WTA International Event – Pattaya
Final: Maria Kirilenko vs Sabine Lisicki
Time: 04:00 AM ET – Sunday, February 3rd
Head to Head: 2-0, Kirilenko
Amy’s Pick: Kirilenko and Lisicki haven’t played against each other since 2008, so there’s very little recent history to help evaluate this match-up. However, I have a hard time trusting Lisicki. She’s just so hot and cold. Kirilenko is a great deal more consistent, so I’ll go with Kirilenko in straights.
Juan José’s Pick: It’s interesting to note that Maria Kirilenko hasn’t won a title since 2008, yet she did make this very same final last year, losing to the queen of Pattaya, Daniela Hantuchova. Kirilenko has been playing well, so it’s not that surprising to see her in this final. For Lisicki, this is the first tournament with new coach Ricardo Sánchez, and the partnership seems to have gotten off to the best possible start. It’s interesting to note that Lisicki has won the last two finals she’s been in, both in 2011. My head tells me to pick the steadier player (who has a positive head-to-head, to boot) instead of the erratic Lisicki, but I have a feeling that the German is ready to turn the corner from inexplicable losses like the one to Wozniacki in Australia. Lisicki will be able to keep it together just long enough to take this title in three eventful sets.
Lindsay’s Pick: I’m really glad to see Lisicki make the final here, as it seems to mean that the relationship with Ricardo Sanchez has provided an immediate spark, and that she has gotten through an entire week without breaking. That’s great, because the WTA is more fun with her in the mix. However, I picked Kirilenko before the tournament started and I’m going to stick with her here. It’s been nearly five years since she’s been in the winner’s circle, and it’s time to see Kirilenko get a title again. I predict she’ll take it in three sets.
WTA Premier Event – Paris
Final: Sara Errani vs Mona Barthel
Time: 08:00 AM ET – Sunday, February 3rd
Head to Head: 0-0
Amy’s Pick: Errani has made the final of an indoor tournament by winning a grand total of one match, since two of her opponents retired. I think Barthel, who had solid wins over Roberta Vinci, Marion Bartoli, and Kristina Mladenovic, will demolish Errani in straights.
Juan José’s Pick: To think we were making fun of Indoor Giant Sara Errani when the draw came out. Well, she’s in the final – even though the French Open finalist only had to play one full match to get there: a tough three-setter against Carla Suárez Navarro, who had at least one match point in their quarterfinal match. Before that, Errani benefitted from Rybaricova retiring when down 0-4 in the first set of their second round match, and then Bartens retired when down 0-5 in the semifinal earlier today. On the other hand, Mona Barthel has had a far more impressive run, as Amy points out. However, I can’t shake the memory of the last time I saw Barthel in a final – the young German seemed pretty clueless in her straight set defeat to Vesnina (who had never won a singles tournament) in Hobart. I think Errani’s experience will prevail tomorrow, and the World Number 7 will win her seventh title in three sets.
Lindsay’s Pick: So, I had a really big laugh at the start of this tournament about the fact that Errani was the No. 1 seed here, but the Italian has truly shut me up with her steady play. Her match against Carla Suarez Navarro was one of the best matches I’ve seen in a while, and with coach Roberta Vinci at her side Errani is relaxed and living up to her seeding. It’s great to see Barthel make a run here and regain some of her early 2012 form, but I predict that just like her fellow German Lisicki, she’ll end up second-best this week. I pick Errani in two.
1. Amy: 14-2 Matches with Correct Number of Sets Picked: 8
2. Juan José: 11-5 Matches with Correct Number of Sets Picked: 6
3. Lindsay: 10-6 Matches with Correct Number of Sets Picked: 8