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Tenaciously Tennis


Sharapova Wins in Singles; Davenport Advances in Doubles

Maria Sharapova beat Olga Govortsova in straight sets to get to the final 8 at Stanford. Lindsay Davenport paired with Liezel Huber to win, too. Here’s a brief recap of what happened today at the WTA tour even in California, a part of the US Open Series.

In Stanford:

  • Sharapova wins in a  6-3, 6-3  match over the 43rd-ranked Govortsova. Compatriot Elena Dementieva looked shaky against Dinara Safina’s slayer, Kimiko Date Krumm. Dementieva beat the veteran in three sets: 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Date Krumm played a great tournament  by ousting the former top women’s player Safina. She followed up the act with this impressive play, meaning she’s still a real threat these days — even at 39.
  • Ana Ivanovic, who showed signs of life by winning a match, lost to Marion Bartoli in two sets. Yes, Bartoli is a strong player, known for her two-handed strokes on both sides and run to the Wimbledon semifinals. The loss, however, just shows Ivanovic isn’t even close to being back to the level that won her a Grand Slam title a couple years ago. She has a long way to go before any titles — at any stage — go her way.
  • Sixth-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel fell to Maria Kirilenko, who made it to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, 6-4, 6-3. Is Kirilenko ready for another surprise run? She proved earlier this year she has the skill and belief to make it happen.
  • Victoria Azarenka beat the fan favorite Melanie Oudin 6-3, 6-1 to get to the quarterfinals. Oudin, entered in the doubles event with Michaella Krajicek, lost to Davenport and Huber. The pair, playing together for the first time, were defeated 6-4, 6-2.
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Bank of the West Predictions: Stosur Versus Sharapova?

The Bank of the West Classic, the first tournament of the US Open Series for the WTA tour, got underway with wins by Agnieszka Radwanska, Dominika Cibulkova, and Olga Govortsova. The tournament features a strong field of players, and should prove to be an exciting kick-off to the women’s hard court summer season leading up to the US Open. Here’s a breakdown of the brackets.

The First Quarter: Sam Stosur’s Section

The top seed in the event, the Aussie Stosur, is back after losing in the first round at Wimbledon. Stosur should be back on track at the tournament, bringing back the form that helped her beat both Justine Henin and Serena Williams on the way to the French Open finals. Her main competition: Yanina Wickmayer, who she’d potentially face in the quarterfinals. The head-to-head between the two players doesn’t help much: it’s tied at one-all. The last match was won by Stosur at the 2009 French Open in three sets.

I see Stosur getting through the section to the semifinals without much of a problem.

The Second Quarter: Marion Bartoli’s Section

This is a tough part of the draw with Bartoli, Ana Ivanovic, Melanie Oudin, and Victoria Azarenka headlining the section. I’d like to think that Ivanovic can get her game back, and beat Bartoli in what would be a second round match. That, however, is a huge question mark.

As for Oudin and Azarenka, I think the Belarussian will put a fight to earn the win in two sets. In the quarterfinals, I’m going with Bartoli against Azarenka, although I’d be just as happy for an Ivanovic – Oudin match-up.

The Third Quarter: Radwanska’s Section

Another heavy section of the draw, Peer, Daniela Hantuchova, Maria Kirilenko, and Radwanska stand out as the favorites to advance. Out of these four, I’ll go with Peer and Radwanska making it to the quarterfinals. There, I’m going with Peer to pull off the upset.

The Fourth Quarter: Elena Dementieva’s Section

This final part of the draw features two big names on the WTA tour: Maria Sharapova and Dementieva. Dinara Safina is also back in action, while Zheng Jie looks like a dangerous floater in any tournament she enters given her semifinal showing at this year’s Australian Open.

I don’t think Safina or Jie have the power (or health in Safina’s case) to take out Sharapova or Dementieva. I’m going with Sharapova to win that potential quarterfinal to get to the semifinals.

Overview:

I’m predicting that Stosur takes out Azarenka in the first semifinal. In the second, Sharapova beats Peer easily. In the final, Sharapova proves she’s got her game back, beating Stosur in three sets.


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