2013 WTA Moscow Preview, Predictions
Connor Farley, Tennis East Coast
2013 Kremlin Cup by Bank of Moscow
WTA Premier Series
October 12-October 20, 2013
Prize Money: $795,707
Top 4 seeds (who will receive first round byes)
1: Angelique Kerber
2: Roberta Vinci
3: Maria Kirilenko
4: Ana Ivanovic
First round matchups to watch:
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Caroline Garcia
The home girl Pavlyuchenkova is the heavy favourite on paper in this first round matchup, although her recent results do not look outstanding, having a small let down after reaching the third round of the US Open in August. On the other side of the net is a dangerous youngster from France by the name of Caroline Garcia. Garcia had her standout year in 2011, reaching the second round of the French Open, where she lost out to Maria Sharapova in three sets. Since then, Garcia has had the odd good result, making the second round of the French and Wimbledon this year. Pavlyuchenkova, however, has won two titles this year in Monterrey and Oerias. The head-to-head between these two stands at 0-0, but Pavlyuchenkova should win here in two tight sets.
(5)Simona Halep vs. Dominika Cibulkova
Cibulkova reached the quarterfinals of Linz this past week, losing to Ivanovic in two sets. But Simona Halep has had an outstanding year, winning the first four titles of her career (Nurnberg, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Budapest and New Haven), as well as reaching a career high ranking of No. 17. Halep reached the fourth round of the US Open, where she lost to Pennetta in two sets again. On the other hand, Cibulkova has had an up and down year. Reaching the third round of Wimbledon was her best Slam result this year. She did win Stanford, beating Agnieszka Radwanska and reached the final of Sydney, where she lost to Radwanska.
This match is completely torn as both are coming in on form. The head-to-head between these two is 2-1 to Cibulkova, having last met in Indian Wells this year, where Dominika won 7-5 7-6. If I had to make a bold pick, I would say Halep would lift her game and come through this, perhaps losing a set.
(7)Samantha Stosur vs. Kaia Kanepi
Stosur is currently in the final of Osaka and is showing signs of life after having a disastrous 2013 season. Meanwhile, Kanepi has had a resurgent year, reaching the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, where she lost to eventual finalist Sabine Lisicki.
As far as recent results go for the Estonian, she lost in the second round of Beijing to Czech, Lucie Safarova. Kanepi leads this particular match-up 1-0, having last met at Wimbledon in 2010, where Kanepi made the semifinals in profound fashion.
Kanepi should have the mental edge over Stosur after having a promising year, but you should expect some hard hitting going on between these two, as well as some big serving.
A sure thriller for the crowds this will be, but I see Stosur leveling up the head-to-head in three nail biting sets.
Top seed Angelique Kerber will face either Pavlyuchenkova or Garcia in the second round after she received a first round bye. Kerber has played Pavlyuchenkova three times this year, with the Russian leading 2-1. She’ll have Daniela Hantuchova, a qualifier, Halep, the fifth seed, or Cibulkova waiting in the quarterfinals.
Also in the top half is third seed Maria Kirlenko and sixth seed Carla Suarez Navarro. Kirilenko received a first round bye due to her Top 4 seeding, but she faces either Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia or Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan in the second round. Linz semi-finalist Navarro, a qualifier, Alisa Kleybanova or American Varvara Lepchenko await in her quarter final.
Leading at the top of the bottom half is seventh seed Stosur, who faces Kanepi in the first round and Elina Svitolina of Ukraine or Alize Cornet of France in the second round. Stosur and Cornet have met five times. The Australian leads 3-2, having last met only two weeks ago in the first round of Tokyo, where Stosur won in three sets.
Ana Ivanovic, the fourth seed and Linz semifinalist, is Stosur’s potential quarterfinal opponent. She receives a first round bye, but will face either Zakopalova or a qualifier in the second round before potentially coming up against the Aussie. Ivanovic and Zakopalova have met once before way back in 2004 during qualifying for Zurich. Ivanovic won that match 7-5 6-0, so therefore leads the head-to-head 1-0.
Roberta Vinci, the 2 seed, lies at the bottom of the half. She faces either Elena Vesnina or Yaroslava Shevdova in the second round, with 8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova being her potential quarterfinal opponent.
Kuznetsova faces Lesia Tsurenko, the impressive Ukrainian who has had a huge season this year, reaching the semis of Brisbane earlier in the year and has kept consistent results throughout. Thereafter, she faces Galina Voskoboeva or a qualifier in the second round to set up a clash with Vinci.
Dark Horse: (5) Simona Halep
Despite a first round loss in her last event in Beijing to Agnieszka Radwanska’s younger sister Urszula, Halep has remained strong and consistent this year in picking up four titles. She beat the likes of Petra Kvitova and Kirsten Flipkens to get them and has displayed great fight in Slams, too, most recently reaching the fourth round of the US Open. Definitely watch out for her this week, and don’t put it past her to beat higher ranked seeds and perhaps pick up the winners trophy at the end of it.
Vinci d. Ivanovic
Kerber and Kirilenko have met once before in Monterrey this year, where the German won in three sets.
Kerber is in great form lately, much more so than Kirilenko. I would expect her to beat Kirilenko in straights this time, with perhaps one set being tight. Both Vinci and Ivanovic are on form too, so this could be a potential three-setter with the winner not being clear until the final stages, where I think the Italian will show her true skill around the court with her slice backhand and dispatch Ivanovic’s game.
Kerber d. Vinci
Doesn’t happen in very many events, but I predict it to go the way of the seedings and for the top seed to beat the second seed in a tight but straight sets final. Kerber has beaten Vinci twice before, with Vinci returning the favour and also beating the German twice. They last met only last week in Beijing, where Kerber rumbled through with ease.
Seeing as this is a final, expect a tougher match.