Day 4 featured the shock exit of world number 1 and raging favourite Serena Williams. The defending Champs exit along with Li Na's first round departure have totally opened up the draw. Can Aga finally win a Grand Slam.. on clay?! I hope so! Maria is certainly the new favourite to go all the way followed by Simona and Ivanovic. Day 5 features a number of intriguing matches..
(23) Lucie Safarova vs. Casey Dellacqua
This is going to be an interesting match up between two lefties who in some ways play quite similarly. This is the first time these two ladies have ever played each other which is surprising considering they are both seasoned competitors.
Safaraova's results has been typically erratic this season, she has had some good victories but some terribly disappointing loses. Casey Dellacqua has had a wonderful year, reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and the quarterfinals at Indian Wells. Neither have done all that well on clay. Safarova notably pushed Sharapova to a third set tiebreak in Stuttgart but that was on a much faster surface.
Safarova has to come into this match as the warm favourite, to me she is in some ways a better version of Dellacqua. If she comes to play she will win this match in straight sets...
Prediction: Lucie Safarova to defeat Casey Dellacqua 6-4 7-5
(24) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. (Q) Kiki Bertens
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova must win this match. These are the kinds of matches she has frequently dropped in the last few months after a promising start to the season. There is no doubt that Bertens is talented, especially on clay but Pavlyuchenkova is more experienced and at this point in her career is simply better than her opponent.
Pavlyuchenkova wasn't too convincing in her three set victory over Date-Krumm but she has had some very promising wins this season. Most notably defeating Sharapova in Paris on route to the title at the Open GDF Suez. She also had a solid victory over Jankovic a few weeks ago in Madrid. Bertens has had to real notable wins this season.
I think Pavlyuchenkova will step up here and advance to the third round but it won't be easy
Prediction: Pavlyuchenkova to defeat Kiki Bertens 7-5 4-6 6-2
Full match predictions
(4) Simona Halep to defeat (Q) Heather Watson in straight sets
(6) Jelana Jankovic to defeat Kurumi Nara in straight sets
(15) Sloane Stephens to defeat Polona Hercog in straight sets
(11) Ana Ivanovic to defeat Elena Svitolina in straight sets
(5) Petra Kvitova to defeat Marina Erakovic in straight sets
(28) Andrea Petkovic to defeat Stefanie Voegele in three sets
(21) Kirsten Flipkens to defeat Julia Glushko in three sets
Maria-Teressa Torro Flor to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets
(10) Sara Errani to defeat Dinah Pfizenmaier in straight sets
(25) Sorana Cirstea to defeat Teliana Pereira in straight sets
Silvia Soler-Espinosa to defeat Yanina Wickmayer in three sets
Alison Riske to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in three sets
Camila Giorgi to defeat (27) Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets
(22) Ekaterina Makarova to defeat Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets