Sydney QF: Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Sara Errani
A surprise quarter-final match-up at the Apia International in Sydney sees Svetlana Kuznetsova come up against Sara Errani. A number of players have withdrawn from the Sydney International, instead choosing to focus on Melbourne, but Svetlana and Sara are very focused on going as far as they can in Sydney. This should be a highly competitive encounter between two of the biggest fighters on tour.
Svetlana Kuznetsova will see this match as a great opportunity to reach a rare premier level semi-final at this stage of her career, gain valuable ranking points and a much needed confidence boost heading into the Australian Open. The Russian cruised through her opening match in Sydney, recording a comprehensive 6-2 6-0 victory over Australian wildcard Tami Patterson. Svetlana’s second round match was far tougher, fighting her way to a 6-3 3-6 6-2 win over Sabine Lisicki. Svetlana will fancy her chances against Errani, given her strong record over the Italian.
Sara Errani was shown all of her famous fighting qualities this week in Sydney, recording extremely hard-fought victories over Carla Suarez Navarro and Jelena Jankovic in tough conditions. Errani was too strong for Carla in the first round, picking up a 6-3 6-3 victory before defeating Jelena Jankovic 7-6 7-6 in a gruelling battle. The match lasted 2 hours and a half and was played in the heat of the day in Sydney. Errani was forced to come back in each set, most notably in the second set where she came back from 1-5 down and saved 6 set points on route to securing a straight set victory.
Svetlana Kuznetsova has a dominant record over Sara Errani, the Russian holds a 6-1 head-to-head record over the Italian. Errani’s only victory over Svetlana was on a clay court, Kuznetsova has won all five of their previous encounters on a hard court, including a 6-4 6-4 victory in Tokyo back in 2013 in their most recent encounter.
Errani has been in great form this week but it is hard to ignore the very one-sided head-to-head record. This is a tough match-up for Errani because Kuznetsova is very solid from the baseline and is capable of really punishing Errani’s serve on a consistent basis. Kuznetsova is the type of solid opponent that Errani really struggles against and I believe Kuznetsova will again be too strong for Errani on this occasion.