Lepchenko v Hercog:
Head to heads are 1-1 but Hercog won their only previous clay court match.
Hercog is pretty bad on hard courts but is a different player on clay. It was probably the excitement of the upcoming clay tournaments that gave her a boost even on the recent hard court matches and she has taken sets off Bartoli and Hantuchova in the last 6 weeks.
Lepchenko really made a meal of her first round match against Yakimova losing a tight second set but easily winning sets 1 and 3. She hasn’t had a terrible start to the season on hard courts and has also taken a set from Bartoli and in Qatar in February had straight sets wins over Goerges and Wozniack.
On clay Hercog is a strong favourite. She is better on the red clay which is slower than today’s green clay surface but she should be able to come through this one on top.
Update: Easy straight set win for Hercog.
Shvedova v Wickmayer:
This will be their first meeting.
Shvedova won her opening set against Panova 6-0. I think that was more down to poor play from Panova who only managed to hold her own serve a couple of times in the match. Panova was able to break Shvedova’s serve several times in the second set.
Wickmayer beat Vania King in the first round. King has had a good start to the year and isn’t an easy opponent. Wickmayer won in straight sets.
I think the slightly faster green clay will favour Wickmayer. On standard red clay it may be a little more even but Wickmayer’s big serve ( if she gets it working) will be more effective on this surface.
Shvedova has won and reached the final of hard courts events in Mexico in March although the only player with any real pedigree was Babos.
In Miami Wickmayer beat Clijsters and also pushed Wozniacki to a first set tie break although she fell away badly in the second set losing it 6-0.
The first set may be close here but I expect Wickmayer to take it in straight sets.
Update: In the first set Wickmayer’s serve was well below par and Shvedova took full advantage. A closer second set went to a tie break but Shvedova finished the job.
Shvedova won 6-2, 7-6.