2011 Sony Ericsson Open – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Round 3
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) vs. Klara Zakopalova (CZE)
This is the fifth career meeting between Jankovic and Zakopalova, and they have split the previous four. Jankovic has won the last two matches, including a victory over her earlier this year at Doha. Jankovic has looked very confident as of late and she is playing more aggressive and is really using that two-handed backhand down-the-line shot as a weapon. When she plays this way, she is very difficult to beat because she moves so well. Zak0palova is no push-over though, she hits the ball hard from both sides and is a veteran to the tour with experience and good wins over top players. She doesn’t have the big weapon though and that will be the difference in this match. I look for Jankovic to advance in straight sets.
Nick’s Pick – Jankovic in 2 sets
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)
This is going to be an exciting match! Wozniacki is 2-0 against Hantuchova, but they haven’t met since 2009. Hantuchova is solid from both wings, has great hands, is an excellent mover and her serve is reliable. What she lacks against someone like Wozniacki is the firepower to push her back and keep her off-balance. Wozniacki has already won two titles in 2011, including a big title last week at Indian Wells. She is definitely the top player in the world, and this is because of her consistency. Her movement is off the charts, her groundstrokes are amazing and her work ethic is top notch. Her second serve is attackable, but it isn’t a major weakness. She is still looking for her Grand Slam title, and while this wouldn’t classify, it would definitely be a step in the right direction. I look for a great match, but in the end, Wozniacki just has too much.
Nick’s Pick – Wozniacki in 2 sets
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)
Azarenka is 5-1 against Cibulkova and beat her the only time they played in 2010. Cibulkova reached the fourth round of Indian Wells, beating Vera Zvonareva, before falling to Yanina Wickmayer. For a small girl, she packs a huge punch and she moves around the court like a lightning bolt. She has a solid serve and she has the experience needed to make a deep run in this tournament.
Azarenka was a quarterfinalist last week at Indian Wells where she took down both Radwanska sisters before falling to eventual champion, Caroline Wozniacki. She won this tournament back in 2009 so she enjoys playing down in Miami. She has all the physical tools to win a Grand Slam, but she hasn’t been able to come up with the shots needed on the big stage. She has played well against Cibulkova in the past, and she has more firepower than her counterpart. I look for Azarenka to win, but this could go the distance.
Nick’s Pick – Azarenka in 3 sets
Virginie Razzano (FRA) vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Ivanovic is 2-1 against Razzano, including a win over her at last year’s US Open. Everyone is excited to have Ivanovic playing well again as she is great for the WTA. We all know she has the game to beat anyone, she just hasn’t been able to put together any consistency over the last two seasons. If she plays to her ability level, she can win any tournament. Razzano is a tricky veteran who Ivanovic cannot overlook. I don’t think she will, and I feel she will win this match in straight sets.
Nick’s Pick – Ivanovic in 2 sets