Women’s Singles – Round 3
Shahar Peer (ISR) vs. Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR)
Peer is coming off of a straight set victory in the 2nd round over Nathalie Dechy of France. Peer is extremely disciplined, which I am sure she learned from her military background. This has helped her tremendously, especially in the areas of focus and competitiveness.
Larcher de Brito surprised everyone last year with her upset of Meghann Shaughnessy in the first round. This year, the 15-year old Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy student, has surpassed last year’s results and came up with a huge win over #17 Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round. Like Peer, she is a fighter and she has displayed that over her previous two matches.
Peer must be ready to move side-to-side, because of the flat pounding forehands and backhands that Larcher de Brito will hit. Peer must not give Larcher de Brito any glimpse of hope in this match, otherwise the youngster will pounce all over her. Larcher de Brito did not have any double faults in her second round win, and this trend must continue. She has to mix up her groundstrokes with a few heavy deep balls and angled shots.
Nick’s Pick – I look for an upset, Larcher de Brito in 3 sets!
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Flavia Pennetta (ITA)
Williams, the defending champion, has also liked playing in Miami and she demonstrated this passion with a 6-1, 6-2 throttling of Edina Gallovits in the first round. Williams may have a #8 next to her name, but that certainly doesn’t tell the whole story.
Pennetta comes in seeded 27th, and defeated Anastasia Rodionova 6-4, 6-2 in the second round. She is a veteran player, who knows how to win and she will not give up easily in this match.
Pennetta is a good clay-court player, which doesn’t do much for her here, but at the very least she moves very well. She has a good forehand, but her biggest asset in this match will be her return of serve. She is going to have to use this to negate the big serve of Williams. For Williams, she can pick on the Pennetta serve, and she will be able to keep the Italian pinned back behind the baseline. Williams has too much power for Pennetta to neutralize in this match.
Nick’s Pick – Williams in 2 set