The draw for the Australian Open is out on Friday. I will post my thoughts on the initial matches and have a look at who should be going deep into the second week.
Last night Li Na had a nightmare match against Radwanska. All the stats pointed to the Chinese player taking the win but Radwanska just allowed Li to make error after error and took the match in straight sets.
Anderson was broken early by Istomin and we backed the South African who immediately broke back and went on to take the set.
Most people went with the stats and laid Kerber. I got it into my head that Cibulkova wouldn’t be able to repeat the form from the previous night. I backed Kerber after she was broken. Whilst Cibulkova was playing well Kerber just didn’t show up mentally in the opening set. I left the position to run and was able to close with small profit during the second set when Kerber went a double break up.
Benneteau provided some additional profit as did Vesnina. It was a mixed bag of trades but was over shadowed by Li’s performance in my own mind as I was looking forward to a healthy return from that particular match. Over all it was a profitable night but I fely quite drained by the time I went to bed.
Anderson has not managed to take a set from Benneteau in their two previous matches. Their most recent match was in 2010 and Anderson has improved both his ranking and his over all game since then. Anderson starts as favourite at 1.65 .
The South African started slowly against Istomin and was broken first. However he fought straight back and grew in confidence as the match progressed.
Benneteau was able to take advantage of a nervous start from Harrison and went up a break very early. Whilst he was put under increasing pressure on his own serve he held on to take the set. It was a similar story in the second set but as Harrison’s shoulders dropped the Frenchman was able secure a second break and ended a comfortable winner.
Anderson looked like he hasn’t yet been able to reach the level of play that he had towards the end of last year. He served just 3 aces against Istomin. For a player whose serve is a huge part of his game that is less than impressive.
Benneteau has a better touch around the court and unless Anderson finds his big serves I expect Benny to have a slight edge in this one. He will also need to improve his serve to make his task easier.
It’s worth laying Anderson. I will be holding off in the hope of getting a lower lay price than SP.
Update: Anderson held serve a couple of times and gave a lay price of around 1.61 . Benneteau was serving superbly well and Anderson just wasn’t getting a look at a break. Benneteau won the break and easily held on for the set.
Anderson managed to break serve in the second set and levelled the match. The third set went to a tie break which Anderson won.
Anderson won 3-6, 6-4, 7-6.
In Hobart Vesnina and Stephens will play for a place in the Final.
Vesnina is almost back to her best and is serving well. How will she cope with the powerful American teenager/ Stephens had a long match yesterday with Fellow American Davis and pulled herself together after her level dropped in the middle of the match.
Stephens’ second serve will need to be better today as Vesnina will look to take on any weak serves.
My gut feeling is that Vesnina’s greater experience will be the difference today. She start as slight underdog at 2.10 .
Stephens knocked out Laura Robson in the first round which cannot be ignored. After a low start against “local” favourite Gajdosova Vesnina took control and outplayed her opponent.
Expect some big hitting from these two and I am going with Vensina to take it in 3 sets. ( be warned that just about everyone else seems to be siding with Stephens! ).
Update: A surprisingly one sided match which Vesnina won 6-2, 6-2.