Since I missed yesterday due to having to do some actual work, let’s take a quick look at the fourth-round match-ups for the women at Indian Wells, now that the third round’s been completed.
(1) Caroline Wozniacki v. (22) Alisa Kleybanova
The world no. 1 is cruising so far in this tournament, taking out former bugbear Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in straight sets on her fourth attempt so far. Kleybanova has had a slightly tougher road but has been equally unruffled, with straight sets victories over Agnes Szavay and, last night, thirteenth seed Flavia Pennetta. Looking at the draw, if Wozniacki is going to be beaten before the semi-finals, it’s going to be here. Best of luck with that, Kleybs.
(9) Agnieszka Radwanska v. (8) Victoria Azarenka
H2H: 2 – 4
Christ on a bike, I love this match-up. Two of my favourite players with plenty of history – two great and very different games – two of the more enigmatic and spiky personalities on tour. Which just makes it all the more frustrating that it’s on court 7 for reasons unknown and therefore won’t be streamed. But OK. Radwanska toiled in her last match against Maria Kirilenko, finally winning 75 in the third after the Russian recovered from a first-set bagel, while Azarenka posted a straight sets victory over Urszula Radwanska, her opponent’s little sis. Game. On.
Dinara Safina v. (16) Maria Sharapova
Seriously, someone is doing this on purpose. Two contemporaries who have been playing each other since 2004, the only two Russians who have ever been ranked no. 1, and both struggling back from injuries that have decimated their careers (to different extents, I grant you, but still). Sharapova had a good win over Rezai yesterday, but who really thought Dinara would be here?! She beat the fourth seed Stosur last night in straight sets, a match that I didn’t watch but C Note did, and apparently while Stosur was fairly woeful, Dinara was brilliant. Remember when she was good? I mean, really good? That might be happening again. I’m so excited.
Not to worry though, she’s still Dinara.
(18) Nadia Petrova v. Peng Shuai
I keep telling people how much Peng Shuai has improved (OK, it might be Shuai Peng), but will anyone listen? She backed up her defeat of Li Na by beating Lucie Hradecka, who took out Alexandra Dulgheru in the previous round. It did take her three sets, but then it took Nadia three sets to beat American wildcard Christina McHale. I think Peng’s going to win this one.
(5) Francesca Schiavone v. (10) Shahar Peer
Another really great match-up. Schiavone has definitely had an easier time of it so far, beating Zuzana Ondraskova and Alize Cornet in straight sets, but from what I’ve seen her performances have been a bit erratic. Peer has had to go three sets with two tough opponents, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, but she’s beaten Schiavone every time they’ve played on hard courts. Fun times.
(23) Yanina Wickmayer v. (25) Dominika Cibulkova
Sorry for the pictures, for some reason these ladies haven’t been photographed much. Anyway. Cibulkova of course has scored arguably the biggest upset of the tournament so far, defeating third seed Vera Zvonareva 46 76(4) 64, and has consequently been rewarded with angry mama and personal fave of mine Yanina Wickmayer, who put paid to the hopes of whipping girl Melanie Oudin and then took out fourteenth seed Kaia Kanepi. Happy days.
(6) Jelena Jankovic v. (19) Ana Ivanovic
Whichever tennis god is doing this, I’m converting. No love lost between these Serbian former no. 1s who are both engaged in struggling out of prolonged and intermittent slumps. JJ has had a smooth ride so far against Coco Vanderweghe and Julia Goerges, and while I haven’t watched Ana’s matches, straight set wins over Date-Krumm and Zahlalova Strycova are a bit more impressive. So evidence would suggest she’s the form player so far – but then, as anyone who remembers the absolutely hilarious horror show that was their last match in Madrid will attest, reason and logic doesn’t always come into it with these girls.
(15) Marion Bartoli v. (2) Kim Clijsters
Rather a tough ask for Marion, you might think, given that Kim has beaten her all three times they played. But then Kim looked pretty dreadful in her match against Sara Errani, taking three sets to subdue the Italian with a serve and forehand misfiring all over the place, while Bartoli beat a tough opponent in Andrea Petkovic in straight sets last round. So maybe it’s the Frenchwoman’s moment. Allez, I say.
And that is your WTA round of sixteen at Indian Wells. Put bluntly, if you’re not having fun with this, then you’re not paying attention.