Saturday at the 2013 US Open was certainly a memorable one, as pretty much every match offered something unexpected.
I said yesterday that I liked Alison Riske’s chances of making things competitive against Petra Kvitova, but I doubt many people would have predicted a 6-3, 6-0 win for the American. As it transpired, Kvitova was unwell beforehand, which may go some way to explaining her terrible performance, but it was good from Riske, who unfortunately for me got things done rather too quickly.
Sveta Kuznetsova won just one more game in her match with Flavia Pennetta from 5-4 ahead in set one in a spectacular collapse, while Maria Kirilenko managed just one game in total against Simona Halep. Ana Ivanovic came within a few points of losing in straight sets, while Vika Azarenka had to come from a set down to take care of Alize Cornet. Day seven at Flushing Meadows sees the start of the fourth round matches and play begins later today for the ladies at around 7pm UK time.
Carla Suarez Navarro vs Angelique Kerber
The first match on the schedule takes place on Louis Armstrong and surely on one of the quicker courts this is a fine opportunity for Kerber to take her place in the quarter finals. This pair are meeting for the first time, but Kerber will fancy her chances here against an opponent, who although improving on hard courts, has never been past this stage of the US Open. The Spaniard can be rushed into errors on the faster surfaces and Kerber has steadily begun to show some of her best form of the season so far this week. She’ll believe she’s peaking at the right time and I’d be surprised if she didn’t come away with a win today. The 2-0 Kerber win looks good here at 2.20
Serena Williams vs Sloane Stephens
Williams will be looking forward to this one after losing to Stephens in a bizarre match at the Australian Open earlier this year. Serena was unbackable in that match at a set up and seemingly cruising before an injury struck and Stephens took the win. Williams will remember that and a few things have been said between the two since that makes this match interesting. I can’t see lightning striking twice and Stephens hasn’t shown much to make me believe that she’ll get as close again today. Serena will surely win, but the market offers little in the way of value here as it heavily favours Williams and that looks the likely result.
Agnieszka Radwanska vs Ekaterina Makarova
This looks another one that will go the way of the favourite, with Aga’s patient approach always likely to be a problem for Makarova, who likes to go for her shots. Aga has dominated this match-up in the past, with six sets to zero in the Pole’s favour and few of them being close. The Russian did score a good win over Sabine Lisicki in the previous round here, but Aga has been in decent touch and Ekaterina has only twice in her career been past this stage of any major. Both of those were in Melbourne and this is her first time in round four in New York. I don’t like this match-up for Makarova and the 2-0 Radwanska at 1.60 looks the bet.
Jelena Jankovic vs Na Li
The late match at around 2am features the in-form Na Li taking on a player, who has caused her plenty of problems in the past. Indeed, Jankovic has won their last three meetings and the only one in recent memory, which was on slow clay in Rome this spring. JJ always seems to labour through most of her matches, while Li is much more hit and miss and at the moment the Chinese player is reaching a high level, as she showed against Laura Robson in the last round. I think this one could be a tough battle, with the feisty Serbian likely to make a match of this. It looks the closest of the four last-16 matches today and over 20.5 games appeals at 1.83
Back Kerber to beat Suarez Navarro 2-0 at 2.20
Back Radwanska to beat Makarova 2-0 at 1.60
Back over 20.5 games in Na Li/Jankovic at 1.83