Thursday, 28 April 2016

Busy time for top ten contenders

Quarter final time in Prague as a group of middle range WTA players put some more miles of clay under their feet en route to what they hope will be a successful Roland Garros in May/June.
Top seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, enjoying a career revival of sorts, has claimed one of the last eight spots, as have four of the other eight seeds. We said farewell in round one to remaining seeds Cibulkova, Ostapenko and Wickmayer.
Lucie Safarova has smiled for the first time in months having won her first match in 2016.  The thrill was so much for the second seed that she decided to double up and win two in a row.  Can she overcome Su-Wei Hsieh for a treble and a semi final berth ?  I think she can - this is her time of the year - although she lost first round in Prague in 2015, she proceeded to make quarters in Madrid, final at Roland Garros and round of sixteen at Wimbledon.

Rabat has been the scene for another WTA event, and it appears that Moroccans don't like the taste of seeds, as five have failed to reach their expected quarter final destinations.  Swiss top twenty player, and top seed here, Timea Bacsinszky, is the class in the tournament, and with the carnage of most of the other fancied women, the next highest ranked player left is another Timea, this one of the Babos variety and of Hungarian extraction.  Babos ranks 40 in the world and is drawn to meet Bacsinszky in one of the semis should both win their respective quarters.  Highly likely that the tournament winner will come from one of the Timeas.

The men have also been hitting tennis balls for money, while reddening their clothes with clay, in Estoril, Munich and Istanbul.

Estoril has participants in two quarter finals decided - third seed Benoit Paire from France and fifth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez from Spain will contest one of the two quarters from the top of the draw.
Second seed Nick Kyrgios (currently Australia's highest ranked player) will attempt to overpower Croatia's Borna Coric, the tournament's sixth seed in the bottom half.  
All eight seeds still standing - so far.  

In Munich the withdrawal of Monte Carlo runner-up Gael Monfils was a blow to tournament organisers but David Goffin and Dominic Thiem remain, ensuring enough class in the event.  It also opens up the bottom section of the draw to Kohlschreiber, Del Potro and the like.  So far only one quarter final has its components known - third seed (second highest after Monfils left) Thiem faces Croatian Ivan Dodig.
The probable semi final between Goffin and Thiem is what organisers are hoping for just as they want to see Del Potro advance as far as he can, being the crowd favourite he is.

Istanbul, where history was made last week with the first Turkish title winner on the WTA tour is currently hosting an ATP event with Bernard Tomic top seed for his second tournament in a row.  Hoping to redeem himself for his last lamentable effort, Tomic faces Diego Schwartzman from Argentina in the second round, following a first round bye.
Two quarter finals are already set, and the seeds are comfortably in their predicted places.  Fourth seeded Argentine Federico Delbonis meets number eight seed Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, while number two seed Grigor Dimitrov does battle with sixth seed Jiri Vesely, the Czech Republic player who upset Djokovic in Monte Carlo.  He upset him so much that we haven't seen Novak since.

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