round. Don’t know if there are any specific rules about this, but… HEY, KLARA ZAKOPALOVA, TSVETANA PIRONKOVA AND MJMS ARE SEEDS TOO.

 

Shuai Peng – The other Chinese ousted Li Na and Nadia Petrova at Indian Wells; she’s also 3-2 vs. top-10 in 2011 and rose from no.72 at her first event to a no.32 that would award her a 1st round bye if the seedings were based on this week’s rankings. You keep an eye on her. That’s a Pete tennis tip.😉

 

Would take – A lot of choking from Pavlyuchenkova to lose her 2nd rounder – she plays either Agnes Szavay or Shuai Zhang. I mean, forreal, Pavs. You gotta take it in straights.

 

Feeling positive – (Should I have written about it earlier?) about Sharapova and Ana.

Maria had a great semifinal run – and lost to Wozniacki, but, pff, who doesn’t these days? – and is now rounding the top-10 again; she left it in the early months of 2009 (right now, can’t recall if it was before or after her AO title points were dropped) and ever since didn’t came back, but got close. One thing that’s for sure is, a new top-10 spot will be open – since Venus won’t defend her final, she will leave it. Shahar Peer, Aggie Rad and even Serena (!!) are looking for it. And since Masha is gently placed in Stosur’s quarters, gotta say: Girl’s gotta sweat to make it.

Ana, on the other hand, had some solid matches including – including the win over Jelena Jankovic. But she then played like a top-20 – what she is, to be honest, these days – and lost to a less favored (but higher ranked) Bartoli. Heads up, Miami is here, and she will play either another Czech – Ondraskova – or Kimiko Date-Krumm – would be her 2nd straight opener against the Japanese.

 

Random – Timea Bacsinszky played Vera Zvonareva in the 2nd round of Indian Wells – and lost. In Miami, if Timea wins her opener (plays Vesna Manasieva) will play Dominika Cibulkova – who defeated Zvonareva at Indian Wells.

 

FWIW – Kim will plays Yakimova or Kudryavtseva in the second round – and I’m worried about her shoulder; Aggie has Sloane Stephens or the long named Czech – Sloane is a good prospect, but she’s not ready yet, and I don’t think Strycova can pull another upset; already spoken about Marion, Nina and Pavs openers… Dulgheru will play Chanelle Scheepers, who just defeated Polona Hercog – I’m kinda hopeless about you, Alexandra. Please, change my mind with a satisfactory win, yah?

 

That’s pretty much it. Hope you like it =)

 

PS: Will spare you from my endless and useless stats; they will be posted on my Twitter according to their relevance.

 

Pete S.

 

About Pete S. Liguori
Pete was born in São Paulo, Brasil. Loves sports - pigskin fanatic, tennis lover. One of his most famous quotes is "I'm no Tolstoi, but I love the Dallas Cowboys" His favorite quote of all time is "I'll keep playing", unknown author.

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