Do I really have to do this? Yes, Licky lost. Yes, Heather Watson lost. Yes, I am very much like this.
But … let’s look to the future and preview tonight’s final round of matches anyway.
Coco Vandeweghe (1) v Sesil Karatantcheva – one of the most interesting clashes. Top seed Vanderweghe has sailed through so far, while Karatantcheva toiled against Japan’s Misaka Doi in the second round and was only helped through by an unexpected retirement. They’re never played, and amazingly – given the disparity in experience between them – are only two years apart in age. I originally tipped Karatantcheva to qualify, but reading her post-match statements, I’m going to give it to the less temperamental Vandeweghe.
Anne Keothavong (2) v Irina-Camelia Begu – or “c’mon Keo!” v “who?”. Keo has been excellent so far, not least in her defeat of Ioana Raluca Olaru in the last round, and you could say she has a stroke of luck in facing the unsung Begu – who is in the final round by virtue of defeating Birnerova after Birnevora upset Tatjana Malek. On the other hand, the fact that I know nothing about Begu makes me pretty nervous. She’s twenty, she’s Romanian, and … that’s it. Hopefully Keo can keep it that way.
Yung-Jan Chan (3) v Vesna Manasieva – On the face of it, you would have to go with Chan, who has sailed through so far and is higher-ranked. But on the other hand, it was Manasieva who beat Sabine Lisicki, and that’s not nothing. She’s more match tough and it might just show.
Zuzana Kucova (4) v Arina Rodionova – The younger-and-still-Russian sister of Anastasia Rodionova has looked impressive so far, not least in a 61 61 victory over Mandy Minella. But Kucova’s also breezed through and judging by her results, is playing some of the best tennis of her career. Give it to the Slovak.
Stephanie Dubois v Sania Mirza (24) – Obviously a match that will draw a lot of attention. Mirza, who reached a career high of 27 way back when, is the remnants of a class player, no doubt about that – but she let a good lead slip over Vitalia Diatchenko in the second round and made things much more difficult for herself. Dubois on the other hand coolly demolished the no. 5 seed, Anastasia Yakimova, in the first round and then had an easy second against native Sophie Letcher. They’ve played once before – Vancouver 2009 – and that meeting went to Dubois. I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes the same way.
Zarina Diyas v Irina Falconi – There is almost nothing to choose between these girls. Both had an excellent win over a top seed in the first round, Diyas beating Olivia Sanchez 64 61 and Falconi demolishing Masa Zec Peskiric 60 61. Falconi was much more inconsistent in her second round win over Oksana Kalashnikova – but then she had a more classy oppponent. On pure talent, I’d tap Diyas.
Anastasia Pivovarova (7) v Anne Kremer – Go on, admit it; if you were going to pick one Luxembourgian to be in the final round, it would have been Mandy Minella. In fact, you probably didn’t even know there was another one. Me neither. But here she is, having beaten twenty-third seed Nina Bratchkova in the first round and Eleni Danilidou in the second. Still, you have to say her run ends here. Pivovarova is one of the nicest players in the whole draw and she’s in good form.
Corinna Dentoni v Jamie Hampton (14) – This would be the match I was most looking forward to, if I wasn’t going out to have a social life. I have no idea who’ll win. It was Dentoni who accounted for Duque Marino, the most experienced player and highest seed in this section of the draw, but she toiled against Turkey’s Cayla Buyukakcay in the second round, finally prevailing 9-7 in the third. Hampton on the other hand took three sets against Cohen-Aloro, but then accelerated through her next match, a straight sets defeat of the big-serving German Anna-Lena Groenefeld. I have no idea who’ll win, but I’m gutted I’m going to miss it.
Nuria Llagostera Vives (9) v Petra Martic (19) – Another blockbuster match. The pint-sized Llagostera Vives has eleven years and fourteen ranking places on the young Croatian, but Martic has had much the tougher route through qualifying and handled it with aplomb, especially in disposing of compatriot Alja Tomjanovic in the last round. Martic to qualify and win her first-round main draw match.
Kurumi Nara (10) v Arantxa Rus (18) – Why are all these matches so good? Both girls have looked very good so far, with Nara’s only wobble in disposing of a surprisingly tough challenge from New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic in the second round. I have quite the soft spot for Nara, and Rus has often been disappointing, so I’m going to give it to the mentally steadier Japanese.
Madalina Gojnea v Kathrin Woerle – A surprising match to see in the final round, but you can’t say they haven’t earned it. Both disposed of a seed in the first round, with Gojnea beating Xinyun Han of China and Woerle defeating Petra Cetkovska, then maintained that form against a talented junior. Based on nothing more than Woerle’s greater experience, I think the German will take it.
Mariya Koryttseva v Lesya Tsurenko – Koryttseva beat twelfth seed Anna Tatashvili to be here, while Tsurenko beat up on adorable Brit Heather Watson. Go Koryttseva.