V Williams v Radwanska:
Williams leads the head to heads 5-1 winning their last 5 matches. They haven’t played since March 2010.
The matches with the two Williams sisters are difficult to predict at the moment with their absence from the tour. There seem to be two camps. Those who feel that they are too powerful and will hit through their opponents and those who feel that they are short of match fitness and require more matches to get back to their former levels. As we see them in action in this tournament you can be forgiven for jumping between camps! For example yesterday I thought that Serena would be too powerful for a disheartened Wozniacki. In reality Wozniacki played with a lot of freedom and consistency and Serena looked like she was going to puke up her breakfast at any moment after long rallies.
Venus played Ivanovic who has been in great form recently and performing like the top ten player she used to be (perhaps not at the level she was at when number 1). When it came to their match Ivanovic was intimidated by her opponent and wasn’t able to produce the standard required.
Venus always seemed to be the more controlled of the sisters. Serena is basically a bear in a skirt. She has had some tough matches this week and has come through strongly. Her serve at times has been fragile but lack of competitive match situations could explain that.
Radwanska has only lost to Azarenka this season. Very few players have even managed to take a set from her. She has been extremely consistent and doesn’t give away many cheap points.
Venus has said she needs ranking points as she wants to get to the Olympics so she isn’t short of motivation. Often the will to win has been all that gets her and her sister through matches. Against Radwanska she must reduce the number of unforced errors.
I feel that if Venus can maintain a balance between power and consistency then she has the ability to hit Radwanska off the court. Radwanska is unable to deal with Azarenka’s powerful ground strokes and Williams is able to match that.
I don’t think Williams will have a problem with fitness as she seems well prepared. Its down to her errors. If she keeps them in check she wins in my opinion. If the errors creep in then Radwanska will grind her down. I don’t see the head to head record being a factor in itself for Radwanska. Its the opponent over the net on the day that will decide this one.
Update: Williams was not in good shape tonight. From the start she looked spaced out. She resembled a granny when running. Its probably not a good idea that she goes to the olympics.
Radwanska won 6-4, 6-1.
Tsonga v Nadal:
They haven’t played this season but met 3 times in 2011. Tsonga won 2 of the 3 matches with Nadal winning their only clay court match. All 3 of their 2011 matches went to 2 sets. In Tsonga’s 2 wins ( 1 on grass and 1 at the ATP Finals on an indoor hard court) the opening set was settled in a tie break.
Nadal struggled in his last match against Nishikori. He was far from his best. That was an early match though and I think he will be happier to be on the evening session. The court will be a little slower than when the sun is beating down which favours the claycourters as we saw last night with Ferrer v Del P.
Tsonga has only really lost to big players this season. His form has been ok without being spectacular. He has come through three potentially awkward matches to beat Malisse, Kohlschreiber and Mayer all in straight sets.
If this was played earlier in the day when the courts are a little faster than this would be very even. However a night match against Nadal on a slow court isn’t an ideal situation for the Frenchman.
I expect Nadal to win in 2 tight sets or perhaps 3.
Update: I only traded the first set which was dominated by Nadal. Looks like Tsonga made a match of it though.
Nadal won 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.