(4) Agnieszka Radwanska vs Flavia Pennetta
After receiving a bye through to the second round, Agnieszka Radwanska will begin her Doha campaign on Tuesday when shes takes on Flavia Pennetta. Agnieszka will be desperately seeking revenge in this match. Flavia easily defeated Aga in both their encounters last year, most notably in a lackluster final at Indian Wells.
Aga’s troublesome start to the season continued in Dubai last week. The Pole was struck down by a virus and was unable to compete at her best. Aga did manage to sneak past a wayward Caroline Garcia in her opening match but was no match for Garbine Muguruza in the third round.
Garbine blasted Aga off the court, comfortably prevailing 6-4 6-2. The second time this year that Aga has been defeated by Garbine, once again highlighting her inability to deal with extreme power. Aga doesn't seem to have come up with a strategy to combat this long term problem, suffering losses to Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova this year in a typical fashion.
Flavia Pennetta finally won her first main draw match last week in Dubai. The Italian came agonisingly close to another first round exit but fought back to defeat Julia Goerges 2-6 7-6 6-4. Flavia produced her best victory of the week in the third round, defeating Angelique Kerber in three sets.
Flavia’s Dubai campaign ended in disappointment. The Italian succumbed to Caroline Wozniacki 5-7 0-6 at the quarter-final stage. Flavia’s level deteriorated at an alarming rate in her loss Caroline, something she wouldn’t have been pleased with. The Italian will be looking to build on last weeks solid performance with another good set of results in Doha. Flavia has reason to come into this match with optimism.
Aga holds a 4-3 head to head record over Flavia. However it is the Italian who has won their two most recent encounters, both coming in 2014. Flavia thumped Aga on both occasions: first in Dubai, a 6-4 6-1 victory and then in the final at Indian Wells, a 6-2 6-1 thrashing to clinch the biggest title of her career.
It’s hard to see Aga losing three straight matches to Flavia, their recent results are a little deceiving, Aga was certainly suffering from an injury in the Indian Wells final and was nowhere near her best. Aga simply must win this match, another disappointing loss could really send the Pole into a downward spiral.
Prediction: Aga Radwanska to defeat Flavia Pennetta in 2 sets