Petrova v Pavlyuchenkova:
Petrova leads the head to heads with their last match being at Wimbledon last year. They have played once on clay which was in 2010 in Madrid. Pavlyuchenkova has yet to take a set from today’s opponent.
Petrova came very close to losing to Jill Craybas yesterday. The veteran was a set up and was serving for the match. Petrova broke serve and took the set to a tie break which she won.
Petrova lost in the second round last year so I’m not sure how high her motivation will be if she gets into trouble against a player who it wouldn’t be a disgrace to lose to. She also won the doubles title last week in Miami so there isn’t much money motivation for her either.
Pavlyuchenkova has had a dire season so far on the hard courts winning just 2 matches before this week and one of those was due to Hercog retiring in the second set of their match in Brisbane.
She did well on the clay courts in 2011 with a quarter final at the French Open and a quarter final in Madrid. She has lost just 3 of her last 14 clay court matches and those defeats came to Schiavone, Azarenka and Goerges.
Pav had a good win over Daniilidou in the last round and she may be able to use this week to kick start her season. Especially if Petrova’s motivation isn’t quite there I think Pavlyuchenkova can at least take this to 3 sets and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win this one.
Lisicki v Shvedova:
Shvedova leads the head to heads 2-0 although the most recent in March last year was due to retirement. Her win came in January 2010 in the Hopman Cup and was over in 2 tight sets. At that time she was ranked 100 places higher than her current ranking.
Shvedova’s last 2 opponent’s lost the ability to serve in the first set. Was this down to something she was doing? I really doubt it. Its just a coincidence but it has allowed to progress further in the tournament than she would have done. Her own serve in the second set against Panova was very poor and she was broken twice with break points in another.
Lisicki took a few games to get used to the courts and lost the opening set to Hlavackova but sorted herself out in sets 2 and 3. Today she will be ready to compete from the first point and I expect her to be too strong for Shvedova in 2 tight sets.