Thursday, 5 January 2017

Top seed out in NZ, China, India, Aus

As we approach the serious end of the opening tournaments of 2017, there have been some surprise results which will only add intrigue to the upcoming Aus Open.

Auckland saw the exit of the top two seeds, both Williams sisters, after just two rounds.  Venus withdrew through injury but Serena lost to fellow American Madison Brengle.  Sadly for Madison the biggest win of her career could not translate into further tournament success and the semi final spot she'd hoped for was taken by Latvian seventh seed Jelena Ostapenko in two sets.

One American who will be in the semis in New Zealand is Lauren Davis.  After knocking out fifth seed Kiki Bertens in the opening round, unseeded Davis gave in form fourth seed Barbora Strycova her marching orders in an impressive quarter final victory.  It will be Ostapenko v Davis in one semi and eighth seed Ana Konjuh from Croatia against unseeded German Julia Goerges in the other.
Goerges fought back incredibly from a set and 0-3 down against third seed Caroline Wozniacki to take out the last quarter final 1-6 6-3 6-4. 

In Brisbane, 7 of the men's quarter finalists have been determined, with two unseeded players providing upsets - Australia received great joy when Jordan Thompson came from a set down to defeat 8th seed David Ferrer and England's Kyle Edmund was ahead by a set and leading in the second when 6th seed Lucas Pouille surrendered with an injury.
If Nadal wins tonight it sets up a mouth watering quarter final with top seed and defending champ Milos Raonic.

One women's semi final is set - fourth seed Garbine Muguruza will face unseeded Alize Cornet after wins over Sveta Kuznetsova and second seed Dominika Cibulkova respectively.  Both Cornet and Muguruza have played some high quality tennis throughout, and have fought hard from some difficult positions, especially Garbine, so expect a terrific match.  Garbine to win, just.

Third seed Karolina Pliskova will play Elena Svitolina in the other semi, thanks to Elena's wonderful victory over the world number one Angie Kerber in three absorbing sets.  However, even with that fine result, and despite Pliskova losing the first set of her quarter final to Roberta Vinci, I believe that Karolina has shown enough to be my pick for a final spot.  Her serve is huge, and improved pace around the court makes her increasingly dangerous for any opponent this year.

The top two seeds are gone from the Shenzhen draw, Simona Halep exiting first, and now Alison Riske blitzing Aga Radwanska 6-0 in the deciding third set of their quarter final.  The eighth seeded American won 24 of the 30 points played in the final set, after Radwanska had tied it up at a set all.
Third seed Johanna Konta meets Katerina Siniakova in the semi finals and Riske has to deal with Italian Camila Giorgi.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic remain on course to meet in the Doha final, as two more seeds - David Goffin and Philipp Kohlschreiber - have fallen en route to the quarter final stage.  Murray has unseeded Almagro and Djokovic has qualifier Stepanek to manage next.

Chennai lost its main drawcard top seed Marin Cilic in the second round - his first outing - following a shock defeat to Slovak qualifier Josef Kovalik, ranked 117.
Each player broke serve twice but Kovalik saved nine break points and this was pivotal.
Of the four quarter finalists decided to this point, only one is seeded - Albert Ramos-Vinolas (3).

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